Advertisement
4 entries found
Search filter: All Results 
gopher (n.)
burrowing squirrel, 1812, American English, perhaps an Englishing of Louisiana French gaufre "honeycomb, waffle," said to have been used by French settlers in reference to small mammals on analogy of the structure of their burrows, from Old French gaufre, walfre (12c.), which is from Frankish or some other Germanic source. The rodent was the nickname of people from Arkansas (1845) and later Minnesota (1872). The gopherwood tree of the Bible (used by Noah to make the ark, Genesis vi.14) is unrelated; it is from Hebrew gofer, name of a kind of wood now unidentified, perhaps meaning the cypress.
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
gofer (n.2)
"errand-runner," 1956, American English coinage from verbal phrase go for (coffee, spare parts, etc.), with a pun on gopher. Gopher also was late 19c. slang for a young thief, especially one who breaks in through small openings.
Related entries & more 
cypress (n.)

popular name of a type of evergreen tree noted for its dense, dark foliage and durable, fragrant wood, native to southern Europe and sacred to Pluto, late 12c., from Old French cipres (12c., Modern French cyprès), from Late Latin cypressus, from Latin cupressus, from Greek kyparissos, probably from an unknown pre-Greek Mediterranean language.

Perhaps it is related to Hebrew gopher, name of the tree whose wood was used to make the ark (Genesis vi.14). Extended to similar trees of America, Australia, and Japan. An emblem of mourning for the dead, cypress branches were used at funeral.

Related entries & more 
Main Street (n.)

"principal street of a (U.S.) town," 1810, from main (adj.) + street. Used allusively to indicate "mediocrity, small-town materialism" from late 19c., a sense reinforced by the publication of Sinclair Lewis's novel "Main Street" (1920).

But a village in a country which is taking pains to become altogether standardized and pure, which aspires to succeed Victorian England as the chief mediocrity of the world, is no longer merely provincial, no longer downy and restful in its leaf-shadowed ignorance. It is a force seeking to dominate the earth, to drain the hills and sea of color, to set Dante at boosting Gopher Prairie, and to dress the high gods in Klassy Kollege Klothes. Sure of itself, it bullies other civilizations, as a traveling salesman in a brown derby conquers the wisdom of China and tacks advertisements of cigarettes over arches for centuries dedicate to the sayings of Confucius. ["Main Street"]
Related entries & more