Green’s Dictionary of Slang

gofer n.

also go-boy, gopher

1. (orig. US) an assistant, an errand boy or girl, a runner, anyone who is told to go fer... some requirement.

[US]Amer. Mercury Dec. 456: Gofer, n. A dupe .
[US] in G. Legman Limerick (1953) 71: She told a coon chauffeur / That he was her gopher — / And, say, did he go for her hole!
[US]R. Chandler Long Good-Bye 103: Like it says on the sign, this is a private road. Some gopher forgot to lock the gate.
[US]P. Crump Burn, Killer, Burn! 161: Say, Crow, don’t be no gofer.
[US]T.C. Bambara ‘The Lesson’ in Gorilla, My Love (1972) 88: She was the main gofer in the family. You got some ole dumb shit foolishness you want somebody to go for, you send for Aunt Gretchen.
[US]A. Goldman Lenny Bruce 4: He’s Lenny’s current sidekick, road manager, baby-sitter, amanuensis and ‘go-fer’ (‘Go for the the car now; go for my suit’).
[US]Rolling Stone 22 Sept. 46: There he was to be the Colonel’s ‘go-fer,’ to fetch him coffee on demand, to drive his car for him, to do whatever he asked.
[US]C. Stroud Close Pursuit (1988) 40: There’d be a notebook out, and one of the gold-shield gophers from the Detective Division.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 136: The Manager still sought an ashtray gofer.
[US]R. Price Clockers 460: Strike imagined himself having to fly down the street on a bicycle like Rodney’s go-boy.
[UK]Guardian G2 15 May 2: His family has portrayed him as a gopher, led astray by older boys.
[US]J. Lerner You Got Nothing Coming 41: Among my male peers in the company, we routinely referred to each other as ‘glorified clerks,’ except when we got really honest and called each other ‘gofers,’ ‘ass-kissers,’ ‘butt-wipes,’ and ‘dick-lickers’.
[Aus]S. Maloney Sucked In 32: His attendant gopher, an ageing rocker named Sid Gilpin.
[US]A. Steinberg Running the Books 293: He’s a rookie gofer.
[US]D. Winslow Border [ebook] ‘The guy who went to meet Cirello is probably a gofer’.
[US]J. Ellroy Widespread Panic 167: ‘He’s just a stooge and a gofer’.
[Aus]C. Hammer Opal Country 305: She really is sharp, so much better than the gofer he had hoped for.

2. in attrib. use of sense 1.

[US](con. 1973) C. Stella Johnny Porno 39: After two years of performing gopher work for the mob [...] Nick had finally moved up.

3. (US drugs) a person who offers to buy drugs for a naive addict, and keeps them for himself instead.

[US]Larner & Tefferteller Addict in the Street (1966) 85: You tell the fellow you’re a gopher. You know the pusher and you’ll gopher narcotics.
[US] in S. Harris Hellhole 148: To be a gopher goes like this — you find a green addict from another neighborhood who don’t know the pushers around Harlem. You tell them that you know all the pushers [...] I would say, ‘Man, give me your fifteen or your twenty. And I am going to find the pusher for you and score the dope and bring it back to you!’ If he’s sick enough, he will give you the money and you score the shit but you never give it to the junkie you took the bread off of. And sometimes, you know, they wait for you to come back for an hour or a day before they know you ain’t coming back.