What Is a Goober? – Origin, Meaning & Definition

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

Have you ever been called a goober and weren’t sure if you should be insulted? The quick answer is no; don’t be insulted. It’s likely the person meant it in a lighthearted way. But let’s break down the details of the definition of “goober” and how you can use it properly.

What Is a Goober?

What is a Goober Origin Meaning Definition

Goober is a word you’d use to describe a goofy person who is kind of silly or foolish or at least acting that way. You’ll see it often used in a friendly or endearing way rather than as an insult. But it can be used as an insult if someone wants to. But it’s hard to take a word like goober seriously.

Also, in rare cases, it can mean a peanut or peanut-shaped object.

I’ve also used the term to describe snotty boogers from my kids, calling them slimy goobers. I’m not sure how accurate that is, but I know other people who use it similarly.

Where Did the Word Goober Come from?

Goober Ngram
Goober usage trend.

The word goober originated from the African word “n-guba,” which means peanut. Over the years, the term was carried over to America through the slave trade and eventually evolved into the word goober. How you get goober from peanut, I have no idea!

Then, sometime during the early 1900s, we started using goober as a loose term in American English to describe a person behaving in a silly manner.

When I was a kid, my nan always called my brother and me “goobers.” I never really knew what it meant, and she always seemed to use it as a term of endearment when we were being silly kids.

How Do You Pronounce Goober?

You should pronounce the word goober as “goo-ber.” It’s pretty simple and really easy to say.

Is Goober Offensive?

Goober isn’t considered an offensive word, but it’s not impossible that it could be used in a derogatory way, depending on the context and tone you use. But, for the most part, it’s used in a friendly or endearing way between friends or people you’re comfortable with.

Synonyms for Goober

Here are other ways to say goober and still get the same meaning across.

  • Fool
  • Dope
  • Silly goose
  • Dunderhead
  • Bubblehead
  • Numbskull
  • Airhead
  • Dingbat
  • Silly willy
  • Head in the clouds

How to Use the Word Goober in a Sentence

  • I can’t believe what a total goober I am. I completely forgot to pack sunscreen before we left for the beach, and I’m Irish.
  • My kids can be such goobers sometimes when I ask them to do chores.
  • Sometimes my husband is a goober when it comes to keeping track of our family schedule.
  • I feel like such a goober after forgetting to write down that client’s phone number. Now I have no way of following up with them.
  • No, you use a butter knife to spread that, you silly goober!

If you’re a native Floridian or from the American south, like collard greens, fried okra, Moonpies and sweet potato pie, you most likely grew up gobblin’ goober peas. (The Ledger)

Don’t Be a Goober

I hope this quick guide helped you understand what a goober is and how you can use the term correctly. Always try to use it lightheartedly if you can. It’s not supposed to be used as an insult but rather a way of joking with a silly person about a simple mistake or foolish behavior.