- (in folklore) one of a species of diminutive beings, usually described as shriveled little old men, that inhabit the interior of the earth and act as guardians of its treasures; troll.
- an expert in monetary or financial affairs; international banker or financier: the gnomes of Zurich.
Origin of gnome1
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for gnomish
All his brave resolutions seemed to drain away before their old, gnomish faces.The Colors of Space
Marion Zimmer Bradley
Out from the yellow heart of the pansy-blackness her small, grave, gnomish face peered after him with pristine frankness.Little Eve Edgarton
Eleanor Hallowell Abbott
Presently his face, preternaturally solemn and gnomish behind the goggles, protruded over the rim.
A quick visualization of that gnomish, froggish face was enough to dispel the suspicion.
- one of a species of legendary creatures, usually resembling small misshapen old men, said to live in the depths of the earth and guard buried treasure
- the statue of a gnome, esp in a garden
- a very small or ugly person
- facetious, or derogatory an international banker or financier (esp in the phrase gnomes of Zürich)
- a short pithy saying or maxim expressing a general truth or principle
Word Origin and History for gnomish
"dwarf-like earth-dwelling spirit," 1712, from French gnome, from Modern Latin gnomus, used 16c. in a treatise by Paracelsus, who gave the name pigmaei or gnomi to elemental earth beings, possibly from Greek *genomos "earth-dweller" (cf. thalassonomos "inhabitant of the sea"). A less-likely suggestion is that Paracelsus based it on the homonym that means "intelligence" (preserved in gnomic). Popular in children's literature 19c. as a name for red-capped German and Swiss folklore dwarfs. Garden figurines first imported to England late 1860s from Germany.