- a grotesque sprite or elf that is mischievous or malicious toward people.
Origin of goblin
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for goblin
The first mound that I encountered belonged to a goblin who was splashing in his tub.American Notes
To me they sounded suspiciously like the goblins in my goblin book.The Harbor
The goblin immediately vanished; and Edwin was left in solitude.
The goblin descended from its eminence, and directed the course of Roderic.
One only goblin was daring enough to pronounce a curse upon him.
- (in folklore) a small grotesque supernatural creature, regarded as malevolent towards human beings
Word Origin and History for goblin
early 14c., "a devil, incubus, fairy," from Old French gobelin (12c., as Medieval Latin Gobelinus, the name of a spirit haunting the region of Evreux, in chronicle of Ordericus Vitalis), of uncertain origin, perhaps related to German kobold (see cobalt), or from Medieval Latin cabalus, from Greek kobalos "rogue, knave," kobaloi "wicked spirits invoked by rogues," of unknown origin. Another suggestion is that it is a diminutive of the proper name Gobel.
Though French gobelin was not recorded until almost 250 years after appearance of the English term, it is mentioned in the Medieval Latin text of the 1100's, and few people who believed in folk magic used Medieval Latin. [Barnhart]