gnome

1
[nohm]

noun

(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.

Nearby words

  1. gnetophyte,
  2. gniezno,
  3. gnma,
  4. gnoc,
  5. gnocchi,
  6. gnomic,
  7. gnomish,
  8. gnomist,
  9. gnomologic,
  10. gnomology

Origin of gnome

1
1705–15; < French < New Latin gnomus, perhaps < Greek gnṓmē; see gnome2

Related formsgnom·ish, adjective

gnome

2
[nohm, noh-mee]

noun

a short, pithy expression of a general truth; aphorism.

Origin of gnome

2
First recorded in 1570–80, gnome is from the Greek word gnṓmē judgment, opinion, purpose

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for gnome


British Dictionary definitions for gnome

gnome

1

noun

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)
Derived Formsgnomish, adjective

Word Origin for gnome

C18: from French, from New Latin gnomus, coined by Paracelsus, of obscure origin

noun

a short pithy saying or maxim expressing a general truth or principle

Word Origin for gnome

C16: from Greek gnōmē, from gignōskein to know

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for gnome

gnome

n.

"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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper