SYNONYMS | EXAMPLES | WORD ORIGIN 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. Origin of gnome 1 1705–15;
New Latin gnomus,
gnome 2 Related forms gnom·ish, adjective
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
Examples from the Web for gnomish Historical Examples of gnomish
All his brave resolutions seemed to drain away before their old,
Out from the yellow heart of the pansy-blackness her small, grave,
gnomish face peered after him with pristine frankness.
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. British Dictionary definitions for gnomish 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 Forms gnomish, 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
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Word Origin and History for gnomish adj.
gnome + -ish. Related: Gnomishly; gnomishness. 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