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Word of the Day
Monday, October 30, 2017

Definitions for kobold

  1. (in German folklore) a spirit or goblin, often mischievous, that haunts houses.
  2. (in German folklore) a spirit that haunts mines or other underground places.

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Citations for kobold
The telling and retelling of old tales, from parent to child, down the long generations, have made Europe the home of "the Little People"--pixie and kobold and brownie and gnome ... Edwin Markham, "Mr. Markham Writes of Some American Fairy Tales," New York Times, November 30, 1901
What of the grand tools with which we engineer, like kobolds and enchanters, tunnelling Alps, canalling the American Isthmus, piercing the Arabian desert? Ralph Waldo Emerson, Society and Solitude, 1870
Origin of kobold
In German folklore a Kobold is either of two things: a spirit living in human houses like a brownie or pixie, playing pranks but also doing small chores for the humans; a spirit or goblin haunting mines. Kobold is also the source of the name for the metallic element found in silver mines, usually combined with poisonous arsenic. Medieval German silver miners had no use for cobalt, let alone its potentially poisonous effects, and called this unwanted element Kobold in the belief that Kobolds, goblins, had switched the silver to this undesirable element. The English spelling cobolt occurs in the late 17th century, and the spelling cobalt in the 18th century. Kobold entered English in the 17th century.