Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun One of a fabled race of dwarflike creatures who live underground and guard treasure hoards.
  • noun In the occult philosophy of Paracelsus, a being that has earth as its element.
  • noun A pithy saying that expresses a general truth or fundamental principle; an aphorism.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A brief reflection or maxim; an aphorism; a saying; a saw.
  • noun Synonyms See aphorism.
  • noun One of a race of imaginary beings, first conceived as spirits of the earth, inhabiting its interior and that of everything earthly, animal, vegetable, or mineral.
  • noun Hence A grotesque dwarf; a goblin-like person of small stature and misshapen figure.
  • noun A name of sundry humming-birds: as, the giant gnome (Patagona gigas).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun An imaginary being, supposed by the Rosicrucians to inhabit the inner parts of the earth, and to be the guardian of mines, quarries, etc.
  • noun A dwarf; a goblin; a person of small stature or misshapen features, or of strange appearance.
  • noun (Zoöl.) A small owl (Glaucidium gnoma) of the Western United States.
  • noun A brief reflection or maxim.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A brief reflection or maxim; a pithy saying.
  • noun A legendary being, supposed to be short, usually bearded men who inhabit the inner parts of the earth, and act as guardians of mines, treasure, etc.
  • noun The elemental being of earth.
  • noun A dwarf; a goblin; a person of small stature or misshapen features, or of strange appearance.
  • noun zoology A small owl (Glaucidium gnoma) of the Western United States.
  • noun A small statue placed in a garden to ward off pests and protect a home from sorcery.
  • noun astronomy, meteorology An upper atmospheric optical phenomenon associated with thunderstorms, a compact blue starter.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a short pithy saying expressing a general truth
  • noun a legendary creature resembling a tiny old man; lives in the depths of the earth and guards buried treasure

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[French, from New Latin gnomus, earth elemental in the occult philosophy of Paracelsus, of unknown origin.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Greek gnōmē, from gignōskein, to know; see gnō- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Ancient Greek γνώμη (gnome, "thought, opinion"), from the base of γιγνώσκειν (gignoskein, "to know")

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French gnome ("gnome"), from New Latin gnomus, used by Paracelsus as a synonym for Pygmaeus ("pygmy")

Examples

Comments

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  • "On a step a gnome totting among a rubbish tip crouches to shoulder a sack of rags and bones."

    Joyce, Ulysses, 15

    January 28, 2007

  • Why not visit "Home for Gnomes", my Flickr Group?

    February 5, 2007

  • Also: an aphorism or short pithy saying.

    February 7, 2007

  • Gnome headwear explained.

    October 9, 2008

  • Love it, reesetee!

    October 9, 2008

  • Probably helps them look taller.

    October 9, 2008

  • Joins: Anyushka

    Hey dude, where's Gnome???!!!! I miss him!

    Lol An, Gnome's a bot ...

    October 10, 2008

  • "I'm not trying to jinx us all by calling for an October Surprise. This election has been surprising enough. A placid lope toward Election Day would be just fine with me. The only surprise I'd like to see would be press conferences in which follow-up questions were allowed. But I'm more likely to find woodland gnomes in my garden." Seen here.

    October 29, 2008

  • I too like the idea of a "placid lope toward Election Day."

    *sigh*

    October 29, 2008

  • rien poortvliet, wil huygens, "gnomes": a book, a myth!

    October 30, 2008