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

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A brief reflection or maxim; a pithy saying.
  • n. 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.
  • n. The elemental being of earth.
  • n. A dwarf; a goblin; a person of small stature or misshapen features, or of strange appearance.
  • n. A small owl (Glaucidium gnoma) of the Western United States.
  • n. A small statue placed in a garden to ward off pests and protect a home from sorcery.
  • n. An upper atmospheric optical phenomenon associated with thunderstorms, a compact blue starter.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A brief reflection or maxim; an aphorism; a saying; a saw.
  • n. Synonyms See aphorism.
  • n. 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.
  • n. Hence A grotesque dwarf; a goblin-like person of small stature and misshapen figure.
  • n. A name of sundry humming-birds: as, the giant gnome (Patagona gigas).

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

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


French, from New Latin gnomus.
Greek gnōmē, from gignōskein, to know; see gnō- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek γνώμη (gnome, "thought, opinion"), from the base of γιγνώσκειν (gignoskein, "to know") (Wiktionary)
From French gnome ("gnome"), from New Latin gnomus, used by Paracelsus as a synonym for Pygmaeus ("pygmy") (Wiktionary)



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  • It's not a Wordnik problem, the definitions are pulled from other databases.

    September 11, 2013

  • WORD: gnome


    n. A helpful sprite. Cf., "The Elves and the Shoemaker" who appear in The Brothers Grimm.
    << >>


    ' "The gnomes are like the cleaners that come in at night and clean the office at the business," said Mary Mark Ockerbloom, who worked for the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia on a special Wikipedia project. "You don't necessarily see them, but, boy, if they weren't there, it'd be a different place."

    ' Thomsen agrees. But since he suffered a stroke in January, he has begun to question whether his legacy could be more than that of a Wikignome.

    --- " Philadelphian is a king of Wikipedia editors "
    Theodore Schleifer, Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer, September 2, 2013
    << >>

    September 11, 2013

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

    October 30, 2008

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


    October 29, 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

  • Joins: Anyushka
    Hey dude, where's Gnome???!!!! I miss him!
    Lol An, Gnome's a bot ...

    October 10, 2008

  • Probably helps them look taller.

    October 9, 2008

  • Love it, reesetee!

    October 9, 2008

  • Gnome headwear explained.

    October 9, 2008

  • Also: an aphorism or short pithy saying.

    February 7, 2007

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

    February 5, 2007

  • "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