Definitions

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

  • n. A grotesque elfin creature of folklore, thought to work mischief or evil.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A mythical, humanoid creature, often found in contemporary fantasy.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An evil or mischievous spirit; a playful or malicious elf; a frightful phantom; a gnome.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An imaginary being supposed to haunt dark or remote places, and to take an occasional capricious interest in human affairs; an elf; a sprite; an earthly spirit; particularly, a surly elf; a malicious fairy; a spirit of the woods; a demon of the earth; a gnome; a ko-bold.
  • n. Synonyms Elf, Gnome, etc, See fairy.

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

  • n. (folklore) a small grotesque supernatural creature that makes trouble for human beings

Etymologies

Middle English gobelin, from Norman French *gobelin, name of a ghost that supposedly haunted the town of Évreux in the 12th century.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old Northern French gobelin (compare Normand goubelin, Walloon gobelin), possibly a blend of Old Low Franconian *kobeholdo ("goblin") (compare Dutch kabouter, German Kobold) and Late Latin cobalus ("mountain sprite"), from Ancient Greek κόβαλος (kobalos, "rogue, knave; goblin"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • Yes, right on qroqqa. Missed your answer earlier.

    August 24, 2009

  • As a shadowtailed riverhorse, I think this is cobalt - or is it nickel? Both in fact. Well, well.

    August 7, 2009

  • The McDonnell XF-85. More on Wikipedia.

    December 30, 2008

  • An interesting figurative attributive use:

    I had only hand-luggage anyway: the train would slow as if for a routine red light, would pause, squeak, exhale, and in that moment I would make a goblin disembarkation, shutting the door with a sly caress.
    — Julian Barnes, 1996, 'Gnossienne', in Cross Channel

    July 10, 2008