Main definitions of gnome in English

: gnome1gnome2

gnome1

noun

  • 1A legendary dwarfish creature supposed to guard the earth's treasures underground.

    • ‘But this was not a glad sight, for the roads and paths showed that they were well-travelled, and recently, by goblins and gnomes.’
    • ‘You do not have to discourse with fairies or elves, gnomes or trolls.’
    • ‘A catlike purple creature startled the gnome into standing up.’
    • ‘More than once they came across the bleached bones and disintegrated rags of gnomes, goblins, and other dead marauders.’
    • ‘The small nocturnal visitors of the middle Ages were known as fairies, leprechauns, elves, or gnomes - the little people.’
    • ‘They say the elves have been tracking something in the Wood, and it ain't gnomes or goblins.’
    • ‘Behind these were many ranks of pixies, gnomes and nymphs, and in the rear a thousand beautiful fairies floated along in gorgeous array.’
    • ‘Again, what is the inspiration behind characters such as fairies, elves, gnomes, and witches?’
    • ‘Leprechauns are the Irish version of elves or gnomes.’
    • ‘And, if Santa is as jolly and big-hearted as his public relations advisers have us believe, he should be fairly generous when it comes to dishing out the dosh to his helpers: elves, fairies, gnomes and so on.’
    • ‘When I was very small, I would look for fairies and gnomes in our yard.’
    • ‘Wizards, fairies, elves, trolls and gnomes everywhere fell as the magical bird made its final pass over the land, taking with it the power it had once possessed.’
    • ‘The mean dwellings of gnomes and goblins came into view, as well as armed camps dotted with small fires.’
    • ‘The gnomes and goblins were milling about, obviously not responding to orders, and desperately looking for ways to escape.’
    • ‘Before our modern era most people who had encounters knew that what they were dealing with were daemons, dragons, gnomes, fairies and trolls.’
    • ‘Powder coated fir trees line the loops conjuring images of snow monsters and giant gnomes.’
    • ‘Seated around the smaller tables were an assortment of fairies, gnomes, centaurs, unicorns, elves, goat men, dragons, and a number of creatures she'd never seen before.’
    • ‘The book is based on the story of a crafty 12-year-old Irish boy who is immersed in a world of fairies, leprechauns and gnomes.’
    • ‘The bodies of the goblins and gnomes were left as they were.’
    • ‘Elves and men and gnomes and goblins alike looked about in fear and confusion.’
    sprite, pixie, elf, imp, brownie, puck
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A small garden ornament in the form of a bearded man with a pointed hat.
      • ‘If you have ever fancied a pot policeman gnome for the front garden or a pair of matching T-shirts with the words Head Gardener and Head Gardener's Assistant on the front, this is the place to come.’
      • ‘A 40-year-old gnome which was stolen from a garden home has been returned.’
      • ‘Three youngsters have condemned the thieves who keep stealing the gnomes from their garden.’
      • ‘We are walking up a woodland path and pause to look at a group of fly agarics; the red-and-white spotted ones popular with fishing gnomes in the gardens of suburbia.’
      • ‘Besides, this incredibly skilled team could win with a garden gnome in net.’
      • ‘The most exotic species of native wildlife that I expect to see in my garden is a plastic gnome.’
      • ‘Danny had to jump out of the way of one car that spun out of the road and into someone's garden, knocking over a gnome and squashing a frog emerging from a pond.’
      • ‘Ada was enjoying a particularly eclectic collection of garden gnomes when her phone rang.’
      • ‘Activities on the day will include Seek The Gnome (a chance to hunt pictures of gnomes in the gardens), dressing a giant gnome, gnome games, and gnome Punch and Judy.’
      • ‘I absolutely detest gnomes and the majority of people living in the big houses would not want gnomes in their gardens either.’
      • ‘A York gardener was caught red-handed with a hoard of stolen statues, gnomes and ornaments, magistrates heard.’
      • ‘An oversized gnome, he looms over garden ponds, stares wistfully up at bedroom windows.’
      • ‘Who originally came up with the idea of kidnapping garden gnomes and sending the owner photos of the gnome in front of tourist sites around the globe?’
      • ‘A person or persons unknown stole a gnome from our front garden.’
      • ‘One of the highlights was when I stole Robin the gnome from one of the officer's gardens and I was locked up for two days with just bread and water.’
      • ‘Grinning I realised it was the figure who was so attracted to the gardener's gnomes.’
      • ‘I'd never heard of a pisky before, but it turns out it's a small pottery gnome with hair like dried noodles.’
      • ‘As one commentator says, such local assaults are ‘akin to a man knocking down a gnome in his own garden’.’
      • ‘He once said it to a gnome in the centre of a circular garden.’
      • ‘The Front rescues gnomes from garden centres where they are insensitively placed among bottles of toxic garden chemicals.’
    2. 1.2informal A small ugly person.
      ‘a grizzled gnome of a man’
      • ‘Are you now saying that referring to members as gnomes is ruled out?’
    3. 1.3informal A person regarded as having secret or sinister influence in financial matters.
      informal ‘the gnomes of Zurich’
      • ‘The gnomes of Zurich chugged in at seventh while Milan notched up a distant 11 th place on the Jones Lang LaSalle index.’
      • ‘It is said that even the bankers, known as the gnomes of Zurich because of the mounds of gold stored in underground vaults, have to relax.’

Origin

Mid 17th century: from French, from modern Latin gnomus, a word used by Paracelsus as a synonym of Pygmaeus, denoting a mythical race of very small people said to inhabit parts of Ethiopia and India (compare with pygmy).

Pronunciation:

gnome

/nəʊm/

Main definitions of gnome in English

: gnome1gnome2

gnome2

noun

  • A short statement encapsulating a general truth; a maxim.

    maxim, saying, proverb, aphorism, adage, saw, axiom, formula, expression, phrase, rule, dictum, precept, epigram, gnome
    View synonyms

Origin

Late 16th century: from Greek gnōmē thought, opinion (related to gignōskein know).

Pronunciation:

gnome

/ˈnəʊmi/