One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A legendary dwarfish creature supposed to guard the earth's treasures underground.
sprite, pixie, elf, imp, brownie, puckView synonyms
- ‘The gnomes and goblins were milling about, obviously not responding to orders, and desperately looking for ways to escape.’
- ‘More than once they came across the bleached bones and disintegrated rags of gnomes, goblins, and other dead marauders.’
- ‘They say the elves have been tracking something in the Wood, and it ain't gnomes or goblins.’
- ‘The bodies of the goblins and gnomes were left as they were.’
- ‘You do not have to discourse with fairies or elves, gnomes or trolls.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘The mean dwellings of gnomes and goblins came into view, as well as armed camps dotted with small fires.’
- ‘A catlike purple creature startled the gnome into standing up.’
- ‘Before our modern era most people who had encounters knew that what they were dealing with were daemons, dragons, gnomes, fairies and trolls.’
- ‘Leprechauns are the Irish version of elves or 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.’
- ‘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?’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Elves and men and gnomes and goblins alike looked about in fear and confusion.’
- ‘But this was not a glad sight, for the roads and paths showed that they were well-travelled, and recently, by goblins and gnomes.’
- ‘When I was very small, I would look for fairies and gnomes in our yard.’
- ‘The small nocturnal visitors of the middle Ages were known as fairies, leprechauns, elves, or gnomes - the little people.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Powder coated fir trees line the loops conjuring images of snow monsters and giant gnomes.’
- 1.1 A small garden ornament in the form of a bearded man with a pointed hat.
- ‘The Front rescues gnomes from garden centres where they are insensitively placed among bottles of toxic garden chemicals.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Besides, this incredibly skilled team could win with a garden gnome in net.’
- ‘A person or persons unknown stole a gnome from our front garden.’
- ‘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?’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘A York gardener was caught red-handed with a hoard of stolen statues, gnomes and ornaments, magistrates heard.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘As one commentator says, such local assaults are ‘akin to a man knocking down a gnome in his own garden’.’
- ‘A 40-year-old gnome which was stolen from a garden home has been returned.’
- ‘I absolutely detest gnomes and the majority of people living in the big houses would not want gnomes in their gardens either.’
- ‘He once said it to a gnome in the centre of a circular garden.’
- ‘The most exotic species of native wildlife that I expect to see in my garden is a plastic gnome.’
- ‘Three youngsters have condemned the thieves who keep stealing the gnomes from their garden.’
- 1.2informal A small ugly person.
small person, short person, person of restricted growthView synonyms
- ‘Are you now saying that referring to members as gnomes is ruled out?’
- 1.3informal A person regarded as having secret or sinister influence in financial matters.‘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.’
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).
A short statement encapsulating a general truth; a maxim.maxim, saying, proverb, aphorism, adage, saw, axiom, formula, expression, phrase, rule, dictum, precept, epigramView synonyms
Late 16th century: from Greek gnōmē ‘thought, opinion’ (related to gignōskein ‘know’).
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