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[nohm] /noʊm/

(in folklore) one of a species of diminutive beings, usually described as shriveled little old men, that inhabit the interior of the earth and act as guardians of its treasures; troll.
an expert in monetary or financial affairs; international banker or financier:
the gnomes of Zurich.
one of a species of legendary creatures, usually resembling small misshapen old men, said to live in the depths of the earth and guard buried treasure
the statue of a gnome, esp in a garden
a very small or ugly person
(facetious or derogatory) an international banker or financier (esp in the phrase gnomes of Zürich)
a short pithy saying or maxim expressing a general truth or principle

1822, from gnome + -ish. Related: Gnomishly; gnomishness.

“dwarf-like earth-dwelling spirit,” 1712, from French gnome, from Modern Latin gnomus, used 16c. in a treatise by Paracelsus, who gave the name pigmaei or gnomi to elemental earth beings, possibly from Greek *genomos “earth-dweller” (cf. thalassonomos “inhabitant of the sea”). A less-likely suggestion is that Paracelsus based it on the homonym that means “intelligence” (preserved in gnomic). Popular in children’s literature 19c. as a name for red-capped German and Swiss folklore dwarfs. Garden figurines first imported to England late 1860s from Germany.


An anonymous expert, esp a statistician or an industrious observer of trends; bean counter: The Gnomes of Baseball/ the inhibitions of sports announcers whose minds have been studied by small-town station managers and network gnomes

[mid-1960s+; the term is being extended from the first use, gnomes of Zurich, coined in 1964 and designating the faceless little men who take account of and in part determine the curiosities of the international money market]


Read Also:

  • Gnomist

    [noh-mist] /ˈnoʊ mɪst/ noun 1. a writer of aphorisms. n. see gnomic + -ist.

  • Gnomology

    [noh-mol-uh-jee] /noʊˈmɒl ə dʒi/ noun 1. a collection or anthology of gnomes or aphorisms. 2. gnomic or aphoristic writing.

  • Gnomonic

    [noh-mon-ik] /noʊˈmɒn ɪk/ adjective 1. of or relating to a gnomon or to a sundial. 2. of or relating to the measurement of time by a gnomon or a sundial. 3. 2 .

  • Gnomon

    [noh-mon] /ˈnoʊ mɒn/ noun 1. the raised part of a sundial that casts the shadow; a style. 2. an early astronomical instrument consisting of a vertical shaft, column, or the like, for determining the altitude of the sun or the latitude of a position by measuring the length of its shadow cast at noon. 3. […]

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