Pronunciation Noun

gnome (plural gnomai)

  1. A brief reflection or maxim; a pithy saying.
    Synonyms: adage, apothegm, maxim, paroemia, proverb, sententia
    • 1996, Giambattista Vico, Giorgio A. Pinton, Arthur W. Shippee (translators), The Art of Rhetoric, [1711-1741, Giambattista Vico, Institutiones Oratoriae], page 125 ↗,
      The Greeks in their tongue call this second type of maxim noema. The gnome is more appropriate to the philosophers, and the noema to the orators, to the poets, and to the historians. To speak by gnomes alone was referred to by the Greeks as "philosophizing" which we Italians would render as "to mouth maxims" (sputar sentenze).
    • 2003, Christiane Sourvinou-Inwood, Tragedy and Athenian Religion, page 386 ↗,
      Thus, the gnome concerning the precarious nature of, and the potential suffering in, human life sent by the gods uttered by Electra is deconstructed by her choice of paradigm. By using Tantalos as an illustration, the play overturns the apparent meaning of the gnome.
Related terms Pronunciation Noun

gnome (plural gnomes)

  1. (magic, alchemy, Rosicrucianism) An elemental (spirit or corporeal creature associated with a classical element) associated with earth.
    • 1811, The Medical and Physical Journal, Volume 25, page 138 ↗,
      He adopts the Rosycrusian fancy of Gnomes, spirits which inhabit the earth, and who by their power form the ores of metals, and all the wonders met with in the inmost recesses of the globe.
    • 2006, Greg Lynch, RuneQuest Monsters, page 52 ↗,
      Gnomes are perhaps the most useful of the elementals.
      A gnome can carry a person with it as it swims through the soil, provided it is strong enough to lift the person. The gnome cannot, however, provide air for that person […] .
    • 2007, Christopher Penczak, Ascension Magick: Ritual, Myth and Healing for the New Aeon, page 413 ↗,
      Elementals are the consciousness guiding the four classical elements of earth, fire, air, and water. These elementals are depicted as gnomes, salamanders, diminutive faeries known as sylphs, and merfolk, known as undines, respectively.
  2. (mythology, fantasy literature) One of a legendary race of human-like beings, usually imagined as short and possibly bearded males, who inhabit the inner parts of the earth and act as guardians of mines, mineral treasure, etc.; in modern fantasy literature, when distinguished from dwarves, gnomes are usually even smaller than dwarves and more focussed on engineering than mining.
    • 2011, Ross Lawhead, The Realms Thereunder, page 251 ↗,
      There were not one but four gnomes standing at his feet. “I nearly trod on you,” Daniel said. “What are you doing here?”
      The gnomes just stood, looking up at him.
  3. A dwarf; a goblin; a person of small stature or misshapen features, or of strange appearance.
  4. The northern pygmy owl, Glaucidium gnoma, a small owl of the western United States.
  5. A small statue of a dwarf-like character, often bearded, placed in a garden.
    • 2011, Bronwen Forbes, The Small-Town Pagan's Survival Guide, page 72 ↗,
      My mother-in-law, who swears she is a good Lutheran but is also the most powerful Witch I have ever met, also has at least a dozen small lawn gnomes peeking out from beside her shrubs, next to the lilac bushes, and hanging out with the roses. My husband has already started our collection; as of this writing, four gnomes and one moss-covered rabbit hang out in the shrubbery by the front door, two gnomes live in the dining room, and one guards the perpetual pile of to-do paperwork that lives next to the computer.
  6. (astronomy, meteorology) An upper atmospheric optical phenomenon associated with thunderstorms, a compact blue starter.
  7. (often, derogatory) A banker, especially a secretive international one.
    the gnomes of Zurich
    • 1973, Texas Monthly, page 110
      So far the major beneficiaries of the boom in gold have been deposed South American dictators, Middle Eastern potentates, and the gnomes of Zurich.
    • 1985, Fodor's, Fodor's ... London, Fodor's
      For this is a creation of the City, of the country's financial heart, and of the gnomes of London who have financed it and supported it entirely on their own.
    • 2002, Mary Buffett, David Clark, The New Buffettology: The Proven Techniques for Investing Successfully in Changing Markets That Have Made Warren Buffett the World's Most Famous Investor, Simon and Schuster ISBN 9780743234115, page 194
      The gnomes of Wall Street can trade on rumors, but Warren will only invest after the sale or merger has been announced.
Translations Translations Translations Translations
  • German: Gnomen-Sperlingskauz

  • (British) IPA: /ɡəˈnəʊm/
  • (America) IPA: /ɡəˈnoʊm/
  • (British) IPA: /nəʊm/
  • (America) IPA: /noʊm/
Proper noun
  1. an open source, free software computer desktop environment for Unix operating systems.

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