11 Trending Words of 2014
"benevolent goblin supposed to haunt old farmhouses in Scotland," 1510s, diminutive of brown "a wee brown man" (see brown (adj.)). The name for the junior branch of the Girl Guides or Girl Scouts is 1916, in reference to uniform color. Brownie point (1963) is sometimes associated with Brownie in the Scouting sense but is perhaps rather from brown-nose.
[WWII armed forces; fr the color of feces]
A traffic-control and parking-violation officer
[1980s+; fr the color of the uniform]
in English and Scottish folklore, a small, industrious fairy or hobgoblin believed to inhabit houses and barns. Rarely seen, he was often heard at night, cleaning and doing housework; he also sometimes mischievously disarranged rooms. He would ride for the midwife, and in Cornwall he caused swarming bees to settle quickly. Cream or bread and milk might be left for him, but other gifts offended him. If one made him a suit of clothes, he would put it on and then vanish, never to return