1 [nohm]
(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.

1705–15; < French < Neo-Latin gnomus, perhaps < Greek gnṓmē; see gnome2

gnomish, adjective

1. See goblin, sylph. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
gnome1 (nəʊm)
1.  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
2.  the statue of a gnome, esp in a garden
3.  a very small or ugly person
4.  facetious, derogatory or an international banker or financier (esp in the phrase gnomes of Zürich)
[C18: from French, from New Latin gnomus, coined by Paracelsus, of obscure origin]

gnome2 (nəʊm)
a short pithy saying or maxim expressing a general truth or principle
[C16: from Greek gnōmē, from gignōskein to know]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"dwarf-like earth-dwelling spirit," 1712, from Fr. gnome, from L. gnomus, used 16c. in a treatise by Paracelsus, who gave the name pigmaei or gnomi to elemental earth beings, possibly from Gk. *genomos "earth-dweller." 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 Ger. and Swiss folklore dwarfs. Garden figurines first imported to England late 1860s from Germany.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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