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(nōm), in folklore, tiny subterranean creature associated with mines and quarries. Usually represented as misshapen, frequently as hunchbacked, gnomes are said to be guardians of hidden treasures.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a moral admonition set in verse or rhythmical prose. The gnome was used primarily in Eastern (Oriental) literatures—ancient Hebrew, Indian, Arabic, and Persian. Gnomes were popular in ancient Greece, especially in elegiac poetry, in the form of distichs or hexameters. Homer interspersed gnomes throughout his epics; Hesiod also wrote them. An unusually large number are included in a collection attributed to Theognis of Megara. In the literature of ancient Rome the dicta of Publilius Syrus and the so-called Dicta Catonis may be regarded as gnomes.


Wilpert, G. von. Sachwörterbuch der Literatur. Stuttgart, 1964.
Kindermann, H., and M. Dietrich. Lexikon der Weltliteratur. Zürich, 1951.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

What does it mean when you dream about a gnome?

Gnomes symbolize the magical world of wishes and make-believe related to one’s “inner child,” the inner treasures that the dreamer may possess.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


ground-dwelling spirit in Rosicrucian philosophy. [Medieval Hist.: Brewer Dictionary, 468]
See: Earth
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


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
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


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(GNU Network Object Modeling Environment) A GUI-based user interface for Linux and other Unix environments that grew out of the GNU Project. Providing an alternative to the KDE interface, GNOME is either pronounced "guh-nome" or "nome." Companies such as Red Hat, Inc. ( and Ximian (, formerly Helix Code, Inc. and acquired by Novell, support the GNOME environment. For more information, visit See Linux, KDE and GNU.

A GNOME Desktop
Similar to other graphical interfaces such as on the Mac and Windows, this is a sample GNOME desktop with an open application. (Screen shot courtesy of Helix Code, Inc.)
Copyright © 1981-2019 by The Computer Language Company Inc. All Rights reserved. THIS DEFINITION IS FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY. All other reproduction is strictly prohibited without permission from the publisher.
References in periodicals archive ?
So there you go, give me the ginger biscuit garden gnome with principles any time over the smoothy-chops charmer apparently with none.
IWAS shocked to read that garden gnomes are in danger of becoming homeless.
Ge (gaD Garden gnomes originated from Germany - ceramic Gartenzwergs (garden dwarves) were made in Dresden in the early 19th Century.
Alton Towers is now putting out a call to find new homes for 200 garden gnomes, left behind when a Gnomes Go Free promotion got a little out of hand.
A DRUNK teenager who used a garden gnome to break into the house of a disabled couple has been spared jail.
I will now have to re-name my favourite garden gnome after a new hero.
JAMES McAvoy is to help launch a string of new Elton John tracks - while playing a garden gnome.
A GARDEN gnome who was kidnapped, taken around the world then returned to his owner's doorstep with an album of photos has become the star of a children's book series.
But marine surveyor Mr MacKillop, 46, is refusing to remove the gnome - in defiance of police who served him with a notice under the Protection From Harassment Act 1997 for "placing a garden gnome with intent to cause harassment to Mr John McLean".
His depression and rows tipped him over the edge and on February 5, 2012 he used a garden gnome, in the shape of an Easter Island monolith, and an eight inch carving knife, to kill his wife, the court heard.
The holy figure had been replaced by a garden gnome, complete with watering can - sparking outrage among the Christian and Catholic communities.