View Full Version : Origin of the name "Gnome"

8th Feb 2009, 17:08
Okay; it's a daft question, but this is Jet Blast after all!

What is the origin of the name "Gnome", for all those little comical garden statues?

Her Indoors came up with one today that I won't repeat, even on Jet Blast, as it was daft and rubbish!

So what does everyone else think it means?

Captain Stable
8th Feb 2009, 17:16
A gnome is a mythical (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myth) creature characterized by its extremely small size and subterranean (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/subterranean) lifestyle.[1] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gnome#cite_note-0) The word gnome is derived from the New Latin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Latin) gnomus. It is often claimed to descend from the Greek (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_language) γνώσις gnosis, "knowledge", but more likely comes from genomos "earth-dweller", in which case the omission of e is, as the OED (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OED) calls it, a blunder. Another possibility is that it comes from the Arabic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabic) نوم (Noum),[citation needed (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Citation_needed)] which means sleep. It is also possible that Paracelsus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paracelsus) simply made the word up. Notable Gnomes in English Folklore include Sprin, Rumo, Pinny, Fislet and Glucifer.Gnome - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gnome)
Online Etymology Dictionary (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=gnome&searchmode=none)

8th Feb 2009, 17:30
It's a Rotary(not radial) engine, crankshaft fixed to the firewall.

8th Feb 2009, 17:41
Also an axial flow gas turbine used in helicopters.

Come on, I'm sure we're all dying to know, what was the explanation the other half offered?

Standard Noise
8th Feb 2009, 18:07
Science teacher at my old school he was a gnome (that was his nickname can't remember his real name). Walked around in a white coat with a reddish pink face and white hair. Looked like one that you had to paint yourself. Small, about 5'6".

Gnome (adj.) - alternative name of science teacher.

tony draper
8th Feb 2009, 18:47
Hmmm dunno if this helps but the bit that sticks up from a sundial that casts the shadow is called a Gnomon? not sure of the spelling.

8th Feb 2009, 18:51
Whatever happened to the Gnome Service?
I think we should be told.

8th Feb 2009, 19:18
We had a Geography teacher who was two foot tall & looked like a Gnome, so we called him the Gnome. His car was the Gnome mobile. Then, a gift from heaven, he traded it in & bought a Mini Metro.

We had the MetroGnome! Class that was.:cool:

8th Feb 2009, 20:49
Isn't it where some Alaskan dog race ends up?

Lon More
8th Feb 2009, 22:43
Ain't you lot got no gnomes to go to?

8th Feb 2009, 23:32
Just singing:

There's gnome business like gnome business -

Gnome gnome on the range where - :)

8th Feb 2009, 23:40
We had a fellow instructor at Cranwell whom we called WOG

Wizened Old Gnome

Well, actually, he was called WOC but wog fits as well. :}

9th Feb 2009, 00:12
Then there's Gnome's Law . . .

. . . and Gnome man's land . . .

. . . and Gnomenclature.

They also say that there's Gnome place like home . . .

Anyone else want to Gnomenate others?

9th Feb 2009, 02:00
And I thought it was a word with gnome meaning. :)

Captain Stable
9th Feb 2009, 07:35
Whatever happened to the Gnome Service?Is that the same as the National Elf Service?

9th Feb 2009, 07:50
I spent a sizeable portion of my life trying to keep Gnomes working properly. Rolls Royce borrowed them from Allison and nailed them with the RR logo, but that didn't make them work any better. We were sequestered in Astwick Manor to be initiated into the mystery. Astwick Manor is still there but the Gnomes are long gone. If you ask me, Gnomes are best off in Switzerland, burrowing underground to count their (our?) shekels.

9th Feb 2009, 07:54
Nobody mentioned Gegnomes yet then? :E

(Own up, I'm a gnome, ain't I right, haha)
"Haven't you got an 'ome to go to?"
(No, we're gnomads)
"Didn't they teach you to get your hair cut at school?
you look like a rolling gnome."
(No, not at the London School of Ecognomics)

D. Bowie "The Laughing Gnome"
Laughing Gnome Lyrics by David Bowie (http://www.lyricsdepot.com/david-bowie/laughing-gnome.html)

9th Feb 2009, 12:19
Lord Gnome has done rather nicely out of Private Eye.

Lon More
9th Feb 2009, 12:28
It all wemt downhill since the invention of the gnomatic tyre

9th Feb 2009, 13:35
Gnomatic tyres are handy if you have a mobile gnome
you can tow around.

wings folded
9th Feb 2009, 16:23
Was it not John Donne who said "Gnoman is an island"

Lon More
9th Feb 2009, 17:42
. . and Gnome man's land . .

Famous folk song by Eric Bogle

Gnome More (using Lon's laptop)

9th Feb 2009, 17:51

'grief! - you demonstrate your nationhood by owning up to this cultural icon! :D:D

Lon More
9th Feb 2009, 18:02
A Fifer actually


Gno. Be a man and gno nay do that!!

9th Feb 2009, 18:42
Was it not John Donne who said "Gnoman is an island" Truly gnomic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gnomic_tense). :cool::cool:

Lon More
9th Feb 2009, 18:46
Is a gnome hater gnomophobic?

9th Feb 2009, 19:01
Is a gnome hater gnomophobic? They can't help it, it's in their genome.

9th Feb 2009, 19:24
From Cramond Island my mum used to point and say 'that's where'll you'll end up when you're bad' ;)

And, lo', I did appear on stage at the Kinema, Lochglley Miners Welfare, Kirkcaldy Ice Rink (c'mon the Flyers),etc, thereby proving the point:O
ORAC, done it, BTW it's 'Gegnome'

Captain Stable
10th Feb 2009, 07:38
I thought Bogle was a Scot? Emigrated to Oz? No?

10th Feb 2009, 07:55
All these puns and not one about fish? Even though gnomes stand on a subterranean perch?

Can we include any elfin items?

10th Feb 2009, 09:31
Watch out, we've got a troll...... :ooh:

Hagbard the Amateur
10th Feb 2009, 11:06
What do you call a vertically challenged person on the Paris underground railway system?

A metrognome

coat - exit

cockney steve
10th Feb 2009, 11:19
messr's Tate and Lyle used to promote the homily
"Gnome ,sweet Gnome"

Lon More
10th Feb 2009, 11:32
Lochgelly - Twinned with Beirut.

Although I was born in Dunfermline, right next to East End Park, most of the family lived in Lochgelly, in the famous Happyland :\
My Grandparents had their 50th Wedding Anniversary in the Miners' Institute; many cousins had their weddings there (fond memory of an amorous encounter with a chief bridesmaid round the back.:ooh:)
It was derelict a few years ago, now restored

Also the home of the thrice accursed George Dick (http://website.lineone.net/~magydick/history.htm)

and keeping it on thread - gnomadic tinkers used to have a horse fair near the Loch many years ago

10th Feb 2009, 15:01
When I was a little lad, teachers used to break up a wooden hoop and share out the pieces to use 'encouraging' us delinquints. The Headmaster had a custom made tapered rod about 18 inches long, for use on serious sinners.

When I was bigger, and went on to serious education, they used a thick leather strap, like the tawse, only not split.

The joys of a good Catholic upbringing.

On topic, it Elfinwell hurt, and Gnomistake.

Captain Stable
10th Feb 2009, 15:30
An Elfin scouse gnome!


10th Feb 2009, 15:36
That scouse gnome is enough to make one become Gnomaddic.

10th Feb 2009, 16:25
What about a Gnome Monosoupape? Where did that name come from?

10th Feb 2009, 19:18
When I was a young man a gnome was a Swiss Banker-the Gnomes of Zurich-who from time to time were called upon by the government of the day to attempt a rescue of the U.K. economy. Obviously their attempts had a short term effect.

10th Feb 2009, 22:18

Rotary engine with a single valve per cylinder I think.

After an excellent landing you can use the airplane again!

11th Feb 2009, 07:45

yes, but where did the name come from?

There's been a set of aticles recently in 'Engineering in Miniature' about building one, but it didn't tell us the origin of the name.

11th Feb 2009, 08:34

Function: noun

Etymology: French, from New Latin gnomus

1 : an ageless and often deformed dwarf of folklore who lives in the earth and usually guards treasure

2 : an elemental being in the theory of Paracelsus that inhabits earth

3 : Gordon Brown or any resemblance of him

Peter Fanelli
11th Feb 2009, 11:42
Geez what's happening to you Brits?

BBC News Online | England | South Yorkshire | Police warn over naughty gnomes (http://news.bbc.co.uk/nolpda/ukfs_news/hi/newsid_3674000/3674987.stm)

This from a country that gave us such classics as Confessions of a Window Cleaner.

11th Feb 2009, 12:25
One of those looks like Elvish.

Lon More
11th Feb 2009, 14:32
Gno matter


11th Feb 2009, 16:46

Gnome Rhone, a French aero engine company. Now part of SNECMA.

After an excellent landing you can use the airplane again!