What on earth is a gnome?

According to the entry in the Chambers Dictionary of Etymology;

gnome n. 1712-14, in Pope’s Rape of the Lock; borrowed from the French gnome, from New Latin gnomus, possibly with the meaning of earth dweller. The word is often said to have been coined by the Swiss-born alchemist and physician Paracelsus, 1493-1541, perhaps from a Greek form  genomos earth dweller, erroneously improvised from Greek gnome – thought, opinion, intelligence (because gnomes are described as intelligent). It is also possible that the quasi-Greek genomos was formed on analogy with the Greek thalassonomos – dwelling in the sea, from the alleged inhabitants of the four elements; salamander (fire), sylph (air), undine (water), and gnome (earth).

and, gnomic. adj. full of instructive sayings …



  1. What is a micrognome anyway… http://tinyurl.com/yd5z8tj

  2. RT @sandnsurf: What is a micrognome anyway… http://tinyurl.com/yd5z8tj – I thougth they were really small kids

  3. More on the legend of the micrognome: RT @micrognome157: What on earth is a gnome? http://bit.ly/bfvXfZ

  4. micrognome says

    It shouldn’t be that difficult to convince people they need to spend more time looking down a microscope, or scanning its computer screen. But there’s nowt strange as folk, as the saying goes. Wouldn’t it be great to have digital images with all those clinical lab reports?

  5. micrognome says

    Yep. Been working on this specific area for the last three years. Should have some more news of our own shortly – very practical stuff. Micrognome


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