Definition of gnomic
- gnomic utterances
- a gnomic poet
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He made gnomic utterances concerning death.
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A gnome is an aphorism-that is, an observation or sentiment reduced to the form of a saying. Gnomes are sometimes couched in metaphorical or figurative language, they are often quite clever, and they are always concise. We borrowed the word gnome in the 16th century from the Greeks, who based their gnome on the verb gignōskein, meaning "to know." (That other gnome-the dwarf of folklore-comes from New Latin and is unrelated to "aphorism" meaning.) We began using gnomic, the adjective form of gnome, in the early 19th century. It describes a style of writing (or sometimes speech) characterized by pithy phrases, which are often terse to the point of mysteriousness.
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