gremlin

noun
grem·lin | \ˈgrem-lən \

Definition of gremlin 

: a cause of error or equipment malfunction (as in aircraft) conceived of as a small mischievous gnome

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Examples of gremlin in a Sentence

during the World Wars, fighter pilots adopted the fanciful notion that gremlins were responsible for mechanical failures on their planes

Recent Examples on the Web

The film does land a few, including a primo gag that involves gremlins running a nightmarish airline. Barbara Vandenburgh, azcentral, "Monsters go on vacation in 'Hotel Transylvania 3'," 12 July 2018 Overall, mechanical problems — whether faulty transmissions, or squeaks, rattles and wind noise — have largely vanished, according to Power, with electronic gremlins the top source of consumer complaints. NBC News, "South Korean cars rank highest for quality in new survey — but Detroit isn't far behind," 20 June 2018 That’s the anti-charm of these trucks, the myriad potential electrical gremlins on obsolete out-of-production components. Popular Mechanics, "My Ride: 1991 Land Rover Ranger Rover Classic," 18 Apr. 2018 The researchers tried to account for the usual gremlins that influence sleep: alcohol consumption, coffee intake, naps, smoking, shift work and similar factors, and used statistical methods to control for their effect. Ben Guarino, chicagotribune.com, "People who sleep in on weekends avoid dying young, study suggests," 23 May 2018 An exhaust fire ultimately put an end to that car's race on Sunday morning, with the sister machine retired shortly afterward due to electrical gremlins. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "A packed grid of prototypes battles it at a record-breaking Daytona 24-hour race," 29 Jan. 2018 The gremlin is the mascot of mySugr, an Austrian startup Roche bought for 70 million Swiss francs ($75 million) last June. Naomi Kresge, Bloomberg.com, "Roche's Sinking Diabetes Unit Looks Toward a Monster for a Boost," 26 Feb. 2018 Need to power through dinner and bedtime with children who have seemingly turned into gremlins? Anna Thomas Bates, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Dirty Chai Toddy a welcome January pick-me-up," 3 Jan. 2018 View 100 Photos Braking Braking is a common gremlin for hybrid vehicles, which use a mix of regenerative and friction braking. Michael Simari, Car and Driver, "2018 Toyota Prius," 17 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gremlin.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of gremlin

1941, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for gremlin

origin unknown

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Dictionary Entries near gremlin

greking

gremial

gremio

gremlin

gremmie

gremolata

grenache

Statistics for gremlin

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Time Traveler for gremlin

The first known use of gremlin was in 1941

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More Definitions for gremlin

gremlin

noun

English Language Learners Definition of gremlin

: a small imaginary creature that is blamed when something (such as a machine) does not work properly

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Comments on gremlin

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