gremlin

play
noun grem·lin \ˈgrem-lən\

Definition of gremlin

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

Examples of gremlin in a sentence

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

Origin and Etymology of gremlin

origin unknown


First Known Use: 1941


GREMLIN Defined for English Language Learners

gremlin

play
noun grem·lin \ˈgrem-lən\

Definition of gremlin for English Language Learners

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



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up gremlin? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

a dividing ridge between drainage areas

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • shamrock
  • What is the best definition of green-eyed monster?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!