Word of the Day : July 19, 2019

gnomic

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adjective NOH-mik

Definition

1 : characterized by aphorism

2 : given to the composition of aphoristic writing

Did You Know?

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." (The other gnome—referring to the dwarf of folklore—comes from New Latin and is unrelated to the aphoristic gnome.) We began using gnomic, the adjective form of gnome, in the late 18th century. It describes a style of writing, or sometimes speech, characterized by pithy phrases, which are often terse to the point of mysteriousness.


Examples

"That narrative power is real, as in the case of Shireen, but it came not from having a story but from telling it and persuading others of its truth. And we didn't see a trace of that in Bran's ascension. He generally fails to speak in anything other than fractured, gnomic phrases. He doesn't tend to connect." — Amy Davidson Sorkin, The New Yorker, 21 May 2019

"Mr. Marshall … was known for challenging established ways of thinking and for acquiring a reputation as the Pentagon's 'Yoda,' after the wise, gnomic Jedi master of 'Star Wars.'" — Matt Schudel, The Washington Post, 27 Mar. 2019



Test Your Vocabulary

Fill in the blanks to complete the name of a gnome of German folklore that inhabits underground places: k _ b _ l _.

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