All Words > Gnomic

Sunday, March 1



Part of speech: adjective

Origin: Greek, early 19th century


Expressed in or of the nature of short, pithy maxims or aphorisms.


Enigmatic; ambiguous.

Examples of Gnomic in a sentence

"He seemed incapable of original thought, only speaking in gnomic riddles."

"The campaign speech excited the voters but remained gnomic in substance."

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About Gnomic

At first glance you might assume this adjective is of the garden-gnome variety. You CAN use it to describe anything gnome-like but it's better used to describe advice given through short, commonplace adages. Just don't go asking your garden gnome for his opinions; he'll probably remain fairly silent.

Did you Know?

The roots of this speech-related adjective are the same for the fairytale creature. In Greek, "gnōmē" means thought or judgment. Gnomes have served many purposes in fantastical stories, but they are often storytellers, or givers of advice. The adjective gnomic became applied to trite sayings in the 19th century, well after stories of magical gnomes.

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