Definition of gnomic in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈnōmik/


1Expressed in or of the nature of short, pithy maxims or aphorisms: that most gnomic form, the aphorism
More example sentences
  • Sporting a permanently pained expression and the hunched demeanour of a child expecting a smack, he speaks in gnomic aphorisms that frequently sound like bumper-sticker mottoes.
  • Such writing inevitably takes the form of short fragmentary and often gnomic utterance.
  • DeLillo's characters have often talked in epigrams or gnomic utterances; now these have a future-shock fatalism about them.
1.1Enigmatic; ambiguous: I had to have the gnomic response interpreted for me
More example sentences
  • By this time I knew her well enough to understand this gnomic, seemingly banal statement.
  • What is missing, he argues, is an acknowledgement of the history of delay, prevarication, demands for clarification, gnomic utterances, false trails, garden paths and double-speak by the republican leadership.
  • Even his private comments grew much more guarded as the work itself became increasingly gnomic and resistant to interpretation.



Pronunciation: /-ik(ə)lē/
Example sentences
  • ‘True,’ Isaiah would gnomically reply, ‘but at a deeper level.’
  • On the centre's website, Hunter states gnomically: ‘If you accept that you should give a hungry man a fishing rod, not a fish, then confidence underpins his ability to use that fishing rod.’
  • ‘You'll simply never understand the true nature of sacrifice,’ Rowan's mum says gnomically to Howie.


Early 19th century: from Greek gnōmikos (perhaps via French gnomique), from gnōmē 'thought, judgment', (plural) gnōmai 'sayings, maxims', related to gignōskein 'know'.

Words that rhyme with gnomic

monochromic, ohmic, photochromic

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: gno·mic

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.