gnome (n.1) Look up gnome at
"dwarf-like earth-dwelling spirit," 1712, from French gnome (16c.), from Medieval Latin gnomus, used 16c. in a treatise by Paracelsus, who gave the name pigmaei or gnomi to elemental earth beings, possibly from Greek *genomos "earth-dweller" (compare thalassonomos "inhabitant of the sea"). A less-likely suggestion is that Paracelsus based it on the homonym that means "intelligence" (see gnome (n.2)).

Popularized in England in children's literature from early 19c. as a name for red-capped German and Swiss folklore dwarfs. Garden figurines of them were first imported to England late 1860s from Germany; garden-gnome attested from 1933. Gnomes of Zurich for "international financiers" is from 1964.
gnome (n.2) Look up gnome at
"short, pithy statement of general truth," 1570s, from Greek gnome "judgment, opinion; maxim, the opinion of wise men" (see gnomic).