- (in folklore) a small grotesque supernatural creature, regarded as malevolent towards human beings
WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2017
- an evil spirit that is mischievous or harmful toward people.
- a grotesque sprite or elf that is mischievous or malicious toward people.
- Middle High German kobold goblin; see kobold
- Middle French
- Middle English gobelin 1300–50
- Goblin, gnome, gremlin refer to supernatural beings thought to be malevolent to people. Goblins are demons of any size, usually in human or animal form, that are supposed to assail, afflict, and even torture human beings:"Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damn'd, …''(Shak. Hamlet I, iv). Gnomes are small beings, like ugly little old men, who live in the earth, guarding mines, treasures, etc. They are mysteriously malevolent and terrify human beings by causing dreadful mishaps to occur. Gremlins are thought to disrupt machinery and are active in modern folklore.