gremlin

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grem·lin

 (grĕm′lĭn)
n.
1. An imaginary gnomelike creature to whom mechanical problems, especially in aircraft, are attributed.
2. A maker of mischief.

[Perhaps blend of Irish gruaimín, bad-tempered little fellow (from Middle Irish gruaim, gloom, surliness) and goblin.]
Word History: Elves, goblins, and trolls seem to be timeless creations of the distant past, but gremlins were born in the 1900s. In fact, gremlin is first recorded only in the 1920s, as a Royal Air Force term for a low-ranking officer or enlisted man saddled with oppressive assignments. Said to have been invented by members of the Royal Naval Air Service in World War I, gremlin is used in works written in the 1940s for "an imaginary gnomelike creature who causes difficulties in aircraft." The word seems likely to have been influenced by goblin, but accounts of its origin are various and none are certain. One source calls in Fremlin beer bottles to explain the word; another, the Irish Gaelic word gruaimín, "ill-humored little fellow." Whatever the word's origin, it is certain that gremlins have taken on a life of their own.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

gremlin

(ˈɡrɛmlɪn)
n
1. (Military) an imaginary imp jokingly said to be responsible for malfunctions in machinery
2. any mischievous troublemaker
[C20: perhaps a corruption of goblin]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014

grem•lin

(ˈgrɛm lɪn)

n.
an imaginary, mischievous being humorously alleged to cause mechanical failures in aircraft or disruptions in any activity.
[1925–30; of obscure orig.; in its earliest attested sense, an RAF term for a subaltern or enlisted man; later development perhaps affected by phonetic resemblance to goblin]
syn: See goblin.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

gremlin

A mythical creature believed to tamper with all kinds of machinery.
Dictionary of Unfamiliar Words by Diagram Group Copyright © 2008 by Diagram Visual Information Limited
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.gremlin - (folklore) fairies that are somewhat mischievousgremlin - (folklore) fairies that are somewhat mischievous
folklore - the unwritten lore (stories and proverbs and riddles and songs) of a culture
faerie, faery, fay, sprite - a small being, human in form, playful and having magical powers
leprechaun - a mischievous elf in Irish folklore
sandman - an elf in fairy stories who sprinkles sand in children's eyes to make them sleepy
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
Translations

gremlin

[ˈgremlɪn] Nduendecillo m, diablillo m
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005

gremlin

[ˈgrɛmlɪn] ndiablotin m (à qui l'on attribue le mauvais fonctionnement d'une machine ou d'un appareil)
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005

gremlin

n (hum)böser Geist, Maschinenteufel m (hum)
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007

gremlin

[ˈgrɛmlɪn] nspiritello
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995
References in periodicals archive ?
Sadly the gremlins were at work with the sound system, so it was difficult to hear some excellent singing from the cast.
With a career that spanned over six decades, Miller acted in over 150 movies and TV series including "The Terminator", "Gremlins" and "The 'Burbs".
The prolific screen actor is best known for his role as Murray Futterman in the 1984 classic horror film Gremlins, though he made hundreds of on screen appearances since his debut in the 1950s.
He plays Gizmo in a Christmas version of cult movie Gremlins, alongside Paddy McGuinness and ex-EastEnder Kara Tointon.
Somehow the dreaded typo gremlins sneaked in and changed the year we got electricity on our western Pennsylvania farm from 1938 to 1928.
Dynetics, a Huntsville, Alabama-based defense contractor, has been awarded a follow-on contract for the demonstration phase of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Gremlins program.
Dynetics announced earlier that it has been selected as the top performer for Phase 3 of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, Gremlins program.
GREMLINS was the Christmas comedy horror film of the 1980s.