A goblin is an evil or mischievous creature of folklore, often described as a grotesquely disfigured, elf-like phantom.
According to some traditions, their name comes from Gob or Ghob, the king of the gnomes, whose inferiors were obviously called Ghob-lings. However, according to The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English the name probably derives from the Anglo-French *gobelin (medieval Latin gobelinus), which is probably a diminutive of Gobel, a name related to the word Kobold. 'Goblin' is also related to the French 'lubin'.
Goblins were grotesque faeries of about dwarf height. They can also appear as animals. 'They count the dead among their companions.' They can weave nightmares out of gossamer and insert them into the ear of a sleeping human. Goblins borrow horses from stables and ride them all night. This explained why horses were tired in the morning. They steal human women and children, and hide them away underground. Goblin women steal human babies, replacing them with ugly goblin babies or changelings.
Goblins in art and literature
Some goblin fairy tales are: The Benevolent Goblin (from Gesta Romanorum), The Goblin of Adachigahara (Japanese)
Christina Rossetti, in the poem "Goblin Market", used goblins as symbols of earthly desires that tantalize and nearly destroy a girl who falls under their spell.
Author George MacDonald, in The Princess and the Goblin, portrayed them as malevolent, subterranean creatures. The book is said to have been a childhood favorite of J. R. R. Tolkien, who populated his Middle-earth with goblins but later preferred to call them orcs in order to distance them from fairy tale characters.
In many fantasy role playing games, goblins are smaller cousins of orcs. See: goblinoid.
Goblins also figure prominently in the Jim Henson film Labyrinth, in which a powerful sorcerer (Jareth the Goblin King, portrayed by David Bowie) commands a legion of foul, diminutive, largely incompetent creatures. The goblins initially do the bidding of a young girl (played by Jennifer Connelly), who must ultimately overcome her fear of them and resist seduction by their king.
Some movies with goblins in them are: The Black Cauldron (Disney), Legend (starring Tom Cruise)
See also Goblins (Harry Potter).
Goblins in Game Culture
In the Warcraft Universe, Goblins are the smaller and more intelligent (well, in science) cousin of the Orc. They allied with the Orcs during the First and Second War but during Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, they have appeared to have split off and start their own business. However, some have been hired by Thrall as diggers for the kingdom of Durotar. They can be described in personality as "insane" and "menacing to themselves and others" with such creations as the Goblin Sapper, Goblins strapped with bombs as suicide attackers.
Other computer games featuring goblins are: Goblin Commandos, Dungeon Keeper 2, The Hobbit,The Lord of the Rings games, Dungeons & Dragons games
In the collectible [trading] card game (ie. CCG), Magic: The Gathering (MTG), goblins are very much like the goblins of WarHammer and are a very popular creature type. They tend to be red [summoning spells] that are very good at working with one another, considered to be very unintelligent, and very fast in gameplay. They are different in this game from other fantasy creature types typically associated with them such as kobolds, fairies, and orcs.
The XF-85 Goblin was an experimantal aircraft built by McDonnell. The Grumman Goblin was a 1930s vintage fighter aircraft.
The Goblin is also a nickname for the Gospel_Oak_to_Barking_line service in London.