So, in a bunch of different games by Valve, there's this Garden Gnome, and he's usually associated with an achievement, involving carrying him through an area. Over the course of my internet travels, I've picked up on the fact that his name is "Gnome Chompski". What is the significance of this name?

Gnome Chompski

2 Answers 2


The name is a play on the name of political writer "Noam Chomsky". I'm not entirely sure if Valve picked him for a reason other than that his first name sounded like "gnome".

  • 14
    He's also a linguist and his insights are particularly useful for Computer Science relating to compilers and grammars. Oct 10, 2010 at 17:12
  • 2
    In particular, every computer scientist (worth his salt) knows Chomsky for CNF. Oct 10, 2010 at 17:26
  • 3
    I know him for the Chomsky hierarchy.
    – Joren
    Oct 10, 2010 at 23:05

I am fairly certain Valve did not come up with this. There are mentions of Garden Gnome Chomsky on the web from 2006 (for example) which predates Left 4 Dead.

(I would have added this a s a comment, but there is no option to comment or reply to comment for some reason)

  • 2
    I think you mean Garden Noam Chomsky. Noam Chomsky used a Garden Gnome for many years as iconic branding (even before the internet if you can imagine such a thing).
    – tzenes
    Jan 4, 2011 at 16:46
  • This may because the Gnome in question has previously appeared in another, earlier, Valve game -- Half-Life 2. Jan 4, 2011 at 16:46
  • 1
    @tzennes: I can imagine it because I grew up before it :)
    – horatio
    Jan 4, 2011 at 17:31

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