Nomes (sometimes spelled Gnomes) are immortal creatures who live under the earth's surface, where they guard the precious metals and jewel stones that lie buried in rock and ore. They are ruled by the Nome King.
There were also different Gnomes that reside in Burzee.
Nomes are rather round and not very tall. Their toes are curly and their ears broad and flat. They are the color of rocks and their shapes are as rough and rugged as if they had been broken away from the side of a mountain. They can cling to the surface of rock as a fly does to a window-pane.
Though they live underground where there is neither night nor day, they do need to sleep like the "up-stairs" people do.
Because eggs belong to the outside world, they are poison to Nomes. (Ozma of Oz) If the inside of an egg touches a Nome, he withers up and blows away and that is the end of him - unless he manages quickly to speak a magical word which only a few of the Nomes know. (Tik-Tok of Oz)
When Ruggedo was the Nome King, he often treated his subjects poorly. Sometimes, when the abuse was worse than usual, they would refuse to work until Kaliko came and begged them to. Kaliko was respected because he was one of themselves, and as much abused by Ruggedo as any of them. (Tik-Tok of Oz)
In the film "Return to Oz", the Nomes are depicted quite differently from the books; they are shown as grotesque rock creatures, capable of manifesting themselves in any rock, with the most prominent one being the Nome Messenger, who alerts the Nome King of Dorothy Gale's presence in Oz. The Nomes appear in the climax, being ordered by the Nome King to stop Dorothy and her friends from escaping him. They were last seen fleeing after the Nome King accidentally devours Billina's egg, uttering the word "poison..." in horror. It is unknown if the Nomes survived the collapse of the Nome Kingdom.