Elf Elf ([e^]lf), n.; pl. {Elves} ([e^]lvz). [AS. [ae]lf, ylf; akin to MHG. alp, G. alp nightmare, incubus, Icel. [=a]lfr elf, Sw. alf, elfva; cf. Skr. [.r]bhu skillful, artful, rabh to grasp. Cf. {Auf}, {Oaf}.] 1. An imaginary supernatural being, commonly a little sprite, much like a fairy; a mythological diminutive spirit, supposed to haunt hills and wild places, and generally represented as delighting in mischievous tricks. [1913 Webster]

Every elf, and fairy sprite, Hop as light as bird from brier. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

2. A very diminutive person; a dwarf. [1913 Webster]

{Elf arrow}, a flint arrowhead; -- so called by the English rural folk who often find these objects of prehistoric make in the fields and formerly attributed them to fairies; -- called also {elf bolt}, {elf dart}, and {elf shot}.

{Elf child}, a child supposed to be left by elves, in room of one they had stolen. See {Changeling}.

{Elf fire}, the ignis fatuus. --Brewer.

{Elf owl} (Zo["o]l.), a small owl ({Micrathene Whitneyi}) of Southern California and Arizona. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

, , , , , / , / , , (applied in sport to a child)

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  • elf — race of powerful supernatural beings in Germanic folklore, O.E. elf (Mercian, Kentish), ælf (Northumbrian), ylfe (pl., W.Saxon), from P.Gmc. *albiz (Cf. O.S. alf, O.N. alfr, Ger. alp evil spirit, goblin, incubus ), origin unknown, possibly from… …   Etymology dictionary

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  • elf — elf; ELF; elf·ish; elf·land; elf·in; elf·ish·ly; …   English syllables

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  • Elf — Elf, v. t. To entangle mischievously, as an elf might do. [1913 Webster] Elf all my hair in knots. Shak. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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