elf·​in | \ ˈel-fən How to pronounce elfin (audio) \

Definition of elfin

1a : of, relating to, or produced by an elf
b : resembling an elf especially in its tiny size elfin portions
2 : having an otherworldly or magical quality or charm

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of elfin in a Sentence

They were delighted with the child's elfin charm. the heroine in the story has an elfin beauty that men find irresistible

Recent Examples on the Web

The author, still youthfully elfin at 67, notes that this is so... Daniel Akst, WSJ, "Fictionalizing History, With Republicans at Center Stage," 1 Mar. 2019 Stories of the nisse, tomte and other elfin creatures became more popular, eventually finding their place in Christmas lore. Regina Hansen, WSJ, "The Ancient Magic of Elves," 21 Dec. 2018 Giana, known to her 22,800 Instagram followers as Dear Giana, is a photogenic 9-year-old artist and fashion enthusiast with an elfin frame and a marketing heft that brands want to harness. Ray A. Smith, WSJ, "Meet the 9-Year-Old Telling You What to Wear," 6 Oct. 2018 In December 2013, a few weeks before their elfin Christmas visits, Mr. Rechnitz and Mr. Reichberg chartered another private jet and took Chief Banks and Mr. Seabrook on a trip to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. Alan Feuer, New York Times, "Tracking Graft, From the Bootlegger to the Mayor," 27 Apr. 2018 At 41, Heti herself — fair and faintly elfin, with overgrown bangs — could pass for a grad student. Molly Fischer, The Cut, "Should Sheila Heti Have a Baby?," 1 May 2018 With his short, curly hair and elfin demeanor, Joshua Kiszka defies the stereotype of the ultra-macho hard-rock singer. Randy Lewis, latimes.com, "Elton John's 26th Oscars viewing party raises $5.9 million for his AIDS Foundation," 6 Mar. 2018 An elfin 21-year-old model with dreadlocks named Thomas Castro was buying a ring, encrusted with diamonds and in the shape of two panthers, for his mother. Greg Howard, New York Times, "Custom Jewelry With a Hip-Hop Following," 20 Sep. 2017 This year, for the first time in more than 40 years, the elfin man didn’t deliver gifts to the needy children along the hollows and pig paths in Harlan County, a place that would have been bereft of hope around Christmas for years if not for him. Joseph Gerth, The Courier-Journal, "He brought joy to kids for decades as Mountain Santa. Now he’s frail and facing cancer," 21 Dec. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'elfin.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of elfin

1590, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for elfin

irregular from elf

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about elfin

Statistics for elfin

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for elfin

The first known use of elfin was in 1590

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for elfin



English Language Learners Definition of elfin

: having to do with elves : looking like an elf


elf·​in | \ ˈel-fən How to pronounce elfin (audio) \

Kids Definition of elfin

: relating to elves

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on elfin

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for elfin

Spanish Central: Translation of elfin

Nglish: Translation of elfin for Spanish Speakers

Comments on elfin

What made you want to look up elfin? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to take the place or position of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!