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 Precisely the sorts of things that a federal coronavirus task force and its elfin leader should be focused on, in other words. Libby Watson, The New Republic, "Jared Kushner Is a National Disaster," 15 May 2020 Before leading me on a tour of the outdoor sets and soundstages, Logan, an elfin presence with a demeanor that splits the difference between fanatical and very nice, greeted me at his office in a repurposed hacienda. Alexis Soloski, New York Times, "In ‘Penny Dreadful: City of Angels,’ California Dreaming, Darkly," 24 Apr. 2020 The elfin Smart car made a noble stab at our market, but is leaving it while remaining in Europe. Tom Voelk, New York Times, "Europe and the U.S. Share a Lot, Except When It Comes to Cars," 4 Mar. 2020 Advocates say the change, which the agency wants to make permanent, softens protections for the New England cottontail, golden eagle, frosted elfin butterfly and other animals along with some that are subject to separate federal protections. USA TODAY, "Leaning Tower of Dallas, John Glenn, blue lobster: News from around our 50 states," 20 Feb. 2020 Cunningham was easily both, and Bozek’s film—narrated by Sarah Jessica Parker—captures both his artistry and his fizzy, elfin charm. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "The Times of Bill Cunningham," 14 Feb. 2020 The road winds up the mountain through the elfin forest of red shank ribbonwood that were carpeting the hills with a pale yellow-green hue from the tiny blossoms on the plant. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Sit-and-see adventure at Santa Rosa Mountains," 7 Sep. 2019 The new story follows three elfin Gelflings who discover the horrifying secret behind the malevolent Skeksis’ power. Mark Dawidziak, cleveland.com, "Kirsten Dunst Showtime series among top viewing choices," 24 Aug. 2019 Over his nearly five decades with the Spurs, Pete Anton Sr., an elfin figure in a sport of giants, was a constant, delightful presence. John Maccormack, ExpressNews.com, "Pete Anton, 94, worked for the Spurs from the very beginning," 24 Aug. 2019

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

Time Traveler for elfin

Time Traveler

The first known use of elfin was in 1590

See more words from the same year

Statistics for elfin

Cite this Entry

“Elfin.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elfin. Accessed 18 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for elfin


How to pronounce elfin (audio)

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

More from Merriam-Webster on elfin

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words of Snow and Ice Quiz

  • image1037863653
  • Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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