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 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 In the elfin village of Kinderhook, the gallerist Jack Shainman has transformed the former Martin Van Buren High School into a large exhibition space called the School. Will Heinrich, New York Times, "Summer Art Trek: Gallery Hopping in the Hudson Valley," 8 Aug. 2019 More than 4,600 miles away, in a single-story house at the end of a country road in Dinwiddie County, Va., an elfin man with gray hair reviewed footage of the rallies this spring, took a puff on his pipe and smiled. Washington Post, "He’s the Rush Limbaugh of Brazil. He has Bolsonaro’s ear. And he lives in rural Virginia.," 15 July 2019 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

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

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


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

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 speed up the process or progress of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • pasta resembling wheels with spokes
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

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!