elf·​in ˈel-fən How to pronounce elfin (audio)
: of, relating to, or produced by an elf
: resembling an elf especially in its tiny size
elfin portions
: having an otherworldly or magical quality or charm

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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 7 Sep. 2019 The new story follows three elfin Gelflings who discover the horrifying secret behind the malevolent Skeksis’ power. Mark Dawidziak, cleveland.com, 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, 24 Aug. 2019 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'elfin.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


irregular from elf

First Known Use

1590, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of elfin was in 1590

Dictionary Entries Near elfin

Cite this Entry

“Elfin.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elfin. Accessed 26 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


elf·​in ˈel-fən How to pronounce elfin (audio)
: of or relating to elves
: resembling an elf
especially : having a strange beauty or charm

More from Merriam-Webster on elfin

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