\ˈelk \
plural elks

Definition of elk 

1 plural usually elk

a : moose sense 1 used for one of the Old World

b : a large gregarious deer (Cervus elaphus) of North America, Europe, Asia, and northwestern Africa with the male having large antlers and many tines and that often form large herds

Note: The North American elk is sometimes considered to constitute a separate species (C. canadensis).

called also red deer, wapiti

c : any of various large Asian deer

2 : soft tanned rugged leather

3 capitalized [ Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks ] : a member of a major benevolent and fraternal order

Examples of elk in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

In a flash, a herd of elk bolted across the trail just yards ahead of me. Mare Czinar, azcentral, "Arizona hike: Wildlife abounds on the South Fork Trail," 19 June 2018 Earlier this week, two women were attacked by female elk protecting their calves, according to USA Today. Gabby Ferreira, sacbee, "The crowd got too close to a bison in Yellowstone Park. It gored a California woman.," 7 June 2018 Two women were injured by a female elk with her calf outside a Yellowstone hotel in separate incidents Sunday and Tuesday. Thomas Leavy, CBS News, "Woman gored in bison attack in Yellowstone National Park," 7 June 2018 There is viral footage of a photographer sitting on the roadside in a park taking pics of a bull elk. Philip Chard, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Put down the smartphone and become more human," 31 May 2018 Along with horses carrying boxed bear and wolf cubs, foxes and fishers, Adams and his men drove a herd of six bears, four deer, four wolves, four antelope, two elk and a small dog the Indian chief had given Adams. Gary Kamiya, SFChronicle.com, "The original Grizzly Adams kept his bears on a chain in SF," 7 July 2018 Visitors can drive through a native grassland where elk and other wildlife frequently roam or visit the Golden Pond Planetarium and Observatory. Zahria Rogers, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky's 7 best parks and recreation areas that you have to explore," 29 June 2018 Now the forests are able to sustain healthy populations of elk, deer and, of course, the Kirtland’s warbler. Michigan Wildlife Council, Detroit Free Press, "Seeing the forest for the trees: Healthy forests bring abundant wildlife," 7 Mar. 2018 Hunters crowd into inns and lodges every fall, lured by elk that graze on nearby hillsides. Zack Colman, Scientific American, "A Trump Oil Boom Could Transform This Rocky Mountain Landscape," 13 July 2018

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

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First Known Use of elk

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for elk

Middle English, probably from Old English eolh; akin to Old High German elaho elk, Greek elaphos deer

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Statistics for elk

Last Updated

5 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for elk

The first known use of elk was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for elk



English Language Learners Definition of elk

: a large kind of North American deer with big antlers

: a European or Asian moose


\ˈelk \

Kids Definition of elk

1 : a large deer of North America, Europe, and Asia with curved antlers having many branches

2 : the moose of Europe and Asia

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a generally accepted meaning of a word

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