\ 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

Clear and wild, never dammed, the river is home to salmon and steelhead, and forests alive with elk and birdsong. Lynda V. Mapes, The Seattle Times, "Battling Scotch broom along Olympic’s Hoh River that threatens fish, forests," 27 May 2018 The couple enjoys the wildlife in the area and once had a herd of elk drinking out of one of their ponds. Adam Bonislawski, WSJ, "A 21st-Century Frontier Home That Lives Off the Land," 1 Nov. 2018 In the same way, an elk killed by a wolf becomes food for ravens, coyotes and other species. Jim Robbins, New York Times, "Trillions Upon Trillions of Viruses Fall From the Sky Each Day," 13 Apr. 2018 The menu features bison, elk, kangaroo camel, boar, New Zealand Axis deer and two types of beef. Jada Yuan, New York Times, "Place 13 of 52: On the Water, and Off, the Rogue River in Oregon Charms," 22 May 2018 Clark volunteered her motor home as emergency elk transport. Scott Craven, azcentral, "Born of tragedy, newborn elk triumphs thanks to kindness of strangers," 12 July 2018 Instead, Ledford is installing grasslands to host valuable game species that never used to live in the immediate area, including elk and quail. Leslie Nemo, Scientific American, "From Defiled to Wild—Can a Spent Coal Mine Be Reborn as a Nature Conservation Center?," 11 July 2018 The rich network of glassy lakes and marshes are surrounded by spruce forests and are home to wildlife including beavers, moose, elk and birds. Jennifer Franklin, USA TODAY, "See the coast, cities and mountain peaks on this trip of a lifetime to the Canadian Rockies," 9 July 2018 Look for elk and spawning salmon on the 2.8-mile Sam’s River Loop trail. David Swanson, latimes.com, "How to cope with the crowds at the West's busiest national parks," 1 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

12 Jan 2019

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on elk

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with elk

Spanish Central: Translation of elk

Nglish: Translation of elk for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of elk for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about elk

Comments on elk

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someone who never drinks alcohol

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