\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

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 Cremers is advocating for Assembly Bill 2805, authored by Assemblyman Frank Bigelow, R-Madera, which would change the status of California’s wild pigs from a game species regulated similar to deer, elk and bear to a new category. Ryan Sabalow, sacbee, "Wild pigs cause millions in damages in California. But hunting them could become easier," 25 June 2018 All testing to date has shown Wisconsin wild elk in both herds to be free of CWD. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "DNR killed elk last fall after it strayed into chronic wasting disease area," 18 May 2018 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

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

16 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for elk

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

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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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full of whispering sounds

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