plural elves ˈelvz How to pronounce elve (audio)
: a form of electrical discharge that is emitted upward from the top of a cumulonimbus cloud during a thunderstorm and that usually appears as a very short-lived reddish circle of light
"Elves" appear as rapidly expanding doughnuts of light that vanish in less than a millisecond. They most likely result when an electromagnetic pulse from an energetic cloud-to-ground lightning strike propagates into the ionosphere. While elves may accompany sprites, the mechanisms that create the two differ.Stephen James O'Meara, Astronomy, June 2010

Word History

First Known Use

1995, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of elve was in 1995

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Dictionary Entries Near elve

Cite this Entry

“Elve.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elve. Accessed 17 Jun. 2024.

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