\ ˈelv How to pronounce elve (audio) \
plural elves\ ˈelvz How to pronounce elve (audio) \

Definition of elve

: 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

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First Known Use of elve

1995, in the meaning defined above

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Cite this Entry

“Elve.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elve. Accessed 30 Nov. 2021.

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