\ ˈelf How to pronounce elf (audio) \
plural elves\ ˈelvz How to pronounce elf (audio) \

Definition of elf

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a small often mischievous fairy
2 : a small lively creature also : a usually lively mischievous or malicious person

Definition of ELF (Entry 2 of 2)

extremely low frequency

Other Words from elf


elfish \ ˈel-​fish How to pronounce elf (audio) \ adjective
elfishly adverb

Examples of elf in a Sentence

Noun elves are often portrayed as rather mischievous
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Ismael Cruz Córdova is also the first person of color to play an elf in the series. Brendan Morrow, The Week, 2 Aug. 2022 Some of the immortal elf characters like Elrond and Galadriel will be main characters, but the show will feature younger versions of the characters — so Cate Blanchett won’t reprise her role as Galadriel, nor will Hugo Weaving as Elrond. Ethan Millman, Rolling Stone, 22 July 2022 Still, the ship’s real VIP is Bug Naked, Captain Kate’s elusive elf sphynx. Katie Jackson, USA TODAY, 30 June 2022 The 10-minute comedy follows Henry, an Atlanta father who makes an annual tradition of working as a mall Santa Claus with his son Otis as an elf sidekick. Tara Mcnamara, Variety, 24 June 2022 Just like the Shakespearean elf, after whom the wine is named. John Mariani, Forbes, 16 May 2022 In featuring a dwarven princess without her race's telltale beard, as well as the first latino actor to portray an elf — in keeping with studio guidelines that stipulate diversity quotas — Amazon sparked heavy debate within the Tolkien community. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 20 Apr. 2022 This year, rapper Kid Cudi, in his elf ears, actually took the stage with an appearance from his beautiful daughter,Vada, with both gleefully getting slimed. Essence, 11 Apr. 2022 Christina was dressed in a red elf costume, having come straight from the Grinch block party up in Daytona. Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker, 21 Mar. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of elf


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

History and Etymology for elf


Middle English, from Old English ælf; akin to Old Norse alfr elf & perhaps to Latin albus white — more at alb

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Time Traveler for elf

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

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Statistics for elf

Last Updated

9 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Elf.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elf. Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for elf


\ ˈelf How to pronounce elf (audio) \
plural elves\ ˈelvz \

Kids Definition of elf

: an often mischievous fairy

More from Merriam-Webster on elf

Nglish: Translation of elf for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of elf for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about elf


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