noun, plural elves [elvz] /ɛlvz/.
- eleventh chord,
- eleventh cranial nerve,
- eleventh hour,
- elf owl,
- elfin forest,
Origin of elf
Examples from the Web for elf
The friends were even given military call names - Elf, Bay and Airplane.Bitter Survivors and Caravans of Coffins from Ukraine’s “Eastern Boiler”|Anna Nemtsova|September 14, 2014|DAILY BEAST
I knew right then: Elf is the ultimate light-hearted Christmas movie.
Elf is pegged as a Christmas movie, but it hardly feels religious.
He had customized his new gun by etching in the words “better off this way” and “my ELF weapon.”Inside the Washington Navy Yard’s Building 197 During Alexis’s Rampage|Michael Daly|September 19, 2013|DAILY BEAST
Elvis (n.): A Christmas elf, as misinterpreted by Alana, who in one episode mistakes, “Elvis helps Santa Claus make toys.”
The elf was looking at me with a mixture of surprise and pity.Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom|Cory Doctorow
There a man had by the ordinary device obtained an elf as a wife; and she bore him a child.The Science of Fairy Tales|Edwin Sidney Hartland
Daylight found Vera tossing and turning, while Elf was dreaming.Dorothy Dainty at Glenmore|Amy Brooks
Really, you know it is the Imp and the Elf who are writing this book.The Child's Book of the Seasons|Arthur Ransome
The affrighted Elf sobbed bitterly, as the greedy saw began with iron tooth to devour the foundations of her dwelling.Translations from the German (Vol 3 of 3)|Thomas Carlyle
noun plural elves (ɛlvz)
Word Origin for elf
"one of a race of powerful supernatural beings in Germanic folklore," Old English elf (Mercian, Kentish), ælf (Northumbrian), ylfe (plural, West Saxon), from Proto-Germanic *albiz (cf. Old Saxon alf, Old Norse alfr, German alp "evil spirit, goblin, incubus"), origin unknown, possibly from PIE *albho- "white." Used figuratively for "mischievous person" from 1550s.
In addition to elf/ælf (masc.), Old English had parallel form *elfen (fem.), the plural of which was *elfenna, -elfen, from Proto-Germanic *albinjo-. Both words survived into Middle English and were active there, the former as elf (with the vowel of the plural), plural elves, the latter as elven, West Midlands dialect alven (plural elvene).
The Germanic elf originally was dwarfish and malicious (cf. Old English ælfadl "nightmare," ælfsogoða "hiccup," thought to be caused by elves); in the Middle Ages they were confused to some degree with faeries; the more noble version begins with Spenser. Nonetheless a popular component in Anglo-Saxon names, many of which survive as modern given names and surnames, cf. Ælfræd "Elf-counsel" (Alfred), Ælfwine "Elf-friend" (Alvin), Ælfric "Elf-ruler" (Eldridge), also women's names such as Ælfflæd "Elf-beauty." Elf Lock hair tangled, especially by Queen Mab, "which it was not fortunate to disentangle" [according to Robert Nares' glossary of Shakespeare] is from 1592.