[ el-fin ]
/ ˈɛl fɪn /


of or like an elf.
small and charmingly spritely, merry, or mischievous.


an elf.

Nearby words

  1. elevon,
  2. elevsís,
  3. elf,
  4. elf owl,
  5. elf-cup,
  6. elfin forest,
  7. elfinwood,
  8. elfish,
  9. elfishly,
  10. elfland

Origin of elfin

1560–70; alteration of Middle English elven elf, Old English elfen, ælfen nymph, equivalent to ælf elf + -en feminine suffix (cognate with German -in); ælf cognate with German Alp nightmare, puck, Old Norse alfr elf

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for elfin

British Dictionary definitions for elfin


/ (ˈɛlfɪn) /


of, relating to, or like an elf or elves
small, delicate, and charming
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for elfin



1590s, from elf; first found in Spenser, who may have been thinking of elven but the word also is a proper name in the Arthurian romances (Elphin).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper