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


an elf.

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

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British Dictionary definitions for elfin



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