sylph

[ silf ]
/ sɪlf /

noun

a slender, graceful woman or girl.
(in folklore) one of a race of supernatural beings supposed to inhabit the air.

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Origin of sylph

1650–60; from New Latin sylphēs (plural), coined by Paracelsus; apparently blend of sylva (variant spelling of Latin silva “forest”) and Greek nýmphē nymph

synonym study for sylph

2. Sylph, salamander, undine ( nymph ), gnome were imaginary beings inhabiting the four elements once believed to make up the physical world. All except the gnomes were female. Sylphs dwelt in the air and were light, dainty, and airy beings. Salamanders dwelt in fire: “a salamander that … lives in the midst of flames” (Addison). Undines were water spirits: By marrying a man, an undine could acquire a mortal soul. (They were also called nymphs, though nymphs were ordinarily minor divinities of nature who dwelt in woods, hills, and meadows as well as in waters.) Gnomes were little old men or dwarfs, dwelling in the earth: ugly enough to be king of the gnomes.

OTHER WORDS FROM sylph

sylphic, adjectivesylphlike, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for sylph

British Dictionary definitions for sylph

sylph
/ (sɪlf) /

noun

a slender graceful girl or young woman
any of a class of imaginary beings assumed to inhabit the air

Derived forms of sylph

sylphlike, rare sylphic, sylphish or sylphy, adjective

Word Origin for sylph

C17: from New Latin sylphus, probably coined from Latin silva wood + Greek numphē nymph
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