late Old English, from Old Norse elgr or from an alteration of Old English elh, eolh (perhaps via French scribes), or possibly from Middle High German elch (OED's suggestion), all from Proto-Germanic *elkh- (cf. Old High German elaho),
The Germanic words are related to the general word for "deer" in Balto-Slavic (cf. Russian losu, Czech los; also cf. eland), from PIE *olki-, perhaps with reference to the reddish color from root *el- (2) "red, brown" (in animal and tree names); cf. Sanskrit harina- "deer," from hari- "reddish-brown." Greek alke and Latin alces probably are Germanic loan-words. Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks founded N.Y.C. 1868, originally a society of actors and writers.
A conventional person; square: kill themselves later with laughter over the amount of money the Elks spent
[1950s+ Beat talk; fr a scornful judgment of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks]