elf

elf

[elf]
noun, plural elves [elvz] .
1.
(in folklore) one of a class of preternatural beings, especially from mountainous regions, with magical powers, given to capricious and often mischievous interference in human affairs, and usually imagined to be a diminutive being in human form; sprite; fairy.
2.
a diminutive person, especially a child.
3.
a mischievous person, especially a child.

Origin:
before 1000; Middle English, back formation from elven, Old English elfen nymph (i.e., female elf), variant of ælfen; see elfin

elflike, adjective


1. See fairy.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
elf (ɛlf)
 
n , pl elves
1.  (in folklore) one of a kind of legendary beings, usually characterized as small, manlike, and mischievous
2.  a mischievous or whimsical child
 
[Old English ælf; related to Old Norse elfr elf, Middle Low German alf incubus, Latin albus white]
 
'elflike
 
adj

ELF
 
abbreviation for
extremely low frequency

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

elf
"race of powerful supernatural beings in Gmc. folklore," O.E. elf, ælf, from P.Gmc. *albiz, origin unknown, possibly from PIE *albho- "white." 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.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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FOLDOC
Computing Dictionary

ELF definition


Binary format used by System V Release 4 Unix.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
ELF
extremely low frequency
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

elf

in Germanic folklore, originally, a spirit of any kind, later specialized into a diminutive creature, usually in tiny human form. In the Prose, or Younger, Edda, elves were classified as light elves (who were fair) and dark elves (who were darker than pitch); these classifications are roughly equivalent to the Scottish seelie court and unseelie court. The notable characteristics of elves were mischief and volatility. They were believed at various times and in various regions to cause diseases in humans and cattle, to sit upon the breast of a sleeper and give him bad dreams (the German word for nightmare is Alpdrucken, or "elf-pressure"), and to steal human children and substitute changelings (deformed or weak elf or fairy children). In the British Isles, flint implements called elf-bolts, elf-arrows, or elf-shot (which are now known to be prehistoric tools used by the aboriginal Irish and the early Scots) were believed to be the weapons with which elves injured cattle. Elves occasionally also were benevolent and helpful. The second edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica, which was published in 1777-84, calls the word elf obsolete but reports that belief in such creatures "still subsists in many parts of our own country. . . In the Highlands of Scotland, new-born children are watched till the christening is over, lest they should be stolen or changed by some of these phantastical existences." In time, elves came to be indistinct from fairies, though both older classics-such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's poem "Der Erlkonig" ("The Elf King")-and such modern classics as J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings (1954-55) still treat elves as a distinct type.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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