• The elf-maiden is left behind with the young man
    The elf-maiden is left behind with the young man
  • WordNet 3.6
    • n ELF below 3 kilohertz
    • n elf (folklore) fairies that are somewhat mischievous
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The smallest of American owls, the elf owl, often nests in the Gila woodpecker’s cactus hole after the woodpecker leaves. The owl measures barely 6 inches tall. It specializes in catching scorpions, seizing each by the tail and nipping off its stinger. It then swallows the scorpion’s body, pincers and all.
    • Elf A very diminutive person; a dwarf.
    • Elf An imaginary supernatural being, commonly a little sprite, much like a fairy; a mythological diminutive spirit, supposed to haunt hills and wild places, and generally represented as delighting in mischievous tricks. "Every elf , and fairy sprite,
      Hop as light as bird from brier."
    • v. t Elf To entangle mischievously, as an elf might do. "Elf all my hair in knots."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n elf An imaginary being superstitiously supposed to inhabit unfrequented places, and in various ways to affect mankind; a sprite; a fairy; a goblin. Elves are usually imagined as diminutive tricksy beings in human form, given to capricious interference, either kindly or mischievous, in human affairs.
    • n elf A mischievous or wicked person; a knave; a rogue.
    • n elf A diminutive person; a dwarf; hence, a pet name for a child, especially one who is very sprightly and graceful. Synonyms Sprite, hobgoblin, imp.
    • elf To entangle intricately, as the hair.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Elf elf in European folklore, a supernatural being, generally of human form but diminutive size, more malignant than a fairy: a dwarf: a tricky being
    • v.t Elf (Shak.) of the hair, to entangle
    • n Elf a little elf: a child
    • ***


  • Emily Dickinson
    “Drab Habitation of Whom? Tabernacle or Tomb -- or Dome of Worm -- or Porch of Gnome -- or some Elf's Catacomb?”
  • Cyril Tourneur
    Cyril Tourneur
    “Joy is a subtle elf; I think one's happiest when he forgets himself.”
  • Matt Groening
    Matt Groening
    “Love is a perky elf dancing a merry little jig and then suddenly he turns on you with a miniature machine gun.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
AS. ælf, ylf,; akin to MHG. alp, G. alp, nightmare, incubus, Icel. ālfr, elf, Sw. alf, elfva,; cf. Skr. ṛbhu, skillful, artful, rabh, to grasp. Cf. Auf Oaf


In literature:

But there was a rustle back of him and a black-eyed elf, little more than a child, was standing close, shaking the sand from her hair.
"The Treasure Trail" by Marah Ellis Ryan
And the high-tech security elf alarm rang.
"FreeChildrenStories.com Collection" by Daniel Errico
Smiling, to win the notice of their elf?
"Blackwoods Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 59, No. 365, March, 1846" by Various
At that time, at eighteen, drawing near the confines of illusive, void dreams, Elf-land lies behind us, the shores of Reality rise in front.
"Shirley" by Charlotte Brontë
The trees therein are said to have been trees by day, but the soldiers of the elf king by night.
"A Danish Parsonage" by John Fulford Vicary
Not that my fairy elf is a fair-weather friend.
"An Ocean Tramp" by William McFee
The predatory elf at once turned round and tore out the eye that had marked his act.
"Legends & Romances of Brittany" by Lewis Spence
To my great annoyance, the Chief Gardener Elf had gone to South America for seeds.
"The Princess Idleways" by Mrs. W. J. Hayes
My Elf's only about inch taller than me.
"Coquette" by Frank Swinnerton
Within the wood are fairy and elf, goblin and gnome, half seen in the filmy light.
"Old Plymouth Trails" by Winthrop Packard

In poetry:

The fury of my foes makes me
Fast to my peaceful refuge flee;
And ev'ry persecuting elf
Does make me understand myself.
"The Believer's Riddle; or, the Mystery of Faith" by Ralph Erskine
Blue-eyed was Elf the minstrel,
With womanish hair and ring,
Yet heavy was his hand on sword,
Though light upon the string.
"The Song of Elf" by Gilbert Keith Chesterton
A MAN would prefer a true woman on earth,
To all the bright angels in heaven--
Silly elf!--
To all the bright angels in heaven!
"Grounds For Divorce." by George Pope Morris
A speckled trout. The spotted elf,
Whom I had come so far to see,
Stretched out above a rocky shelf,
A shadow sleeping mockingly.
"The Speckled Trout" by Madison Julius Cawein
At the altar you took me for better or worse:
Am I worse than you took me for--say,
Silly elf?--
Am I worse than you took me for, say?
"Grounds For Divorce." by George Pope Morris
The grey Elf shudders from heaven’s flame
And from all things glad and pure;
Only by pleasure and passion and pain
His drama can endure.
"A God's Labour" by Aurobindo Ghose

In news:

This week, Washington Redskins fans are sitting by the fireplace or gazing out their windows, waiting for that jolly old elf — no, not Santa, Mike Shanahan (Shanta?
It seems that the good people entrusted with the education of the children of the East Syracuse-Minoa School District have decided that the students shouldn't have any exposure to the jolly old elf during the school day.
One of our fave celebs tweeted a pic of these fantastic Elf nails.
Carol Aebersold, author of 'Elf on the Shelf,' to appear at Ruth's Hallmark at The Court of Deptford.
'Elf on the Shelf' comes with a hard-cover book, pixie scout elf and keepsake box.
Where is your "Elf On The Shelf" hiding .
Hindsight — 1970: Thank you falentinme be mice elf agin.
The actress was surprised to discover Galadriel would be making a re-appearance in Jackson's The Lord of the Rings prequel The Hobbit : An Unexpected Journey as the elf does not feature in the classic children's book.
In elf ears and wizard hats, ' Hobbit ' fans rejoice.
'Elf' returns to Broadway with all its charm intact .
Leavel, Jacoby back in 'Elf'.
Beth Leavel and Mark Jacoby are among the thesps who will appear in the upcoming Broadway run of "Elf," reprising parts they played in the title's initial Rialto outing in 2010.
Mason & Remy's Elf on the Shelf.
Seinfeld's Wayne Knight stays jolly in 'Elf'.
A visit backstage at "Elf," the popular Broadway musical, finds Santa in a festive mood -- he's decorating a Christmas tree.

In science:

ELF has been found to be extremely useful for elucidating the bonding characteristics of a variety of systems .
Magic Melters' Have Geometrical Origin
ELF partitions the molecular space into regions or basins of localized electron pairs or attractors.
Magic Melters' Have Geometrical Origin
At very low values of the ELF all the basins are connected.
Magic Melters' Have Geometrical Origin
As the value of the ELF is increased, the basins begin to split and finally we will have as many basins as the number of atoms.
Magic Melters' Have Geometrical Origin
The value of the ELF at which the basins split is a measure of the strength of interaction between the different atoms.
Magic Melters' Have Geometrical Origin