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elf

Overview

This page has 23 definitions of elf with English translations in 12 languages. Elf is a noun, verb and numeral. Also define these 30 related words and terms: Norse, mythology, spirit, Álfheim, Elfland, angel, nymph, fairy, race, mythical, supernatural, being, human being, magic, spellcraft, clashing, dwarves, fantasy, álfar, dwarf, bluefish, Pomatomus saltatrix, twist, elflock, mat, eleven, brownie, elf, thousand, and shade.

See also: Elf and ELF

English

An elf drawn by Piedachu Peris

Alternative forms

Etymology

From Middle English elf, from Old English ielf, ælf, from Proto-West Germanic *albi, from Proto-Germanic *albiz. Ultimately probably derived from Proto-Indo-European *h₂elbʰós (white). Doublet of oaf.

Pronunciation

Noun

elf (plural elves)

  1. (Norse mythology) A luminous spirit presiding over nature and fertility and dwelling in the world of Álfheim (Elfland). Compare angel, nymph, fairy.
    • Spirit definition
      The soul of a person or other creature. What moves through experience into self-definition as souls purpose. (1 of 15 spirit definitions)
    • Álfheim definition
      the home of the Ljósálfar (light elves, álfar, divine beings), located up in the sky. (1 of 3 Álfheim definitions)
    • Elfland definition
      The land of the elves. Home of the elves.
    • Angel definition
      An incorporeal and sometimes divine messenger from a deity, or other divine entity, often depicted in art as a youthful winged figure in flowing robes. (1 of 10 angel definitions)
  2. Any from a race of mythical, supernatural beings resembling but seen as distinct from human beings. They are usually delicate-featured and skilled in magic or spellcrafting; sometimes depicted as clashing with dwarves, especially in modern fantasy literature.
    • 1886, Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, H.L. Brækstad, transl., Folk and Fairy Tales, page 281:
      All the fairy tales of my childhood were conjured up before my startled imagination, and appeared to be realised in the forms which surrounded me; I saw the whole forest filled with trolls, elves, and sporting dwarfs.
    • Supernatural definition
      Above nature; beyond or added to nature, often so considered because it is given by a deity or some force beyond that which humans are born with. (1 of 2 supernatural definitions)
  3. (fantasy) Any of the magical, typically forest-guarding races bearing some similarities to the Norse álfar (through Tolkien's Eldar).
    • Álfar definition
      indefinite nominative plural of álfur
  4. A very diminutive person; a dwarf.
  5. (South Africa) The bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix).

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for elf in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)

Synonyms

  • (supernatural creature): See goblin (hostile); fairy (small, mischievous)

Hyponyms

Derived terms

Related terms

Descendants

  • Arabic: إِلْف(ʾilf)
  • Dutch: elf
  • German: Elf, Elfe
  • Japanese: エルフ (erufu)
  • Korean: 엘프 (elpeu)

Translations

Verb

elf (third-person singular simple present elfs, present participle elfing, simple past and past participle elfed)

  1. (now rare) To twist into elflocks (of hair); to mat.
    • c. 1605, William Shakespeare, King Lear
      My face I'll grime with filth, blanket my loins, elf all my hairs in knots, and with presented nakedness outface the winds and persecutions of the sky.

See also

References

  • Marshall Jones Company (1930). Mythology of All Races Series, Volume 2 Eddic, Great Britain: Marshall Jones Company, 1930, pp. 220-221.

Anagrams


Afrikaans

Afrikaans cardinal numbers
 <  10 11 12  > 
    Cardinal : elf
    Ordinal : elfde

Etymology

From Dutch elf, from Middle Dutch ellef, elf, from Old Dutch *ellef, from Proto-Germanic *ainalif.

Pronunciation

Numeral

elf

  1. eleven
    • Eleven definition
      The cardinal number occurring after ten and before twelve. Represented as 11 in Arabic digits.

Catalan

Noun

elf m (plural elfs)

  1. elf

Czech

Pronunciation

Noun

elf m

  1. elf

Declension

Derived terms

Further reading

  • elf in Příruční slovník jazyka českého, 1935–1957
  • elf in Slovník spisovného jazyka českého, 1960–1971, 1989

Dutch

Pronunciation

Etymology 1

From Middle Dutch ellef, elf, from Old Dutch *ellef, from Proto-Germanic *ainalif, a compound of *ainaz and *-lif. Compare German elf, West Frisian alve, English eleven, Danish elleve.

Numeral

Dutch numbers (edit)
 ←  10 11 12  → 
    Cardinal: elf
    Ordinal: elfde

elf

  1. eleven

Noun

elf f (plural elven, diminutive elfje n)

  1. The number eleven, or a representation thereof.
Descendants
  • Afrikaans: elf
  • Berbice Creole Dutch: alfu, elfu
  • Jersey Dutch: ālf
  • Negerhollands: elf, elef
  • Skepi Creole Dutch: elk

Etymology 2

Borrowed from German Elf, itself borrowed from English elf, from Old English ælf, from Proto-West Germanic *albi, from Proto-Germanic *albiz. Displaced native alf, from the same Germanic source.

Noun

elf m (plural elfen or elven, diminutive elfje n, feminine elve or elfin)

  1. elf, brownie (small folkloric creature)
  2. (fantasy) elf (humanoid pointy-eared creature in fantasy)
Synonyms
  • (mythical being): alf
Derived terms
Descendants

Anagrams


Dutch Low Saxon

Etymology

From Low German, from Middle Low German elvene, from Old Saxon ellevan. Related to German elf.

Numeral

elf

  1. eleven (11)

German

German cardinal numbers
 <  10 11 12  > 
    Cardinal : elf
    Ordinal : elfte

Alternative forms

  • eilf, eilff, eylff (dated/obsolete)

Etymology

From Middle High German einlif, eilef, elf, from Old High German einlif, from Proto-Germanic *ainalif, a compound of *ainaz and *-lif. Compare Dutch elf, West Frisian alve, English eleven, Danish elleve.

Pronunciation

Numeral

elf

  1. eleven

Coordinate terms

Derived terms

Further reading

  • elf” in Duden online

German Low German

Alternative forms

Etymology

From Middle Low German elvene, from Old Saxon ellevan.

Numeral

elf

  1. eleven

Maltese

Maltese numbers (edit)
10000
1,000
100
    Cardinal: elf

Etymology

From Arabic أَلْف(ʾalf).

Pronunciation

Numeral

elf m or f (dual elfejn, plural eluf or elufijiet, paucal elef)

  1. thousand
    • Thousand definition
      Code word for combinations of thousand (that is, the digits 000 or the thousands spacer) in the NATO/ICAO spelling alphabet

Middle English

Alternative forms

Etymology

From Old English elf, Anglian form of ælf, from Proto-West Germanic *albi, from Proto-Germanic *albiz, from Proto-Indo-European *h₂elbʰós (white).

Pronunciation

Noun

elf (plural elves)

  1. elf, fairy
    • c. 1450, Wars of Alexander[1], Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse, passus 24, line 5258:
      Scho was so faire & so fresche · as faucon hire semed, / An elfe out of an-othire erde · or ellis an Aungell
      She was so fair and beautiful; her elegance seemed like / An elf out of another world, or else an angel.
    • c. 1450, “The Second Shepherds' Play”, in The Towneley Plays[2], Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse, line 616:
      he was takyn with an elfe / I saw it myself / when the clok stroke twelf / was he forshapyn
      He was taken by an elf; I saw it myself. / When the clock struck twelve, he was transfigured.
  2. spirit, shade

Related terms

Descendants

  • English: elf (see there for further descendants)
  • Scots: elf
  • Yola: elf

References


Pennsylvania German

Pennsylvania German cardinal numbers
 <  10 11 12  > 
    Cardinal : elf
    Ordinal : elft

Pronunciation

Etymology

From Rhine Franconian, from Old High German einlif. Compare German elf, Dutch elf, English eleven.

Numeral

elf

  1. eleven

Polish

Etymology

From German Elf.

Pronunciation

Noun

elf m anim

  1. elf (mythical or fantasy creature)

Declension

Usage notes

The plural for the Tolkien creatures is usually elfowie.

Derived terms

Further reading

  • elf in Wielki słownik języka polskiego, Instytut Języka Polskiego PAN
  • elf in Polish dictionaries at PWN

Romanian

Etymology

From French elfe.

Noun

elf m (plural elfi)

  1. elf

Declension


Yola

Etymology

From Middle English elf, from Old English ielf, from Proto-West Germanic *albi.

Noun

elf (plural elvès)

  1. fairy

References

  • Jacob Poole (1867), William Barnes, editor, A glossary, with some pieces of verse, of the old dialect of the English colony in the baronies of Forth and Bargy, County of Wexford, Ireland, J. Russell Smith, →ISBN