elf

Elf \Elf\ ([e^]lf), n.; pl. {Elves} ([e^]lvz). [AS. [ae]lf, ylf; akin to MHG. alp, G. alp nightmare, incubus, Icel. [=a]lfr elf, Sw. alf, elfva; cf. Skr. [.r]bhu skillful, artful, rabh to grasp. Cf. {Auf}, {Oaf}.] 1. 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. [1913 Webster] Every elf, and fairy sprite, Hop as light as bird from brier. --Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. A very diminutive person; a dwarf. [1913 Webster] {Elf arrow}, a flint arrowhead; -- so called by the English rural folk who often find these objects of prehistoric make in the fields and formerly attributed them to fairies; -- called also {elf bolt}, {elf dart}, and {elf shot}. {Elf child}, a child supposed to be left by elves, in room of one they had stolen. See {Changeling}. {Elf fire}, the ignis fatuus. --Brewer. {Elf owl} (Zo["o]l.), a small owl ({Micrathene Whitneyi}) of Southern California and Arizona. [1913 Webster]