Definition of elfin in English:

elfin

adjective

  • 1(of a person or their face) small and delicate, typically with a mischievous charm.

    ‘her black hair suited her elfin face’
    • ‘Vanessa sits cross-legged on her bed in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, a tiny, elfin figure with a striking, delicate face that looks as if it has been gently chiselled from creamy alabaster.’
    • ‘In another one of Random Acts's monologues, a petite, elfin woman in a peach sweater squares herself off at the confessor's table, and begins to talk with a slight southern lilt.’
    • ‘The tiny, elfin figure that is Canada's most lauded novelist is sipping cappuccino from a china cup in an opulent hotel lounge.’
    • ‘‘I was beautiful before,’ she says, touching a pretty, elfin face miraculously unscathed by the blaze that engulfed her body last summer.’
    • ‘‘It has a nice vibe’ I say to her as we walk to the house, her smile broadening, her long brown hair framing her pale, elfin face.’
    • ‘She is lovely, jet black long hair, elfin face, pale white skin and a great figure.’
    • ‘After the signing, at the pub next door, I sat next to a dark, vaguely elfin gentleman named Colin Greenland who seemed to know a lot about the field and who, when I mentioned that I had written a handful of stories, asked to see them.’
    • ‘Mostly they're cartoons of fairies that share Bobbie's slim elfin face, cupid's bow lips and wide-set, almond-shaped eyes.’
    • ‘Dark shading created sharp cheekbones of elfin faces, softer blending produced squashier, round ones.’
    • ‘One of them was tall, with a dark power surrounding him like an aura with long, raven hair pulled back from an angelic, elfin face.’
    • ‘She was beautiful in an unconventional way, triangular elfin face with big, expressive eyes and a lithe body.’
    • ‘Her curling red hair stilled itself around her shoulders, framing her pale, elfin face.’
    • ‘She had a tiny elfin face, and huge green eyes with flecks of brown.’
    • ‘The introduction - oddly named as it contains many major spoilers - is a welcome chance to hear the effervescent, elfin man discuss his themes and modifications to Gorky's work.’
    • ‘It was a sharp contrast between the two champions: the tall, handsome, adult human male and the much shorter, cute, little elfin girl.’
    • ‘Saddle Creek's that Omaha-centric label run by that elfin fellow with the bright eyes.’
    • ‘Behind me, the door had burst open, and another tall and handsome elfin boy, of about the same age was standing in the doorway, gaping at me.’
    • ‘The dress wasn't low cut, but in truth she didn't have a lot of cleavage to reveal, her figure being quite elfin.’
    • ‘If only she had more to do than play the pixie: we get awfully familiar with the tilted-down, shot-from-above disposition of her elfin face because not much else goes on with her.’
    • ‘In the end, the tale of an elfin waitress who spreads happiness among her unwitting friends and neighbours grossed £90m.’
    elflike, elfish, elvish, pixie-like
    View synonyms
  • 2Relating to elves.

    ‘an enchanted world of fairies in elfin glades’
    • ‘Well, I bring you a cautionary tale from the elfin handbook.’
    • ‘Still, she is relaxed, her elfin features creased in a permanent smile.’
    • ‘The elfin courses went to great lengths to outdo their competitors.’
    • ‘It only lies in the heart of elfin land!’
    • ‘At the end these figures are succeeded by silence, at the beginning they're interrupted by elfin voices.’
    • ‘Apparently, regular Puffs doesn't come with special elfin magic like the other two do.’
    • ‘He pointed to an elfin house, a purple shell that looked like a vertical sand dollar.’
    • ‘Albion sometimes cursed the elfin blood that made him permanently obediant to the evil Obsidian.’
    • ‘I can understand the language since birth, and I know the elfin ways.’
    • ‘The card itself was beautiful and came with an elfin poem inside, the painting of Galadriel is by Josephine Wall.’
    • ‘It rises like a green baroque elfin city.’
    • ‘Makino's singing highlight may appear on "Magic Mountain," where her sweet, elfin melodies tell a tale of time on a mountain, stricken with loneliness.’
    • ‘If any thing indicated the passing of time it was the rhythm of elfin horns blowing upon the heights.’
    • ‘All those years spent partying too long and too hard have not taken their toll on her elfin beauty.’
    • ‘The other was not of the same delicate blood as the elfin horses.’
    • ‘She has the elfin air of a creature from the romances of chivalry.’
    • ‘While they employ neither the soaring grandeur of Sigur Rós nor the elfin idiosyncrasy of Björk, the music of the Múm quartet is unequivocally Icelandic.’
    • ‘It was no longer there but it was replaced with a sun of elfin crafting.’
    • ‘Our readers may also recall that he has never been one to work a lot of elfin magic with the art of the Direct Statement in the first place.’
    • ‘A Midsummer Night's Dream will transport you to an enchanted world of fairies in elfin glades, love and romance in rural Tuscany.’

noun

  • 1archaic An elf.

    • ‘And Yarthe was empty, but for the elfin, and the elfin quite naturally took it for theirs.’
    • ‘His clan was that of no other, contrary to the beliefs of all other races, Masheleec Urik conceived that the Duroug elfins were a striking image of some god, whose obligation it was to drive all other races to the brink of utter destruction.’
    • ‘A combative elfin gets a mission to snaffle a magic book in the country of Moria.’
    • ‘A small shudder ran through the elfin's body, and she turned her face away from him.’
  • 2A small North American butterfly that is typically brownish with markings on the wing margins that give the impression of scalloped edges.

    Genus Incisalia, family Lycaenidae

Origin

Late 16th century from elf, probably suggested by Middle English elvene ‘of elves’, and by Elphin, the name of a character in Arthurian romance.

Pronunciation

elfin

/ˈɛlfɪn/