Synonyms for elves


Antonyms for elves

Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


The elves, and nixies and sprites, of all colors and many forms were on hand.

At his birth the elves and the fairies were summoned together.

He invoked the spirit of his mother; he brought together an assembly of elves and goblins.

Wild Robin was safe, and the elves had lost their power over him forever.

"Elves" they were called, and they were thought of as a cleanly and kindly race.

In Scotland there were at least two species of elves, the Brownies and the Fairies.

In English the words Fairies and elves are used without any distinction.

The holiday-time of elves, witches, and ghosts is Hallowe'en.

Even the elves were touched with compassion and tried to comfort him.

Gnarled cedars, hanging precariously, might hide pixies and elves.


"one of a race of powerful supernatural beings in Germanic folklore," Old English elf (Mercian, Kentish), ælf (Northumbrian), ylfe (plural, West Saxon), from Proto-Germanic *albiz (cf. Old Saxon alf, Old Norse alfr, German alp "evil spirit, goblin, incubus"), origin unknown, possibly from PIE *albho- "white." Used figuratively for "mischievous person" from 1550s.

In addition to elf/ælf (masc.), Old English had parallel form *elfen (fem.), the plural of which was *elfenna, -elfen, from Proto-Germanic *albinjo-. Both words survived into Middle English and were active there, the former as elf (with the vowel of the plural), plural elves, the latter as elven, West Midlands dialect alven (plural elvene).

The Germanic elf originally was dwarfish and malicious (cf. Old English ælfadl "nightmare," ælfsogoða "hiccup," thought to be caused by elves); in the Middle Ages they were confused to some degree with faeries; the more noble version begins with Spenser. Nonetheless 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.


little people

nouncommon people
Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.