American Dictionary of the English Language

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ELF, noun plural elves.

1. A wandering spirit; a fairy; a hobgoblin; an imaginary being which our rude ancestors supposed to inhabit unfrequented places, and in various ways to affect mankind. Hence in Scottish, elf-shot is an elf-arrow; an arrow-head of flint, supposed to be shot by elfs; and it signifies also a disease supposed to be produced by the agency of spirits.

Every elf and fairy sprite,

Hope as light as bird from brier.

2. An evil spirit; a devil.

3. A diminutive person.

ELF, verb transitive To entangle hair in so intricate a manner, that it cannot be disentangled. This work was formerly ascribed to elves.