elf

Definitions

General English

Slang

  • noun an unpleasant and/or obnoxious person. In playground usage since 2000.

Business

  • acronym forequivalent labor factor
    (written as ELF)

Electronics

  • acronym forextremely low frequency
    (written as ELF)

Origin & History of “elf”

In Germanic legend, elves were potent supernatural beings, capable of exercising considerable magic powers to the benefit or harm of human beings. Their decline to their modern status as small mischievous sprites seems to have begun in the 16th century. The word comes from a prehistoric Germanic *albiz, a variant of which produced Old Norse álfr (source of English oaf (17th c.)) and German alp ‘nightmare’.
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