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Postby Dr. Goodword » Sun Dec 22, 2013 12:05 pm

• elf •

Pronunciation: elf • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: A mythological fairy looking like a small person with pointy ears and a reputation for making mischief. We should not confuse elves with leprechauns and envision them in green suits like Will Ferrell in the movie Elf.

Notes: Much too rarely do we meet a word in English that is spelled exactly as it is pronounced. Today's Good Word is among those rarities. Remember, more than one elf are elves, though someone like an elf is elfish who may behave elfishly. Elvish is a language invented by J. R. R. Tolkien for his imaginative novels, such as Lord of the Rings. There is no evidence supporting the claim that elves actually spoke this language.

In Play: Although mythical, elves come in very handy, especially to children: "No, mommy, it wasn't me. A mischievous little elf came into my bedroom while I was asleep and spilled the milk on the floor." Today, North Americans more and more think in terms of elves making toys for Santa Claus: "Daddy, why do elves make toys that run on batteries but don't put batteries in them?"

Word History: We find root alb- "white" in Latin words like albino and albumin (egg white). It became elf in English, but in Old Norse it turned into alfr "elf", which English borrowed during one of the Norsemen's uninvited visits in the Middle Ages. English also converted it to oaf. The plural, elves, was sometimes spelled elvis in the past, a word adopted by his parents for the name of that large singing and gyrating elf, Elvis Presley.
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Re: Elf

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun Dec 22, 2013 12:20 pm

...and all too often confused not only with leprechauns, but
also gremlins, pixies and their ilk.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Re: Elf

Postby MTC » Sun Dec 22, 2013 8:48 pm

Inside the blimp
A little imp.
Inside myself
A tiny elf.
And inside you
Is there one too?

Apocrypha of MTC
(The Children's Hour)
Last edited by MTC on Sun Dec 22, 2013 10:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Elf

Postby damoge » Sun Dec 22, 2013 10:42 pm

Elf is elf in english, but elf in dutch is pronounced elef and means eleven...
there are lots of words with hidden vowels in them in dutch. Knight, for example.

MTC, love your poesy.
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Re: Elf

Postby Philip Hudson » Sun Dec 22, 2013 10:47 pm

Amongst the little people, gremlins are some of the most recently discovered. They first appeared to aircraft mechanics in WW II. They were the ones who gummed up the works on airplanes. They were so popular the US Army Air Corps published aircraft maintenance manuals with cartoon gremlins running all about the airplanes. My uncle was crew chief of a "Flying Fortress". I don't know what became of those manuals. I had them at one time. Perhaps a gremlin took them.

More recently, J. R. R. Tolkien created and redefined all manner of little people.

It seems little people have always been around. They are easy to blame for what is one's own fault. I have a mild form of mental block to my optical senses. I literally (yes I literally mean literally) cannot see some things that are in plain view. If I cannot find a pen that I know is on my desk, I place another pen on the desk and the lost one reappears. I blame elves --- or communists.
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Re: Elf

Postby LukeJavan8 » Mon Dec 23, 2013 1:33 pm

except Tolkien's elves are far from little people.
The battalion that arrives at Helm's Deep are
tall and fearsome, though that scene is not in
the book. Yet Legolas, Galadriel and Cereborn
are not small. One of the criticisms of the early
movie was that the balcony bannister at waist level for the
hobbits would have been knee high to the elves,
a mistake in Jackson's rendition.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Re: Elf

Postby misterdoe » Mon Dec 23, 2013 4:26 pm

Every time I see the word elvish I think of Sean Connery saying "Elvish Preshley" :). Interesting that there really could be a connection. :?
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