Dainty vs Elfin - What's the difference?

dainty | elfin |

As nouns the difference between dainty and elfin

is that dainty is (obsolete) esteem, honour while elfin is an elf; an inhabitant of fairy-land.

As adjectives the difference between dainty and elfin

is that dainty is (obsolete) excellent; valuable, fine while elfin is relating to or resembling an elf, especially in its tiny size or features.




  • (obsolete) Esteem, honour.
  • A delicacy.
  • * 1719 , (Daniel Defoe), (Robinson Crusoe)
  • my case was deplorable enough, yet I had great cause for thankfulness that I was not driven to any extremities for food, but had rather plenty, even to dainties .
  • * (William Cowper)
  • [A table] furnished plenteously with bread, / And dainties , remnants of the last regale.
  • (Canada, Prairies and northwestern Ontario) A fancy cookie, pastry, or square served at a social event (usually plural).
  • (obsolete)
  • (Ben Jonson)


  • (obsolete) Excellent; valuable, fine.
  • *, II.13:
  • Heliogabalus the most dissolute man of the world, amidst his most riotous sensualities, intended, whensoever occasion should force him to it, to have a daintie death.
  • Elegant; delicately small and pretty.
  • * Milton
  • Those dainty limbs which nature lent / For gentle usage and soft delicacy.
  • *
  • , title=(The Celebrity), chapter=1 , passage=However, with the dainty volume my quondam friend sprang into fame. At the same time he cast off the chrysalis of a commonplace existence.}}
  • Fastidious and fussy, especially when eating.
  • * Francis Bacon
  • They were a fine and dainty people.
  • * Shakespeare
  • And let us not be dainty of leave taking, / But shift away.


    * neat * petite





    Etymology 1

    From (etyl) elven, from (etyl) elfen, .


    (en noun)
  • An elf; an inhabitant of fairy-land.
  • A little urchin or child.
  • Etymology 2

    Partly from attributive use of Etymology 1, but reanalysed by Spenser as if equivalent to .


    (en adjective)
  • Relating to or resembling an elf, especially in its tiny size or features.
  • *
  • *:Three chairs of the steamer type, all maimed, comprised the furniture of this roof-garden, withon one of the copings a row of four red clay flower-pots filled with sun-baked dust from which gnarled and rusty stalks thrust themselves up like withered elfin limbs.
  • *{{quote-news, year=2012, date=May 24, author=Nathan Rabin, work=The Onion AV Club
  • , title= Film: Reviews: Men In Black 3 , passage=He’s forced to travel back to 1969 to prevent an evil alien (a shockingly effective, nearly unrecognizable Jemaine Clement of Flight Of The Conchords, playing sort of a psychotic extraterrestrial-biker serial killer) from destroying the world by killing Brolin. Smith is aided in his quest by an elfin , time-jumping alien with psychic powers played by another Coen brothers veteran, A Serious Man star Michael Stuhlbarg. }}
    * elvish