American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A slim, graceful woman or girl.
- n. In the occult philosophy of Paracelsus, a being that has air as its element.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. An imaginary being inhabiting the air; an elemental spirit of the air, according to the system of Paracelsus, holding an intermediate place between material and immaterial beings. Sylphs are male and female, have many human characteristics, and are mortal, but have no soul. The term in ordinary language is used as feminine, and often applied figuratively to a young woman or girl of graceful and slender proportions.
- n. In ornithology, one of various humming-birds with long forficate tail: so called from their grace and beauty: as, the blue-tailed sylph, Cynanthus forficatus. See cut under sappho. Synonyms Elf, Fay, etc. See
- n. mythology An invisible being of the air
- n. The elemental being of air, usually female.
- n. A slender woman or girl, usually graceful and sometimes with the implication of sublime station over everyday people.
- n. A mainly dark green and blue hummingbird, the male of which has a long forked tail.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. An imaginary being inhabiting the air; a fairy.
- n. Fig.: A slender, graceful woman.
- n. (Zoöl.) Any one of several species of very brilliant South American humming birds, having a very long and deeply-forked tail.
- n. a slender graceful young woman
- n. an elemental being believed to inhabit the air
- First attested in 1657. From New Latin sylphes, coined by Paracelsus in the 16th century. The coinage may derive from sylva and nympha. (Wiktionary)
- New Latin sylpha, perhaps blend of Latin sylvestris, of the forest (from silva, sylva, forest) and Latin nympha, nymph; see nymph. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Your sylph is a delightful girl, but you must learn to be more light-hearted when you call on her.”
“A sylph is a fairy made of air who likes to play cruel tricks on little girls.”
“The sylph was a winner; and as her taper fingers, delicately gloved in pale-gray, were adjusting the coins which had been pushed toward her in order to pass them back again to the winning point, she looked round her with a survey too markedly cold and neutral not to have in it a little of that nature which we call art concealing an inward exultation.”
“But they don't call the sylph-like Ms. Middleton Weighty Katie,'' if you gather my drift.”
“_ -- Another butterfly, but belonging to a widely different group, is the "sylph" (_Hestia Jasonia_), called by the”
“sylph" (_Hestia Jasonia_), called by the Europeans by the various names of _Floater, Spectre, _ and _Silver-paper-fly_, as indicative of its graceful flight.”
“Up until the time Clayton arrived, Mother hovered about me like a magic sylph, fluttering her tiny wings, touching a strand of hair here, brushing out a crease there, straightening my necklace and checking to be sure my perfume was not too strong and not too weak.”
“For this past week I have read Mark of the Demon & Blood of the Demon by Diana Rowland, The Battle Sylph by LJ McDonald (trying very hard to find the shattered sylph) and Lion's Heat by Lora Leigh.”
“By the time her first album came out, in 1985, she'd been given a thorough makeover: the cover photo showed a sleek-haired, golden-skinned sylph wearing an elegantly-draped white gown.”
“Sent by Ben and his beloved sylph bride, Willow, to an exclusive girls 'prep school, headstrong (and half-magical) Mistaya Holiday has found life in the natural world a less than perfect fit.”
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