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sylph Line breaks: sylph

Definition of sylph in English:


1An imaginary spirit of the air.
Example sentences
  • The plots of many ballets were dominated by spirit women - sylphs, wilis, and ghosts - who enslaved the hearts and senses of mortal men and made it impossible for them to live happily in the real world.
  • They are but one of the many hidden groups that still cling to the ancient ways of pure magic; that is, they are among one of many groups (which include elves, sylphs, sprites, fairies, etc.) that took part in inventing magic.
  • If the encounters between scholars and sylphs, poets and naiads record the possibility of connection between two sentient beings, Badri also records the possibility of connection between the individual and the universe.
1.1A slender woman or girl: an oh-so-slim sylph dressed in a black leotard
More example sentences
  • As I gaze at this slender sylph in front of me, the absurdity of her paranoia gets me thinking that women so often suffer from a distorted view of themselves.
  • Over the years she has put on about 130 pounds but still dresses as if she were a sylph.
  • On the streets of Tokyo, slim-hipped sylphs favour stiletto-heeled Prada sandals, demure Agnes B pencil skirts, a Hermes jacket and a Louis Vuitton handbag.
2A mainly dark green and blue hummingbird, the male of which has a long forked tail.
  • Genus Aglaiocercus (and Neolesbia), family Trochilidae: three species
Example sentences
  • Flowerbeds where bees vie with hummingbirds for honey offer unmatched opportunity to observe sylphs.
  • In the Otonga area, during this study, the violet tailed sylphs and speckled hummingbirds were observed as those with the largest diet range.
  • The Long-tailed Sylph occurs in highlands of northwestern South America from Venezuela to Bolivia.


Mid 17th century: from modern Latin sylphes, sylphi and the German plural Sylphen, perhaps based on Latin sylvestris 'of the woods' + nympha 'nymph'.

  • savage from Middle English:

    According to the origin of the name, savages live in woods. Savage derives from Latin silva ‘a wood’, the source also of the literary word sylvan (mid 16th century), and perhaps of sylph (mid 17th century), an imaginary spirit of the air. The overtones of savage are usually negative, suggesting violence and cruelty, but in the later 18th century the French writer and philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau ( 1712–78) conceived the idea of the noble savage, an idealized being without the corrupting influence of civilization, showing the natural goodness of humankind.

Words that rhyme with sylph

mantelshelf • bookshelf

Definition of sylph in:

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Word of the day fortissimo
Pronunciation: fôrˈtisəˌmō
(especially as a direction) very loud or loudly