The etymology of “belf”.

Back when I played World of Warcraft I used to keep a blog for my adorable gnome warlock. Every Saturday I share another of her adventures here. The following was originally posted April 16, 2007

Crystalis, the lovable warlock

The etymology of “belf”.

In exchange for picking the topic of his blog post yesterday, I’ve allowed that grumpiest of paladins to select mine today in what looks to be a rather interesting series of reader suggested entries.

So, let us speak today on “belfs.”

First off, the term “belf” is lazy in addition to racist and offensive. The term dates back to an underground newsrag called “Purity of the Mountain” which circulated around Ironforge for a time back when Gnomeregan refugees were piling in. (I’m using the term “underground” here to mean “independantly published”, not literally underground. Every newsrag in Ironforge is, by definition, underground.) Anyway, the periodical in question was funded by some anti-everyone nutjobs who believed Ironforge should remain closed off to all races except dwarves. Now I can’t imagine anyone wanting to go to Ironforge to begin with, but that’s neither here nor there; point is, the thing ran with the tagline: “Being a weekly Newsletter with the Aim of driving all Pasties, Shorties and Nelfs from Ironforge.”

The thing ran a few issues until it was revealed the whole thing was run by a gnomish entrepreneur who merely saw a way to cash in on dwarven ignorance. In any case, the slanderous rag faded away but one part of it remained: a crudely drawn and completely racist cartoon called “Nelfs and Belfs” which pictured night elves and blood elves in an obscene and demeaning manner, frequently involving animals and bodily emissions. “Nelfs and Belfs” found an audience because, politically correct mumbo-jumbo aside, dwarves really like making fun of elves. It eventually made its way to Stormwind and is now distributed as a monthly comic book all over Azeroth. I believe it’s even translated into Orcish nowadays and passed around Orgrimmar, proving that racial insensitivity knows no allegiance.

That said, blood elves are just night elves who don’t cower in fear of magic. Which makes them marginally cooler tha night elves, I suppose, but if you’re going to rock out with some magic you might as well just be a gnome and get it over with. Blood elves are pink instead of purple, so it’s not even really a question of how feminine you want to be. Also, they eat their own young.

That’s just something I heard somewhere.

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