, pisky
   This is the standard term in Devon, Cornwall, and Somerset for a *fairy, though many writers from the early 19th century onwards have insisted that the two races are quite distinct; the word is probably related to *Puck. One distinctive feature is the belief in Devon and Cornwall that pixies are the ghosts of babies who died unbaptized, an explanation often given for the *Will-o'-the-Wisp, but not for other English fairies. However, stories told elsewhere about fairies are told of pixies in the south-west, for example that they ask a human midwife to assist at their births, abduct babies and leave changelings, steal from human homes, etc.
   Their best-known characteristic is causing people to lose their way, even in a familiar neighbourhood; victims can escape by turning some item of clothing inside out. They may do this by appearing as a flickering light, or by turning into what seems to be a horse (a 'colt-pixy') and luring the traveller's own horse into a bog. They may operate either singly or in groups; the latter may be seen dancing in circles. They invade stables at night, tangling the horses' manes and making them sweat; they cause strange noises and play tricks, like poltergeists.
   However, single pixies are sometimes credited with being helpful, like *brownies, and like them will cease working if spied on, thanked, mocked, or given clothes. In the latter case, proud and delighted, the pixy disappears, crying:
   Pixy fine, pixy gay, Pixy now will run away.
   ■ Pixy tales will be found in Bray, 1836; Bottrell, 1870-90; Hunt, 1865; Courtney, 1890; Tongue, 1965.

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Pixy — Pix y, Pixie Pix ie, n.; pl. {Pixies}. [For Pucksy, from Puck.] 1. An old English name for a fairy; an elf. [Written also {picksy}.] [1913 Webster] 2. (Bot.) A low creeping evergreen plant ({Pyxidanthera barbulata}), with mosslike leaves and… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pixy — pixy; colt·pixy; pixy·ish; …   English syllables

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  • pixy — I. noun see pixie I II. adjective see pixie II …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • pixy — /pik see/, n., pl. pixies, adj. pixie. * * * …   Universalium

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  • pixy — pix·y || pɪksɪ n. fairy, sprite, small magical being; elf, imp, gnome …   English contemporary dictionary

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  • pixy — noun (C) an imaginary creature that looks like a very small human being, has magical powers, and likes to play tricks on people …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English