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Pixie vs. Fairy — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on September 19, 2023
Pixies are small, mischievous creatures often associated with southwestern England, while fairies are supernatural beings of folklore with diverse appearances and abilities, found in many cultures.
Pixie vs. Fairy — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Pixie and Fairy


Key Differences

When diving into mythological and folklore discussions, two entities often arise: Pixies and Fairies. While both are supernatural beings believed to possess magical powers, they hail from different cultural origins. Pixies are strongly associated with the moors and highlands of southwest England, whereas fairies are pervasive entities found in tales and myths across the globe.
The very nature and demeanor of Pixies and Fairies stand in contrast. Pixies are typically depicted as playful, mischievous, and sometimes even tricksters. They are notorious for leading travelers astray with their will-o'-the-wisps. In contrast, fairies can range from benevolent to malevolent, with some assisting humans and others causing mischief or harm.
Physical appearances of Pixies and Fairies also exhibit differences. Pixies are often portrayed as smaller than fairies, sometimes without wings, and are more child-like. Fairies, on the other hand, are diverse in appearance, often with wings, and can be tiny or human-sized.
Both Pixies and Fairies have had profound influences on literature and popular culture. However, their roles differ. Pixies are often localized spirits of specific lands or places. In comparison, fairies can be guardians of nature, powerful sorceresses, or even rulers of their own magical realms.
Conclusively, while Pixies and Fairies both enchant with their mystical qualities, they are distinct entities. Their origin stories, behaviors, appearances, and roles in folklore and mythology are defining attributes that set them apart.

Comparison Chart


Primarily associated with southwestern England.
Found in myths and folklore globally.


Typically playful and mischievous.
Ranges from benevolent to malevolent.


Often smaller, sometimes without wings.
Diverse, often winged, can be tiny to human-sized.

Role in Tales

Localized spirits of places, lead travelers astray.
Can be guardians, sorceresses, or rulers of realms.

Cultural Impact

Less universal, more regional impact.
Broad cultural impact across various societies.

Compare with Definitions


A small supernatural being in folklore.
The old tales spoke of pixies dancing in the moonlight.


A mythical being with magical powers.
The fairy granted her three wishes.


A tiny being with or without wings.
She had a garden statue of a wingless pixie sitting on a mushroom.


Guardian spirits of nature or specific locations.
The forest fairy ensured the trees remained lush and green.


A mischievous, childlike fairy or elf.
She believed a pixie had hidden her shoes.


Supernatural entities ranging from kind to wicked.
She was warned of the fairy's trickery before entering the woods.


A creature associated with southwest English myths.
Legends from Cornwall often feature pixies as protagonists.


A fairy (also fay, fae, fey, fair folk, or faerie) is a type of mythical being or legendary creature found in the folklore of multiple European cultures (including Celtic, Slavic, German, English, and French folklore), a form of spirit, often described as metaphysical, supernatural, or preternatural. Myths and stories about fairies do not have a single origin, but are rather a collection of folk beliefs from disparate sources.


A playful spirit leading travelers astray.
He claimed a pixie had led him off the trail.


A small imaginary being of human form that has magical powers, especially a female one
Fairy gold
She believed she had had fairies at the bottom of her garden


A pixie (also pixy, pixi, pizkie, piskie and pigsie as it is sometimes known in Cornwall) is a mythical creature of British folklore. Pixies are considered to be particularly concentrated in the high moorland areas around Devon and Cornwall, suggesting some Celtic origin for the belief and name.


A Central and South American hummingbird with a green back and long tail.


A supernatural being in folklore and children's stories, typically portrayed as small and humanlike in form, with pointed ears and a pointed hat.


A male homosexual.


Short for pixie cut
Do you think she should grow out her hair or keep her pixie?


An imaginary being in human form, depicted as clever, mischievous, and possessing magical powers.


A fairylike or elfin creature, especially one that is mischievous; a playful sprite.


Offensive Slang Used as a disparaging term for a gay man.


Playfully mischievous.


The realm of faerie; enchantment, illusion.


A playful sprite or elflike or fairy-like creature.


A mythical being with magical powers, known in many sizes and descriptions, although often depicted in modern illustrations only as a small sprite with gauze-like wings, and revered in some modern forms of paganism.


(slang) A cute, petite woman with short hair.


An enchantress, or creature of overpowering charm.


An upper-atmospheric optical phenomenon associated with thunderstorms, a short-lasting pinpoint of light on the surface of convective domes that produces a gnome.


A male homosexual, especially one who is effeminate.


A butterfly of the genus Melanis.


A member of two species of hummingbird in the genus Heliothryx.


(folklore) fairies that are somewhat mischievous


A legendary Chinese immortal.


Creeping evergreen shrub having narrow overlapping leaves and early white star-shaped flowers; of the pine barrens of New Jersey and the Carolinas


Like a fairy; fanciful, whimsical, delicate.


Enchantment; illusion.
The God of her has made an end,And fro this worlde's fairyHath taken her into company.


The country of the fays; land of illusions.
He [Arthur] is a king y-crowned in Fairy.


An imaginary supernatural being or spirit, supposed to assume a human form (usually diminutive), either male or female, and to meddle for good or evil in the affairs of mankind; a fay. See Elf, and Demon.
The fourth kind of spirit [is] called the Fairy.
And now about the caldron sing,Like elves and fairies in a ring.


An enchantress.
No goblin or swart fairy of the mineHath hurtful power over true virginity.


Of or pertaining to fairies.


Given by fairies; as, fairy money.


Small, human in form, playful, having magical powers


Offensive terms for an openly homosexual man


A small, often winged creature found in folklore.
Children often dream of fairies with sparkling wings.


Powerful magical beings in various tales.
The fairy queen invited the hero to her magical realm.

Common Curiosities

Can fairies be considered protective spirits?

Yes, some fairies are believed to guard nature or specific locations.

Are Pixies and Fairies always small?

Often, but not always. Some fairies can be human-sized or even larger.

Can Pixies and Fairies shape-shift?

Some tales attribute shape-shifting abilities to both entities.

Are all Pixies mischievous?

While often portrayed as playful or mischievous, not all pixies are tricksters.

Are fairies always kind-hearted?

No, fairies can range from benevolent to malevolent.

Is a pixie's mischief harmful?

Generally, it's playful, but it can be bothersome or lead travelers astray.

Are Pixies exclusive to English folklore?

Pixies are most closely associated with southwestern England, but similar beings exist elsewhere.

Are there male and female Pixies?

Yes, like fairies, pixies can be of any gender.

Do Pixies and Fairies live in groups or alone?

Both can live in communities or alone, depending on the tale.

Do all fairies have wings?

No, fairy appearances vary; some have wings while others do not.

Do Pixies have a king or queen like fairies?

While fairy lore often mentions royalty, pixie tales rarely do.

How are fairies related to nature?

Many tales depict fairies as guardians or spirits of nature.

Can Pixies grant wishes like some fairies?

While more common for fairies, some tales might attribute similar powers to pixies.

How have Pixies and Fairies influenced literature?

Both have inspired countless stories, poems, and artworks over centuries.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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