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Pixies vs Sprites: What is the Difference?

By Andy Watkins


Updated on

If you’re new to the world of magic, you can be forgiven for believing that all small folk are fairies. Even though all small magical beings are fae, they’re divided into smaller groups; pixies and sprites being just two of them. 

Pixies are larger than sprites and have pointy ears. Unlike sprites, they can’t fly and love playing pranks. Sprites, in contrast, are tiny, winged beings with psionic powers who are immortal. 

This article will discuss the differences between pixies and sprites regarding origin, appearance, powers, and personality. 

Differences Between Pixies and Sprites

Although pixies and sprites are both considered fairy varieties and share a few common traits, there are many differences between them. 

Below we’ll discuss their differences in origin, appearance, personality, and powers. 


The first official pixie reporting was in southwest England in 1630 AD. Ever since the pixie has been a popular part of traditional British folklore. 

On the other hand, Sprites are said to originate from the soul of a departed person or animal. The earliest sprite sighting was in 1300 AD in northern Europe, where they were revered for being ethereal entities. 

Sprites are closely related to the element water, which explains their propensity for sleeping on water lily pads and hanging around in peaceful and cool places. 



  • Long pointy ears. Similar in appearance to elves, pixies have long, pointy ears and often wear pointed hats.  
  • Pixies don’t have wings. Unlike sprites, pixies don’t have wings and cannot fly. 
  • Pixies often have red hair. These beings often have long, messy red hair, which is complemented by green clothing or rags. 
  • They’re larger than sprites. Sprites can range in size from microscopic to tiny, but pixies are typically much taller and larger. Their average height is around four inches (10.16 cm). 


  • Sprites have insect-like wings. Unlike pixies, sprites have wings and can fly. Their wings are insect-like and resemble green gauze, similar to a dragonfly’s wings. 
  • Their hair color usually is blond. Sprites almost always have sleek, blond hair. This is in contrast to a pixie’s messy, red hair. Their hair is also generally thinner and shorter. 
  • They have round faces. A sprite’s face is typically round with an upturned nose. These delicate features are in strong contrast to the pixie’s pointed ears and other facial features.
  • They’re often cross-eyed. Sprites normally squint or are cross-eyed. 



  • Pixies can bestow magical powers for good. Pixies are known to bestow positive magical powers, such as health, intelligence, and wealth. They also love making other beings smile and laugh. 
  • They can cast charms. Pixies love delighting other beings and can cast charms to entice them to dance or to enchant them. 
  • Pixies love playing pranks on others. Pixies can be silly, frivolous, and love playing pranks. A common trick is to deceive humans or animals by leading them the wrong way into the forest.


  • Sprites are immortal. In old fairy folklore, sprites have the power of being immortal and never age. 
  • Sprites are talented at using simple weaponry. Their weapon of choice is often a simple, microscopic dagger that is tiny but very effective.   
  • Sprites have immense psionic powers. This means that they can communicate with animals, and they are telepathic and can create illusions.  
  • Sprites change the color of leaves in the fall. According to traditional mythology, sprites are responsible for changing the color of leaves during the fall. This is due to their matter transmutation abilities. 



  • Pixies don’t shy away from conflict. In contrast to the peace-loving sprite, pixies don’t shy away from fighting and show aggression when needed. 
  • Happy, friendly, and fun-loving. In contrast to sprites who sometimes appear too serious in their fight against evil, pixies are fun-loving and happy-go-lucky beings. They enjoy throwing parties in the middle of the forest. 
  • Some pixies can be evil and nasty. Pixies are sometimes known to be malevolent beings when they trick other beings.


  • They have naughty, childlike, and whimsical personalities. An example of this personality trait is how they love dancing around with other sprites when there’s a full moon. 
  • Sprites hate conflict. As non-combative creatures, sprites value diplomacy and will try their best to avoid a fight. This is in sharp contrast to pixies, who will fight if needed. 
  • They detest evil. Sprites love goodwill and despise evil. They’re passionate about warding off evil, making them appear too serious, harsh, and stubborn by other fairies. 

Final Thoughts

Pixies and sprites are both mythical beings that fall into the fae category. They have many differences, most notably in size, general appearance, and ability to fly. 

Sprites can fly and are tiny beings who usually have fine blond hair. Larger in size and without wings, pixies typically have messy, red hair and no wings. 

Some pixies can be nasty, but sprites always detest evil and use their magical powers for good.

About Andy Watkins

I have always been interested in mythology. From a very early age in Britain, I was known to sit at the breakfast table reading encyclopedias about many of the major world mythologies. Learn more about MythNerd's Editorial Process.