The term sprite is a broad term referring to a number of preternatural legendary creatures. The term is generally used in reference to elf-like creatures, including fairies, and similar beings (although not earth beings), but can also signify various spiritual beings, including ghosts. In Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl books, sprites are a race of faerie with green skin and wings.
The word "sprite" is derived from the Latin "spiritus" (spirit). Variations on the term include "spright" (the origin of the adjective "sprightly", meaning "spirited" or "lively") and the Celtic "spriggan". The term is chiefly used in regard to elves and fairies in European folklore, and in modern English is rarely used in reference to spirits or other mythical creatures. Sprites can also be lightning strikes and problems involving electricity.
Sprite may refer to any meaning of 'spirit':
Belief in sprites
The belief in diminutive beings such as sprites, elves, fairies, pixies, gnomes, Japanese yokai, the Spanish and Latin-American duende and various Slavic fairies has been common in many parts of the world, and might to some extent still be found within neo-spiritual and religious movements such as "druidism" and Ásatrú. The belief in spiritual beings, particularly ghosts, is almost universal to human culture.
In some elemental magics, the sprite is often believed to be the elemental of air (see also Sylph). Another variation is the water sprite.