Originally, "halfling" comes from the Scots word hauflin, meaning an awkward rustic teenager, who is neither man nor boy, and so half of both. Another word for halfling is "hobbledehoy" or "hobby". This usage of the word pre-dates both The Hobbit and Dungeons & Dragons.
Some fantasy stories use the term halfling to describe a person born of a human parent and a parent of another race, often a human female and an elf. Terry Brooks describes characters such as Shea Ohmsford from his Shannara series as a halfling of elf–human parentage. This kind of character is elsewhere called a half-elf and is distinct from the fantasy race known as halflings. In Jack Vance's Lyonesse series of novels, "halfling" is a generic term for beings such as fairies, trolls and ogres, who are composed of both magical and earthly substances.
Kithkin is the self-applied name of the halflings in the Magic: The Gathering collectible card game. They are found on both the primary world of Dominaria and the ever-shifting world of Lorwyn/Shadowmoor, where they share an empathic bond with each other.
Halflings are playable races in both Everquest and Everquest II. They are small, well rounded beings which generally resemble humans. They are a fun people and have many sneaky ways. They have high dexterity and agility and love to travel always on their hairy feet.
In the computer game series The Magic Candle, halflings are portrayed as friendly, peaceful people, who are skilled in crafts (particularly sewing in the second and third games), as well as negotiation due to their high charisma. They also possess lockpicking skills, and are agile and quick in battle, but tend to have low close combat skills, although they are second only to the elves in archery.
Halflings also appear in the Warhammer Fantasy. They are distant relatives of the ogres, and live in a part of the Empire called the Moot, which is located next to the province of Stirland. Halflings are known for their thievery and love for food. The Elder of the Moot has a vote in determining the next emperor.
In Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, halflings are a Thestran race based in Rindol Field, with the ability to become many classes, from warrior to druid. They are about 60% of a human's height (the second-shortest race in the game).