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Dated back to at least the middle of the twenty-ninth century of the Third Age1
Particularly associated with Hardbottle in the Shire's Northfarthing
The original meaning was 'trouser-belt'2


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  • Updated 8 July 2017
  • Updates planned: 1

Bracegirdle Family

An important hobbit-family of the Shire

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An important and populous family of the Shire-hobbits, associated with the town or village of Hardbottle. The most famous of them was Lobelia Bracegirdle, who married Otho Sackville-Baggins.



The earliest recorded member of the Bracegirdle family was Blanco Bracegirdle. His date of birth is not known, but his wife Primrose Boffin was born in III 2865 (or 1265 by the Shire-reckoning), so we can safely assume that the Bracegirdles dated back at least a century and a half before the War of the Ring.


'Bracegirdle' is a real English surname, meaning 'trouser-belt'. The first element has several potential sources, but as a Hobbit-name would come from Old English brec 'breech, trouser', with 'girdle' being 'belt'. The punning implication, that members of the family were so rotund as to literally brace their girdles - in the sense that their belts were tightly fastened - is not part of the formal etymology of the name, but would surely not have been lost on the Hobbits, who delighted in jokes like this.

It should be mentioned that some sources suggest and alternative origin via Old French, where the 'brace' element comes from bras, 'arm', and so a 'bracegirdle' would be an archer's leather arm-guard. This Old French etymology is dubious even for the real English surname, and it can surely be discounted entirely as the source of a Hobbit family name.

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