The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Dates
The first Elves awoke some three ages (very roughly 4,300 years before the beginning of the First Age)
Race
Pronunciation
e'thil ('th' as in English 'these')
Meaning
Other names

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  • Updated 2 April 2012
  • This entry is complete

Edhil

A name among the Sindar for their own kind

"O! Shore beyond the Shadowy Sea!
"
The Song of Ælfwine
The Lost Road
The History of Middle-earth, volume 5

The Sindarin word for 'Elves'. It originated as a direct equivalent of Quenya Eldar, specifically describing those Elves who had set out on the Great Journey from Cuiviénen, of whom the Sindar were a part. After the other Eldar departed from Beleriand, the Sindar were left alone in that land for long ages, so that they almost never saw another Elf who was not one of their own kind. Thus the meaning of the word shifted, so that the edhil came to include all Elves of any kind, not just those that belonged to the Eldar.

Edhil was the usual plural form of the word, while the singular (meaning simply 'Elf') was edhel. There was also an additional plural form (meaning 'all Elves' or 'Elves as a people') which was Eldrim (later modified to Elrim) though this does not appear in the canonical works. We can see yet another form, the genitive, in Gandalf's spells before the West-gate of Moria. He calls this annon edhellen, which is Sindarin for 'gate of the Elves'.1


Notes

1

'Gate of the Elves' might seem to be a strange usage, given that the gate was made by the Dwarves and protected a realm of that people. The designs that it bore, however, were created by the Elves of Eregion, and the fact that Gandalf addressed his spells in this form seems to imply that those designs carried some of the enchantment that held the doors shut.

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