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Lexicon of Names

Common name elements in Tolkien's works

This lexicon lists some of the more common elements found in the names of places and people in Tolkien's work. These are mainly derived from Elvish tongues, but some common forms from other languages, such as Old English or Adûnaic, are also included, as well as a few less recognisable words that are still found in modern English. There are very large number of these name elements, and this page is being expanded to include more over time.

Where possible, the particular Elvish source language for an element is shown, but sometimes this is not possible (for example, where a common root word occurs in more than one language). In cases like this, terms are simply labelled 'Elvish root'.

falas (Sindarin) 'shore', 'coast' (from a root fal- meaning 'wave'), from which came the name of the western coastland of Beleriand, known as The Falas, whose people were the Falathrim. As might be expected, falas is often seen in shoreland place-names, for example Anfalas ('long shore', archaic Langstrand), Belfalas (where the initial Bel- is obscure) or Tolfalas ('shoreland island', or possibly 'isle of waves'). Also seen in the personal names Falastur ('Lord of the Coasts') and Tar-Falassion ('King of the Coasts').
falma (Sindarin) 'wave'. The plural falmar 'waves' is seen in Falmari ('people of the waves', the Sea-elves of the West), and also in Mar-nu-Falmar, 'home beneath the waves', a name given to Númenor after was consumed by the Great Sea in the Downfall.
fëa (Quenya) 'spirit', the immaterial essence of a being, as opposed to the hröa or body. This element is seen in Fëanor ('Spirit of Fire') and Fëanturi ('Masters of Spirits').
fela (Old English) 'very', an intensifer used in the canonical works only in the name of Eorl's horse Felaróf (meaning either 'very strong' or 'very valiant'). In earlier works, the same word is seen in Felanóþ and Felahrór, Old English surnames of Finarfin and Finrod that both mean 'very bold'. This element doesn't appear directly in Felagund (which derives from Dwarvish), though it may have been its predecessor in Tolkien's imagination: the original Old English form of Finarfin's name was Finred Felanóþ, which may have helped give shape to the later name Finrod Felagund that came to be borne by Finarfin's son.
fell (English) 'moorland hill', in Coldfells and Troll-fells, hilly regions that lay to the north of Rivendell.
fengel (Old English) 'king' or 'prince', the name given to the youngest son of Folcwine, who succeeded his father to become Rohan's fifteenth King.
fore (Old English) 'before, preceding, ahead of', still used as a modifier in modern English. It occurs in the names of two months of the Shire Calendar: Forelithe, the month before Lithe or Midsummer, and Foreyule, the month preceding Yule or midwinter. Though the word fore is actually found in Old English, it did not occur in the original Anglo-Saxon names for these months, which were variations on ǣrra Līða and ǣrra Gēola. In both cases, Tolkien has modernised the original term ǣrra to the more recognisable equivalent 'fore', which carries an identical meaning.
formen (Quenya) 'north', seen in this particular form only in Formenos ('northern fortress'), the fortified retreat of Fëanor in the north of Valinor. Sindarin words from the same origin, for, forn and forod are more common, notably in Fornost (also meaning 'northern fortress'), the later capital of the North-kingdom of Arnor.
foro(d) (Sindarin) 'north', especially as a region in the cold north of Middle-earth. From this source are derived the names Forochel ('north-ice') and Forodwaith ('north-people', used as the name of both the people themselves and the lands they inhabited).
frery (Old English) a modernisation of fréorig, Old English for 'freezing'. Used in Bree as the name of the first month of the year, equivalent to Afteryule on the Shire Calendar, or (approximately) to modern January.
fuin (Sindarin) 'deep shadow', a word linguistically related to 'night', and often poetically translated 'nightshade'. Seen in Taur-nu-Fuin ('Forest under Nightshade' a name used of both Dorthonion and Mirkwood), Emyn-nu-Fuin ('shadowed hills', the Mountains of Mirkwood) and Tol Fuin (literally 'island of shadow', but actually deriving from its origins as the highlands of Taur-nu-Fuin in the First Age). The same element is also apparently seen in Fuinur, the name of a leader of the Black Númenóreans (its full meaning is uncertain, though it might perhaps be 'shadow-fire' or 'great shadow').

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