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'.
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) 'void', 'abyss', especially in the sense of a gulf or chasm, and derived ultimately from the stem yag-
, meaning 'yawn' or 'gape'. Seen only in Moria
, the later Elvish
name for Khazad-dûm
, which translates as 'Black Chasm
' or 'Black Pit
root) 'first', 'foremost', seen most prominently in Ingwë
('first one') the High King of the Elves
. Though ing
is a common Elvish
root, it is most commonly associated with the Teleri
. Note that, despite appearances, neither Inglorion
contain this element, but have unique etymologies of their own.
(Old English) 'iron', the name of the important river Isen
, and its associated fortress complex Isengard
('iron enclosure'). This element is also seen in the names of certain Hobbits
of the Took
family, such as Isengar
('iron spear') and Isengrim
(uncertain, but probably simply 'iron grim').
) a suffix that serves to turn a verbal base into a noun or an adjective, effectively equivalent to the ending '-ing' for English words. Examples include the river name Sirith
('flowing'), the month name Firith
('fading, dying'), and Nen Girith
') on the borders of Brethil
. This grammatical form also appears in Minas Tirith
(translated 'Tower of Guard
', but literally 'watching tower'). A very common use was for narrow clefts or passes, with took the stem cir-
'cut' and added -ith
to create the word cirith
, literally meaning 'cutting'. Among numerous examples of this usage are Cirith Gorgor
, ('Haunted Pass
'), Cirith Ninniach
'), Cirith Thoronath
'), and many, many others besides.