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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'.

lan(ta), lan(të) (Elvish root) 'fall', 'fallen', notably in Atalantë, 'The Downfallen', a name used of Númenor after the Downfall, and in Noldolantë, the 'Fall of the Noldor', a lament for his people made by Maglor. A related form appears in Lasse-lanta, 'leaf-fall', an Elvish name for late autumn. The same root appears in lanthir, 'waterfall' (where thir is a river or flow of water). Lanthir appears in the name Lanthir Lamath, translated as 'waterfall of echoing voices'.
largo (Italian) 'large' (also used as a musical term for 'slow' or 'broad'); it is unclear whether this is intended in any sense as the meaning of the Hobbit-name Largo (Largo Baggins was an ancestor of Frodo), but it would be a suitable punning use for a Hobbit of the Shire.
léod (Old English) 'chief' or 'prince', seen only in the name of Léod, Lord of the Éothéod and father of Eorl the Young.
lin (Elvish root) 'sing', 'chant', 'create music'. Its most prominent use is probably in the name Lindon ('land of music'), named for the singing of the Elves who lived there in the First Age. The same element appears in numerous other names, including Ainulindalë ('Music of the Ainur'), Lindar ('the Singers'), Ondolindë ('Rock of the Music of Water') and lómelindi ('dusk-singers', the Elvish name for nightingales). It may also appear in linnod (possibly 'seven-chant'), the name given to a rhythmic pattern used in Elvish verse.
lith (Sindarin) 'ash' or 'dust', in Ered Lithui, the 'Ashen Mountains' that bordered Mordor to the north, and Lithlad, the 'plain of ash' that lay at their feet. Also seen in Anfauglith ('Gasping Dust'), the name given to the once-green plain of Ard-galen after its destruction in the Dagor Bragollach, and in its alternative name Dor-nu-Fauglith ('Land under Choking Ash').
lóni (Old Norse) (probably) 'still one', one of many Dwarf-names taken by Tolkien from the Old Norse Dvergatal in the Völuspa saga, and given to one of the companions of Balin slain in Moria. There are several possible interpretations (various sources suggest 'fighter', 'shining one' or even 'sea pool') but probably the most likely derivation is from Old Norse lón, meaning 'still', 'unmoving' or 'lazy'.
lost (Sindarin) 'empty', seen in Beren's title Camlost, 'Empty-handed'. This form derives from the same root as loth, 'empty', in the name of the wide and empty plain of Lothlann.
loth (Sindarin) an element derived from lhoth, 'empty', seen uniquely in the name Lothlann, the 'wide and empty' plain to the north of the March of Maedhros. Not to be confused with the more common name element loth, 'flower, blossom', which is unrelated to this term.

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