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  • Updated 23 August 2017
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Slugs

Slimy, slow-moving molluscs of the same general kind as snails, but without a protective shell. We have only a very limited and indirect reference to slugs in the history of the War of the Ring, and even that is ambiguous. When Frodo and Sam were attempting to infiltrate Mordor disguised as Orcs, they were mistaken as idlers or deserters by an Uruk commander, who threw the insult 'slugs' at them several times. These insults can be taken to imply that the animal was at least known to the Orcs of Mordor.

It should be said that, under the circumstances, it is not absolutely certain that this unnamed Uruk was referring specifically to the creatures as known as slugs. Since he was explicitly accusing Frodo and Sam of laziness, his use of 'slugs' might actually have been a contraction of 'sluggards', meaning lazy or idle people. In fact the two words have a linguistic connection: both 'slug' the animal and 'sluggard' the lazy person (and, for that matter, 'sluggish' for slow-moving) all date back to a common word for 'slow' or 'lazy'.1


Notes

1

As an additional linguistic wrinkle, the Orc in question was not of course speaking English, but the Common Tongue. So if the insult 'slug' is meant as short for 'sluggard', then we would have to assume that a similar connection also appeared in the (unknown) equivalent terms used in the Westron language.

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About this entry:

  • Updated 23 August 2017
  • Updates planned: 1

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