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Uncertain, but probably dated back as far as the founding of Gondor in II 3320
A Westron word adapted from Quenya
Descriptive of a division of Men
Related particularly to the Gondorians
Literally 'High Man', but used as equivalent to 'Dúnadan', or specifically 'Man of Gondor'
Other names
Shortened by the Orcs to tark; equivalent to 'Dúnadan' and its synonyms


About this entry:

  • Updated 20 April 2017
  • This entry is complete


A name for the Men of the West

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A Quenya word, borrowed by speakers of the Common Tongue to describe the Men of the West, those noble Men of Númenórean descent. The word came ultimately from a root form thought to be tára-khil, meaning literally 'high follower' (the Elves referred to Men as 'followers' because they were the Secondborn Children of Ilúvatar).

The Orcs twisted the word to their own ends, and as tark they used it as an insulting term for the Gondorians. 'Tarkil' also probably lies behind the meaning of the name of Tarcil, the sixth King of Arnor, one of Aragorn's distant ancestors and an Heir of Isildur in his own right. In The Lord of the Rings, the word is seen only in a note among the linguistic appendices, though at one time it was destined for more prominence: in the early drafts of the work, Aragorn himself is known as 'the Tarkil', but this is changed to 'the Dúnadan' in the published text.

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