Select Elvish Words 1.41: Woods, Forest

Select Elvish Words 1.41: Woods, Forest

1.41 Woods, Forest

Q. ornendur n. “tree-keep, forester, woodsman”

A word in 1959 notes Tolkien described as “a tree-keep, a forester, a ‘woodsman’, a man concerned with trees as we might say ‘professionally’ (NM/20)”. It was given as an example of the use of the suffix -(n)dur, and its initial element is ornë “tree”.

Q. taurë n. “forest, (great) wood”

The common Quenya word for “forest”, derived from the root √TAW “wood” (PE17/115; VT39/7).

Conceptual Development: In the Qenya Lexicon Tolkien had ᴱQ. tauno “great forest” derived from the root ᴱ√TAVA “beam” (QL/90). It seems to have had the form taur- in the early name ᴱQ. Rúsitaurion “Son of the Weary Forest” (LT2/89), and the form was ᴱQ. taure in the Oilima Markirya and its various drafts (MC/213, 220; PE16/62 ff.). In Qenya Word-lists of the 1920s it briefly had the form taurie (PE16/138). In The Etymologies of the 1930s it had the form ᴹQ. taure “great wood, forest” as a derivative of the root ᴹ√TAWAR of similar meaning (Ety/TÁWAR). It was mentioned regularly in Tolkien’s later writings, generally with the gloss “forest”.

Q. taurëa adj. “forested”

A word for “forested” appearing in the Entish phrase Tumbaletaurëa “Deepvalleyforested” (LotR/1131), it is simply the adjective form of taurë “forest”.

ᴱQ. tavas (tavast-) n. “woodland”

A noun given as ᴱQ. tavas (tavast-) “woodland” in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s with longer variant tavasta, derived from the root ᴱ√TAVA “beam” (QL/90).

Neo-Quenya: I think ᴺQ. tavas remains viable for purposes of Neo-Quenya as a derivative of √TAW “wood”.

S. eryn n. “wood, forest (of trees)”

A word for a wood or forest of trees, most notably in the name Eryn Lasgalen “Wood of Greenleaves”, the name of Mirkwood when it was restored after the War of the Ring (LotR/1094, Let/382).

Possible Etymology: Tolkien gave a couple different explanations for this word. Sometimes he explained it as derived from ✶oronī, an ancient variant plural of S. orn reinterpreted a collective word, much like English “woods” (PE17/33, 153). But elsewhere he said it was derived from an ancient abstract noun ✶oronyē “of trees” (PE17/119). Of the two, I prefer the first explanation as a nice parallel to English.

S. glad n. “wood”

A word for a “wood” in the name Methed-en-Glad “End of the Wood” (UT/153) and possibly also Gladuial “*Twilight Wood” (WJ/183, 188 note #48). It resembles galadh “tree” and is probably related to it, but it cannot be derived directly from the same root ᴹ√GALAD as that would produce **gladh. It was either derived from a variant root *√GALAT, or was a loan word from Nandorin where the word for “tree” was Nan. galad (MR/182; PE17/50, 60).

N. lhant n. “clearing in the forest”

A word given as N. lhant “clearing in the forest” in The Etymologies of the 1930s as a derivative of the root ᴹ√LAT “lie open” (Ety/LAT).

Neo-Sindarin: If adapted to Neo-Sindarin, this word would be ᴺS. lant as suggested in Hiswelókë’s Sindarin Dictionary (HSD).

S. taur n. “forest, wood, [N.] great wood, [G.] dense wood”

The most common Sindarin word for “forest”, derived from √TAW “wood” (PE17/115) or its extended form ᴹ√TAWAR (Ety/TÁWAR). In one place Tolkien said it was “only used of huge forests” due to the influence of N. taur “mighty” (Ety/TÁWAR), but in practice this was not the case.

Conceptual Development: The word G. taur appeared all the way back in Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s with the gloss “a dense wood or forest” (GL/69), almost certainly a derivative of the early root ᴱ√TAVA “beam” as suggested by Christopher Tolkien (LT1A/Tavari). ᴱN. taur “forest” appeared in Early Noldorin Word-lists of the 1920s (PE13/153), and N. taur¹ “great wood, forest” appeared in the The Etymologies as a derivative of the root ᴹ√TAWAR which is also where Tolkien said it was “only used of huge forests” as noted above (Ety/TÁWAR). This word appeared frequently in Sindarin names in Tolkien’s later writings.

S. tauron n. “forester”

A word for “forester”, based on the name Tauron of the same meaning (PM/358). It is simply taur “forest” with the agental suffix S. -on¹.

S. tawar n. “forest; [N.] wood (material)”

A word for “forest” in a few Sindarin names, notably Tawar-in-Drúedain “Drúadan Forest” (UT/256) and Tawarwaith “Forest People” (UT/256).

Conceptual Development: In The Etymologies of the 1930s N. tawar was glossed “wood (material)” and derived from the root ᴹ√TÁWAR (Ety/TÁWAR). In Sindarin, awa often became au (and then > o), and cases where it was preserved seem to have to do with patterns of stress; see the entry on that phonetic rule for further details.

Neo-Sindarin: For purposes of Neo-Sindarin, it is probably better to stick with the better known S. taur for “forest”.