Select Elvish Words 1.36: Brook, Stream, River

Select Elvish Words 1.36: Brook, Stream, River

1.36 Brook, Stream, River

Q. celumë n. “flow(ing), stream, flood (tide); ⚠️[ᴱQ.] fountain, spring”

A word for a stream or flow of water or other liquid, also for a flood tide, derived from the root ᴹ√KEL(U) (MC/223; Ety/KEL).

Conceptual Development: In the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s, the words ᴱQ. kelu and kelume were glossed “stream” and derived from ᴱ√KELE or ᴱ√KELU “flow” (QL/46). In the contemporaneous Poetic and Mythological Words of Eldarissa, however, ᴱQ. kelu was glossed “fountain, spring” (PME/46). ᴹQ. kelume “stream, flow” appeared in The Etymologies of the 1930s as a derivative of ᴹ√KEL “go, run (especially of water), flow away downhill” (Ety/KEL), and kelume appeared in the glossary to the 1960s version of the Markirya poem with the glosses “flowing, flood (tide), stream” (MC/223).

ᴹQ. etsir n. “mouth of a river, *(lit.) outflow”

A noun in The Etymologies of the 1930s glossed “mouth of a river”, a combination of ᴹQ. et “out” and ᴹQ. sir- “flow” (Ety/ET). Its Noldorin cognate N. ethir reappeared as S. ethir “outflow” in later writings (RC/350).

ᴹQ. kelma n. “channel”

A noun in The Etymologies of the 1930s glossed “channel” derived from the root ᴹ√KEL “go, run (especially of water)” (Ety/KEL).

ᴹQ. kelut n. “rivulet”

A noun for “rivulet” in the Declension of Nouns of the early 1930s (PE21/33, 35), clearly a derivative of ᴹ√KEL(U) “flow”.

Q. -(n)duinë suf. “(large) river”

An element in several river names such as Q. Anduinë and Q. Nunduinë, the equivalent of S. duin. It did not survive as an independent word in Quenya:

Common Eldarin bases DUY and LUY, for instance, were distinct. DUY meant “to flood, drench, inundate”, but LUY was the base of words for “blue”. Both would become LUY in Quenya. Which probably accounts for the disappearance from Quenya of C.E. *duinē “large river (liable to flood surrounding land)” seen in [S.] Anduin “long river” and Baranduin “brown river”: it became identical with [Q.] luine adj. “blue” (VT48/23).

In fact, its use in Quenya river names may have been a later loan from Sindarin.

Conceptual Development: In one place Tolkien did consider the suffix’s survival as an archaic independent Quenya noun †nuine, but Tolkien rejected the note where it appeared, replacing it with the above (VT48/30 note #2).

ᴹQ. nelle n. “brook, *stream”

A noun in The Etymologies of the 1930s glossed “brook” derived from primitive ᴹ✶nenle (Ety/NEN), where the ancient nl became ll (PE19/47).

ᴹQ. ráva n. “bank (especially of a river)”

A noun in The Etymologies of the 1930s glossed “bank, especially of a river” derived from the root ᴹ√RAB, also the basis for ᴹQ. ramba “wall” (Ety/RAMBĀ; EtyAC/RAMBĀ).

ᴹQ. siril n. “rivulet”

A noun for “rivulet” in The Etymologies of the 1930s derived from the root ᴹ√SIR “flow” (Ety/SIR).

N. celeth n. “stream, *brook, rill, runlet; (lit.) a flowing”

A noun in The Etymologies of the 1930s glossed “stream” appearing in a marginal note next to the root ᴹ√KEL “go, run (especially of water), flow away downhill” (Ety/KEL; EtyAC/KEL). It might be used to apply to any small flow of water like brook, rill, or runlet; its literal meaning is probably “*flowing”.

S. duin n. “(large) river; ⚠️[N.] water”

A Sindarin word for river, more specifically a large one (LotR/1138.2010; PM/54; RC/765; VT48/24), derived from primitive ✶duinē and the root √DUY “flow (strongly), flood, inundate” (RC/766; VT48/23-24).

Conceptual Development: The first precursor to this word seems to be G. duif “stream” from the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s, derived from primitive ᴱ✶duiwe and related to G. duil “flight” (GL/31). The Etymologies of the 1930s had N. duin under the root ᴹ√DUI̯, but there it was a loan word from Ilk. duin “water, river”. After Tolkien abandoned Ilkorin, it became a native Sindarin word.

N. duirro n. “*river-bank”

A word appearing above N. rhaw “bank (especially of a river)”, probably of the same basic meaning, likely a combination of (Ilk.) duil “river” + rhaw as suggested by Carl Hostetter and Patrick Wynne (EtyAC/RAMBĀ). This is plausible, since [lr] became [ll] in Ancient Elvish.

S. ethir n. “mouth of a river, (lit.) outflow”

A noun for the mouth of a river or a river delta, glossed “outflow” in the Unfinished Index of The Lord of the Rings (RC/350; Ety/ET). It was a combination of primitive ✶et “out” and S. sîr “river” (SA/sîr; Ety/ET), where ts > th.

Conceptual Development: The word and its derivation first appeared as N. ethir in The Etymologies of the 1930s (Ety/ET).

S. lanthir n. “waterfall”

A word for “waterfall” in the name S. Lanthir Lamath “Waterfall of Echoing Voices” (S/235; PM/349). It is probably a combination of the variant root √LAT “fall” (more typically √DAT) and S. sîr “river”, hence “*falling river”.

N. oll n. “torrent, mountain-stream”

A noun in The Etymologies of the 1930s glossed “torrent, mountain-stream” derived from primitive ᴹ✶ulda (Ety/ULU), where the o became u via a-affection and the ld became ll as usual.

N. rhaw n. “bank (especially of a river)”

A noun given as N. rhaw “bank, especially of a river” in The Etymologies of the 1930s, a derivative of the root ᴹ√RAB, also the basis for N. rham “wall” (Ety/RAMBĀ; EtyAC/RAMBĀ).

Neo-Sindarin: If adapted to Neo-Sindarin, this would would become ᴺS. raw as suggested in Hiswelókë’s Sindarin Dictionary (HSD), but I think it is better still to use the less ambiguous N. duirro for “river bank” given the other homonyms of S. raw.

S. sîr n. “river, stream”

A common Sindarin word for “river” or “stream”, a relatively small river compared to S. duin. It is a derivative of √SIR “flow” (SA/sîr; Ety/SIR).

Conceptual Development: This word dates all the way back to the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s where G. sîr “river” appeared (GL/67), a derivative of the early root ᴱ√SIŘI (or a variant of it) as suggested by Christopher Tolkien (LT1A/Sirion). ᴱN. sír “stream” appeared in Early Noldorin Word-lists from the 1920s, though in that instance it was changed to ᴱN. hír “lord” (PE13/147). N. sîr “river” appeared in The Etymologies of the 1930s as a derivative of ᴹ√SIR “flow” (Ety/SIR). It appeared several times in Tolkien’s later writings, variously glossed “river” (RC/384) or “stream” (PE17/37; RC/269), as well as being an element in many Sindarin and Noldorin river names.