Select Elvish Words 4.14-4.142: Hair, Beard

Select Elvish Words 4.14-4.142: Hair, Beard

4.14 Hair

Q. findë n. “hair (especially of the head); tress or plait of hair, [ᴹQ.] braid of hair”

A word mentioned by Tolkien in The Shibboleth of Fëanor from 1968 with glosses “hair, especially of the head” (PM/340) and “hair — a tress or plait of hair” (PM/345). The word finde also appeared in Notes on Names (NN) from 1957 with the gloss “tress, lock” alongside a long form Q. findelë of the same meaning (PE17/119). In The Etymologies of the 1930s, it was ᴹQ. finde “tress, braid of hair” under the root ᴹ√SPIN (Ety/SPIN). The root was likewise √SPIN(ID) in the 1957 Notes on Names, but in the 1968 Shibboleth Tolkien used the root form √PHIN.

Neo-Quenya: For purposes of Neo-Quenya, I would use findë as a general word for hair (though primarily used for head-hair), also able to refer to a tress, plait or braid of hair, though the word Q. findelë is more specific to that sense. An entire head of hair would be Q. findessë (PM/345), while a single hair would be Q. finë (PE17/17; PM/340). Despite Tolkien’s 1968 change of √SPIN >> √PHIN, I would assume a root form of √SPIN(ID) “hair”, since elsewhere √PHIN usually meant “skill(ful)” (PE17/17, 119, 181; Ety/PHIN).

Q. findelë n. “tress, lock [of hair]”

A word for “a head of hair, a person’s hair as a whole” appearing in the The Shibboleth of Fëanor from 1968 (PM/345). In notes from 1965 Tolkien instead gave Q. findilë (with an i) for “head of hair” (PE17/17).

Conceptual Development: In the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s, Tolkien had ᴱQ. findl “lock of hair” under the early root ᴱ√FIŘI [FIÐI] (QL/38). In the contemporaneous Name-list to the Fall of Gondolin he had ᴱQ. findil “lock” (PE15/24).

Neo-Quenya: For purposes of Neo-Quenya, I would use findelë for a lock or tress of hair, and 1968 findessë for a full head of hair (PM/345); see the entry for findë for more suggestions on the application (Neo) Quenya hair words.

Q. findessë n. “head of hair, person’s hair as a whole”

A word for “a head of hair, a person’s hair as a whole” appearing in the The Shibboleth of Fëanor from 1968 (PM/345). In notes from 1965 Tolkien instead gave Q. findilë for “head of hair” (PE17/17). I would use the 1968 word findessë for purposes of Neo-Quenya; see the entry for findë for more suggestions on the application (Neo) Quenya hair words.

Q. finë (fini-) n. “(single) hair, filament”

A word for “a hair” appearing in the The Shibboleth of Fëanor from 1968 (PM/340). In notes from around 1965 Tolkien also had fine (fini-) for “a hair” (PE17/17). In the 1965 notes derived Tolkien derived it from the root √SPIN, but in the 1968 notes from √PHIN. On a torn half-sheet from the late 1950s or early 1960s, Tolkien had Q. phin- derived from the root √SPIN “a single hair, filament”, though the ph indicates it was probably an archaic form (PE17/17). See the entry for findë for more suggestions on the application (Neo) Quenya hair words.

Conceptual Development: In the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s, Tolkien had ᴱQ. filma “fine hair, line” under the early root ᴱ√FILI “fine, thin” (QL/38), as well as ᴱQ. {tilme >>} til (tiln-) “a hair” under the early root ᴱ√TILI², with a variant form tila (QL/92). A similar word tile “a single hair” (pl. tili) appeared in a list of body parts from the 1920s (PE14/117).

Q. lokse n. “hair”

A noun in The Etymologies of the 1930s glossed “hair” derived from the root ᴹ√LOKH (Ety/LOKH).

Conceptual Development: A similar word ᴱQ. laksa “tress” appeared in a list of body parts from the 1920s (PE14/117).

S. fîn n. “fîn”

A noun for a single hair appearing in The Shibboleth of Fëanor from 1968 derived from primitive ✶phini- (PM/362 note #37). The form fin- also appeared in a torn-half sheet as a derivative of √SPIN- “a single hair, filament” (PE17/17).

Conceptual Development: Earlier words for a single hair include G. fith, pl. fidhin from the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s (GL/35) and ᴱN. fîr from Early Noldorin Word-lists of the 1920s (PE13/143).

S. find n. “tress, [ON.] lock of hair; [ᴱN.] hair (in general); ⚠️[S.] single hair”

This word had a quite lengthy history as an element in the name S. Glorfindel “Golden Hair”. It appeared in the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s as G. finn “a lock of hair” (GL/35), simply as ᴱN. find or finn “hair” in Early Noldorin Word-lists (PE13/143), and as Old Noldorin sphinde “lock of hair” from The Etymologies of the 1930s under the root ᴹ√SPIN (Ety/SPIN). In notes from the mid-1960s Tolkien said that find, finn meant a “single hair (of man or elf)” vs. S. †findel for a head of hair (PE17/17), but in The Shibboleth of Fëanor from 1968 Tolkien said it meant “tress” and was derived from primitive ✶phindē (PM/362 note #37).

Neo-Sindarin: For purposes of Neo-Sindarin, I’d use fîn for a single hair, find for hair in general or for a tress or lock of hair, and finnel for an entire head of hair.

S. fing n. “lock of hair”

A noun appearing in 1967 notes on the Nomenclature of the Lord of the Rings as an element in Finglas “Leaflock” (RC/760). The form fineg appeared unglossed in notes from around 1965 as a derivative of ✶phinik (PE17/17). The word fing is more obscure than S. find of similar meaning.

Conceptual Development: The word G. fingl or finnil “a tress” appeared in the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s (GL/35). In that period, the gl was probably the result of the sound change whereby ðl became gl, since this early form was likely derived from the root ᴱ√FIŘI [FIÐI] (QL/38). When it first appeared, the name N. Finglas (= find + las?) may also have had a similar sound change, but since Tolkien abandoned that phonetic rule in Sindarin of the 1950s and 60s (compare S. edlenn vs. N. eglenn “exiled”), Tolkien needed to come up with a new etymology.

S. finnel n. and adj. “head of hair, fax, mass of long hair; having fine or beautiful hair; ⚠️[N.] (braided) hair; [G.] tress”

This word had a quite lengthy history as an element in the name S. Glorfindel “Golden Hair”. It appeared in the Name-list to the Fall of Gondolin as G. findel “tress” (PE15/24) and in the contemporaneous Gnomish Lexicon with the gloss “a lock of hair”, but in that document it was deleted and replaced by G. finn “a lock of hair” and G. fingl or finnil “tress” (GL/35). It appeared as N. finnel “(braided) hair” in The Etymologies of the 1930s under the root ᴹ√SPIN (Ety/SPIN).

In Notes on Names (NN) from 1957 findel was an adjective meaning “having beautiful hair” or “having fine hair” (PE17/119, 151). In a torn half sheet from the late 1950s or early 1960s it was OS. findel, S. finnel “mass of long hair”, and in a document from around 1965 it was (archaic) findel “head of hair, fax” from primitive ✶spindilā (PE17/17). In this last document Tolkien said it was “preserved mainly in such old names as Glorfindel”, so Tolkien may have intended that it was no longer in active use in modern Sindarin.

Neo-Sindarin: For purposes of Neo-Sindarin, I’d use fîn for a single hair, find for a tress or lock of hair or hair in general, with finnel used for an entire head of hair, assuming finnel survived into modern Sindarin with the usual sound change of medial nd to nn. I would assume it can also be used adjectivally in reference to having beautiful hair.

4.142 Beard

Q. fanga n. “beard”

A noun for “beard” in The Etymologies of the 1930s derived from the root ᴹ√SPANAG (Ety/SPÁNAG), where the initial [sp-] became the voiceless spirant [f]. It reappeared in the 1960s as an element in the name Q. Andafangar “Longbeards” (PM/321 note #21).

Conceptual Development: In the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s, Tolkien gave ᴱQ. fange as cognate of G. fang “a long beard” (GL/34). Elsewhere in the same document he had ᴱQ. vanga as cognate of G. bang “beard”, but both these words were deleted (GL/21). Other early “beard” words include ᴱQ. velte under the early root ᴱ√VETE (QL/101), and ᴱQ. poa as a cognate to G. pau “a beard” (GL/63).

S. fang n. “beard”

The Sindarin word for “beard”, best known as an element in the name S. Fangorn “Treebeard, (lit.) beard of tree” (LotR/1131, PE17/84). The word dates all the way back to the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s where it appeared as G. fang “a long beard” (GL/34), though in that document it had a rejected variant bang “beard” (GL/21). ᴱN. fang “beard” appeared in Early Noldorin Word-lists of the 1920s (PE13/143), and N. fang “beard” appeared in The Etymologies of the 1930s under the root ᴹ√SPANAG (Ety/SPÁNAG). Thus this word was well established in Tolkien’s mind.