Welcome to Our Fellowship

Join our growing fellowship! Check the News Feed to see all the latest!
Below, find answers, ask questions, and connect with our community.

Forums Forums The Lord of the Rings Does every name used by Tolkien have a special meaning?

  • Creator
  • #32150


    By coincidence I recently came across the meaning of Peregrin’s name: Traveller.

    And in my opinion, the meaning fits very well with this character.

    So I looked for the meaning of the names of other characters from “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit”.

    And I found among others the name meaning of Thorin suitable: daring one

    Is that actually the case with all Tolkien characters?

  • Does every name used by Tolkien have a special meaning?

    Gilruin updated 2 days, 10 hours ago 3 Members · 4 Replies
  • Otaku-sempai

    Citizen of Imladris : 93 posts

    Not every single name given by Tolkien has a special meaning (especially some place names) but many (if not most) of them do.

    Apr 18, 2022 at 4:52 pm
  • Rixoc

    Petitioner to the Council : 6 posts

    I just stumbled across another name meaning.

    The name of Dis means translated from Latin Pluto.

    Pluto in turn stands for the rich or for the god of the underworld Hades.

    She was from the line of Durin…. She certainly had a strong personality. So, is this possibly an allusion?

    May 5, 2022 at 6:44 am
    • Otaku-sempai

      Citizen of Imladris : 93 posts

      I’m pretty sure that Tolkien borrowed Dís from Norse mythology and not from the Latin usage. To quote wikipedia: “In Norse mythology, a dís is a deity, ghost, or spirit associated with Fate”.

      May 5, 2022 at 12:34 pm
  • Gilruin

    Petitioner to the Council : 9 posts

    I’m at least fairly certain that there are more names with an associated meaning than those without (perhaps 90/10 or even more). The ones you already mentioned like Thorin or Peregrin have an etymology connected to a language in the real world: the Dwarven names and Gandalf are from the Old Norse Dvergatal and Peregrin is derived from Latin pĕrĕgrīnus, but most names in the Legendarium are derived from one of Tolkien’s Elvish languages such as Celebrimborcebrin-/(?celebren) “silver” + paur “fist” or Minas Tirithminas “tower” + tir– “to watch, guard, heed”. For most names such an etymology is known from Tolkien or can be guessed based on other things he has wrote about his languages (a good place to check such names would be Eldamo) There are of course some names where we don’t know the meaning, but I doubt that any of them is intended to be meaningless, e. g. Tolkien calls Eilenach, one of the beacon hills of Gondor, “of unknown origin”, but the appearance of the same prefix in Eilenaer, another of those hills, shows that those names are not random, just that the Gondorians don’t remember the meaning of the name anymore. There are however some names that appear to be genuinely meaningless, e. g. Tolkien writes about Eöl: “Another name from prim FG [=primary/primitive ‘Fall of Gondolin’?] — meaningless than and now. But it was not intended to have any meaning in Q[uenya] or S[indarin] […] (I think the name might stay. It isn’t really absolutely necessary that names should be significant” (War of the Jewels, p. 320). Keep in mind when reading this “not necessary” part that in the same notes he revises all the other names to fit his new linguistic concepts.

    May 17, 2022 at 7:36 am