Naming conventions among the Dunedain/Men of the West?

Benjamin Drake #1291

Hello all.

I'm trying to name a Ranger in an upcoming campaign using LOTR naming conventions. However, as usual for the folks that come to you for help, I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm not really attached to any particular concept but I do want to stay with the cultural domain of the Dunedain/Eriador/Arnor etc. How would the Dunedain choose a name? Obviously the hobbit have their own way of naming people and so on. I don't want my Ranger named a dwarven name or whatever! I suppose this delves into more the cultural side of linguistics but I figure if anybody knows, it''d be the people here. The only two "Ranger" names I have found is of course Aragorn and Halbarad. Not sure what to make of it but perhaps there's some other Dunedain I've missed - Ranger or otherwise.

Thank you!

Tom Bombadil #1292


In the late Third Age, Dúnedain usually give their children Sindarin names. Also, we often recognise a Dúnadan's name not just as an elvish name, but as the name of another known elf (Ecthelion, Denethor, Mablung, etc.)

The princes of Dol Amroth seem sometimes to cling to the native Númenórean language Adûnaic, but elsewhere that is avoided among Elf-friends since the end of the Second Age because Adûnaic is usually associated with Black Númenóreans. Given the history with Angmar, we can expect this in Arnor all the more.

We may expect some Westron names, especially for Gondorians/Arnorians who are not descended from Númenóreans, but if that's the case, then at least I don't know of any such example.

In the Second and early Third Age, royal Dúnedain were named in Quenya, but, at least for royalty in Arnor, those times are gone for more than 2000 years, and also stewards of Gondor choose rather Sindarin names.

Regarding commoners, we have fewer examples, but we already find traces of Sindarin in Dúnedain-names more than 5000 years before Lotr (Núneth), and lots of them during Lotr (Mablung, Beregond, Halbarad, etc.), so Sindarin is the language of choice for an Arnorian/Gondorian, especially if they are descended from the Elf-friends of the Second Age.

Since every Sindarin name has a meaning, I'd say you can choose any Sindarin name you want, as long as the meaning makes sense in the context. Just avoid names starting with Ar- (Aragorn, Arathorn, Arveleg, Argeleb, Arvedui, etc.). That's for royalty only. For the heirs of Isildur that's fine, for everyone else not so much.

Also mind that in the Dúnedain dialect of the late Third Age, y is pronounced like i, whereas ch is h in the middle of a word, and it's -k at its end. So Classical Sindarin Rocheryn (horse of the lady) would be in Arnorian Sindarin written like Roheryn, and probably pronounced Roherin.

Here are some names that are Sindarin and borne by Dúnedain. Sometimes Tolkien didn't translate them, but most of the time we can guess their components.


Alphros (maybe swan-foam), Angbor (iron-fist), Baranor (maybe hot fire), Belecthor (maybe mighty eagle), Beren (the bold), Bergil (maybe valiant star), Boromir (steadfast jewel), Borondir (steadfast man), Damrod (maybe hammerer of copper), Denethor (maybe lithe-and-lank), Derufin (maybe manly hair/intelligence), Duinhir (lord of the river), Egalmoth (sharp uprising flower), Elphir (maybe swan-lord), Eradan (single man), Faramir (maybe jewel of hunt(ing)), Findegil (maybe skilled pencil), Galador (maybe lord of light/tree), Herion (maybe son of the lord), Hirgon (commander of the lord), Húrin (vigorous heart), Iorlas (maybe old leaf), Mablung (Heavy Hand), Saelon (wise man), Targon (maybe noble lord), Thorondir (eagle-man), Túrin (master-mind), Udalraph (the stirrupless (rider)), Anborn, Beregond, Berelach, Dervorin, Duilin, Ecthelion

Fíriel (mortal maiden), Galadwen (tree maiden), Ioreth (old woman), Ivriniel (daughter of ivrin), Lothíriel (maybe daughter of the flower-lord), Rían (queen or crown-gift), Berúthiel


Beleg (the great/mighty), Celebrindor (silver lord), Dírhael (wise man), Gilbarad (star-tower), Halbarad (maybe high-tower), Malbeth (golden word), Mallor (maybe the golden), Malvegil (golden sword), Thorongil (eagle of the star), Amlaith, Celepharn

Gilraen (one adorned with a tressure set with small gems in its network), Ivorwen


Elros (star-foam), Hatholdir (axe-man)

Núneth (woman of the west)

Many of them appear in Lotr, so if you don't want anyone to get confused by associating the name with someone else, don't use these:

Anborn, Angbor, Baranor, Beregond, Beren, Bergil, Boromir, Damrod, Denethor, Derufin, Dervorin, Duilin, Duinhir, Ecthelion, Faramir, Halbarad, Hirgon, Húrin, Mablung, Targon, Ioreth.

Also, the names Baranor, Dírhael, Herion and Ioreth - though well known from Tolkien - appear in Shadow of Mordor as well, and, whether you accept that as canon or not, you might want avoid them too.

I hope this helped.

Benjamin Drake #1293

Wow, that's a huge help! Far more detailed than I expected. Thank you for the translations of the names as well. I don't see much of a 'theme' within them so I suppose that I needn't try to match a naming motif, just the general guidelines above. Would you mind if I took some time to think of a proper name and then ask for a translation?

Tom Bombadil #1294

Sure. And about the theme, I don't know of any strict rules regarding men (those of elves are better known, see here for those of elves, I just meant there are some names that are obviously related to religion or elves, like Elrohir (elf-knight), so they would be a bit weird for humans, but I'd say none of the above are like that.

Benjamin Drake #1296

Hello again,

I've spent some time trying to come up with a meaningful name (to me) and I think I've come up with a few. With your gracious help translating them to Sindarin, I'll list them below. I am also male if that helps any.

  1. Carries the Fire (from The Road)

  2. Resolute Spear

    2a.Resolute Bow

    2b. Resolute Sword

    2d. Resolute Oak

  3. Forest Wanderer

    3a. Son of the Forest

  4. Tall Spear

  5. Silent Watcher

    5a. Silent Wanderer

  6. Bold Spear

    6a. Bold Sword

    6b. Bold Arrow

  7. Steadfast Oak

    7a. Steadfast Spear

  8. Eager/Fiery Mind

    8a. Eager/Fiery Wanderer

    8b. Eager/ Fiery Spear

I shall stop here for I feel I may have overstayed my welcome with such a list. Thank you in advance.

Tom Bombadil #1298

Hi again.

First, I'm no Sindarin expert, I'm just doing Sindarin for a year now, and even if I were, Sindarin compound-building is one of the most complicated (and most debated) parts of the already hardest elvish language. Some of your names really make me love Quenya all the more; nearly everything is easier in Quenya.

Fortunately though, the Dúnedain felt the same way, and making mistakes in regard to mutation, historical stems, or other historical rules is one of the key features of their dialect. For instance, in historically correct Sindarin, we would expect Dúnedain-related terms like Angrenost, Fen Hollen, Imloth Melui, Galadwen, Athrad Daer, Lond Daer, etc. to be Angrinost, Fen Chollen, Imloth Velui, Galadhwen, Athrad Dhaer, Lon(d) Dhaer, etc. So, wherever possible, I'll throw in some mistakes of the same sort, especially regarding stems, and mark them with DS, but I'll also try to tell the (historically) correct Sindarin forms, marked with CS.

Thus, I would translate the names as follows:

  1. Firecarrier - Nargolon

  2. Determined spear - Einídhan(-nen)

2a. Determined bow - Pingnídhan(-nen) (CS)/Pengnídhan(-nen) (DS)

2b. Determined sword - Megillídhan(-nen)

2c. Determined oak - Doronnídhan(-nen)

  1. Forest wanderer - Taurrandir

3a. Son of the forest - Taurion

  1. Tall spear - Rodaith/Brannaith

  2. Silent watcher - Tirdínen/Cenordhínen

5a. Silent wanderer - Tirrandir/Cenorrandir

  1. Bold spear - Berinaith (CS)/Berenaith (DS)

6a. Bold sword - Berimmegil (CS)/Beremmegil (DS)

6b. Bold arrow - Berimbilin (CS)/Berembilin (DS)

  1. Steadfast oak - Doronhador/Doronnorn (CS)/Doronthorn (DS)

7a. Steadfast spear - Eithador/Eithorn

  1. Eager/fiery mind - Imbalch (CS)/Imbalc (DS)/Infair/(Imbara)

8a. Eager/fiery wanderer - Randirvalch (CS)/Randirvalc (DS)/Randirfair/(Randirvara)

8b. Eager/fiery spear - Eithvalch (CS)/Eithvalc (DS)/Feraith/(Eithvara)

You may still choose the CS forms; sometimes Dúnedain spoke Sindarin without mistakes/dialect, like in ú-chebin (where Gilraen could pronounce ch), Celebrindor (where the historically correct stem-form Celebrin- was employed), or Athrad Dhaer (where Daer was correctly mutated). The DS forms are just some mistakes, which a Dúnadan would have been very likely to do.

About 2: Einídhan is quite speculative; dh disappears before nasals (cf. Golovir<Golodhmír), but there are no Sindarin examples of th before nasals known to me. It could be Eithnídhan instead.

Also, Sindarin passive participles of a-verbs can end in -an or -annen. Choosing -annen is more common, but I think these words are already long enough and -an is possible too.

About 4: Brand (Brann-) is both metaphorical and physical greatness, but Raud (Rod-) is rather metaphorical greatness.

About 8: Before he wrote LotR, Tolkien used Bara for fiery/eager. After LotR, the root BARAS, from which Bara is derived, rather meant greatness, so, for the sake of LotR-style elvish, I'd avoid bara and rather use Fair (ready/prompt), or balch (fierce/ferocious). Bara might be able to mean both great and eager, or it might only mean great. Many Sindarin authors use Bara for eager. It might still be fine. We don't know. Fair and Balch are definitely safe, though with a slightly different meaning.

Cellindir #1300

Making translations to Sindarin are very difficult, as Elaran has pointed out many times.

Concerning some CS-corrections in your first paragraph, Tom, I don't understand your reasoning behind the "Dúnedain felt the same way, and making mistakes in regard to mutation, historical stems, or other historical rules is one of the key features of their dialect". The reason that for instance Fen Hollen is not Fen Chollen, is because the pronunciation of ch for some English speakers is hard to learn, so instead of pronouncing ch as /tʃ/, Tolkien opted for Hollen. This he did for some other words you mentioned also.

Your Angrinost is problematic as well, since it should still be Angrenost. The reason for this is that a-affection had already been taken place with angren (< angā + rin ( and, from Primitive Quendian), and the plural is indeed engrin.

On to your translations. Rather than pointing out the few mistakes , I simply corrected them. :)

  1. Carries the Fire (from The Road): Narcholon (< Narchol + -on) or Narchollon (< Narchol + -ron)

  2. Resolute Spear: Thannaith

    2a.Resolute Bow: Thanchu

    2b. Resolute Sword: Thammegil

    2c. Resolute Oak: Thannorn

  3. Forest Wanderer: Torrandir

    3a. Son of the Forest: Tórion or Torion

  4. Tall Spear: Halaith, or Tom's suggestions Brannaith or Rodaith (or Ródaith)

  5. Silent Watcher: Dindirron

    5a. Silent Wanderer: Didhrandir

  6. Bold Spear: Berenaith or Beraith

    6a. Bold Sword: Beremmegil or Bervegil

    6b. Bold Arrow: Berembilin(n/d) or Berphilin(n/d)

  7. Steadfast Oak: Boronnorn or Bordhorn

    7a. Steadfast Spear: Boronaith or Boraith

  8. Eager/Fiery Mind: Berin(n/d), or with the "heat" meaning Úrin(n/d)

    8a. Eager/Fiery Wanderer: Barrandir, or with the "heat" meaning Urrandir

    8b. Eager/ Fiery Spear: Baraith, or with the "heat" meaning Úraith

If Elaran reads this, he might correct me on some translations, for it has been a while since I translated to Sindarin -- mostly due to the sudden homeschooling.

Tom Bombadil #1301

Thanks a lot for giving a second opinion, I'm fine with most of your version too, though I'd say in many cases that mine are still possible alternatives. And you're right about Fen Hollen of course: Dúnedain do handle mutation differently because they can't pronounce certain sounds in their dialect.

Yet, I'd also say there are reasons not related to phonetics why Dúnedain make mistakes/alternative choices/whatever in mutation. I find at least Lond Daer and Imloth Melui are pretty unambiguous examples.

Anywhay, about the mutations, I was relying considerably on Fiona Jallings' Fan's Guide to Neosindarin (317/318), where she argues it were authentic for an uneducated Dúnadan to make mutation mistakes, for instance replacing liquid mutation with soft mutation (That and Narbeleth are for instance the reason why I said Nargolon, whereas if you use the root and liquid mutation, Narcholon is the correct Classical Sindarin term).

About the stems, I think there has been a misunderstanding, so allow me to explain my reasoning. When I said Angrenost should be Angrinost, I didn't mean every elf in the Third Age would have said Angrinost, I meant that if the compound were in the language since the early First Age, it should have developed into Angrinost instead. A-affection had of course long since taken place in the Third Age, yet it could only happen at the end of a word. Angarinā > Angarina > Angarena > Angaren > Angren. However, if we build the compound in Old-Sindarin, we would get Angarinostō > Angarinosto > Angarinost > Angrinost. The A would have disappeared, and even if it hadn't, A-affection doesn't take place in the middle of a word, but only if the -a is final.

We have several examples where interior A-affection has not taken place; Celebrimbor, Celebrindal, Celebrindor, Lórindol, Nebinnog, Thuringud, Thuringwethil

and some where it appears to have happened: Angrenost, Calembel, Calenardhon, Calenhad, Erebor, Mithrellas, Nibennog.

Now, I find it remarkable that nearly all those without A-affection are related to the First Age, while nearly all those containing A-affected stems are related to Gondor or at least the Second/Third Age. There are only two exceptions: first, Celebrindor, but that may have been analogy with Celebrimbor/Celebrindal (or some Arnorian being a language-historian), and second, Nibennog/Nebinnog, but Tolkien vacillated so much there that I wouldn't consider them here to build a theory.

In several dictionaries one will find (g)lórin, Thurin, or Celebrin, but in Sindarin they are, as far as I know, only attested in compounds, not as words. In the case of Celebrin-, Thurin-, we even have the Noldorin form Celebren and the Ilkorin Thúren as a word attested.

Finally, there is also one case where both forms are attested in Sindarin: Silivren/Silevren.

Thus it was my conclusion that in old compounds, where the first element had not yet undergone A-affection, it never would, whereas in modern compounds, especially from the Dúnedain, the A-affected forms were put together, ignoring the historical stem. Thus,

PQ Angā + -rinā + ostō > PQ Angarinostō > CS > Angrinost, while

CS Ang + -ren + ost > CS Angrenost.

Silevren/Silivren indicate in my opinion that using both is possible, just one form is more archaic than the other. Thus, I wanted to employ this as an archaism as often as possible. Besides, this is Neosindarin, so we can choose when the word entered the languages, and how educated the one inventing it was. If we're talking about late neologisms, then, as we both agree, one would use the a-affected stems - even though that doesn't make historical sense.

I see above that you rather use the roots instead of the adjectives (sometimes other roots than I did), and don't make Taur- an exception from au>o/ó because it's in the first syllable. That's fine too, of course. There's just one thing with which I would disagree: an 'o' in a later syllable would prevent au>o/ó in a former (, so I would rather stick with Taurion instead of Tórion/Torion. Besides, that would make it more like Tauriel.

Cellindir #1303

Soft mutation is also fine, as it's the standard for forming compounds; I prefer however the phonological development of r + c = rch.

I was indeed talking about Third Age Sindarin, since I focus on that. I don't understand your bringing up Nebinnog, for it's niben and not nebin: Nibinnog.

Had Isengard existed in the First Age, it would perhaps indeed have been Angrinost (or even Engrinost, with I-affection) in Sindarin, based on Iarwain (< jārwinjā = jārā + winjā) where the following elements merged with a "vowel + consonant" situation.

As seen in the entry about "au > o in polysyllablic words", the "If unstressed (e.g. in the final syllable of a polysyllable) au almost always reduced to short ŏ. The only exceptions were when there was an existing o or u in another syllable, where the reduction was inhibited: Gorthaur, Rhudaur." is under "Possible phonetic rules", and I consider these examples purely euphonic, as Gorthor and Rhudor do not really sound good.

Tom Bombadil #1305

Sure thing, late neologisms like Angrenost use A-affected stems. My point was just that many if not most of late Sindarin's compounds aren't late but early neologisms, which were already attested as compounds in Old-Sindarin. And at least the Gondorians are frequently seen to use respectively ancient terms already known from Beleriand, such as Túrin, Húrin, Denethor, Ecthelion, and Minas Tirith.

So, since Dúnedain can use compounds as ancient or even more ancient than from 7000 years ago, but can also form Third Age neologisms, I wanted to provide forms for both scenarios.

And nebinnog I brought up for the sake of a complete list and because I read it here, but as I said, there are so many alternative forms Tolkien gave that I wouldn't and didn't include it into an argument.