Primitive elvish


root. brownish red

The root ᴹ√RUS “flash, glitter of metal” appeared in The Etymologies of the 1930s with derivatives ᴹQ. russe “corruscation, †sword-blade” and N. †rhoss “polished metal” where it served as the basis for the second element of the name Maidhros “Pale-glitter” or (Anglicanized) Maidros (Ety/RUS; MAD). In The Shibboleth of Fëanor from 1968, the second element of the names S. Maedros and S. Amros were explained as S. ross < ✶russā referring to their red-brown hair (PM/353, 366; VT41/10). A related etymological note stated:

> Common Eldarin (u)rus [was] used of a varying brownish red from what we should call brick-red to auburn. Hence Quenya, Telerin urus (stem urust-), Sindarin rust “copper”, rustui adj.; Quenya {ruska “red-brown”} rusko “a fox” (rusku-, pl. rusqui; ruskuite “foxy”). (calarus(t)- polished copper, lairus(t) verdigris). russe a head or pelt of red hair, russa red-haired. S. rusc fox, ross ([primitive] russā) red-haired, copper coloured, especially used of animals, as fox, red deer, and [?similar kind] (VT41/10).

This use of √(U)RUS as brownish-red is not entirely without precedent: in The Etymologies of the 1930s Tolkien gave the “root” (more likely just a primitive form) ᴹ√RUSKĀ with derivative N. rhosc “brown” (Ety/RUSKĀ), the basis for the name N. Rhosgobel “Brownhay” from Lord of the Ring drafts from the 1940s (TI/164), later translated as “russet village or ‘town’ (enclosure)” (RC/241). However in notes also associated with The Shibboleth of Fëanor, Tolkien gave the root √URUN = “copper” apparently as an extension of √RUN “red, glowing”, part of an explanation of the sobriquet of Nerdanel’s father: Q. Urundil “Copper-lover” (PM/366).

Neo-Eldarin: For purposes of Neo-Eldarin, I think it is best to assume 1930s ᴹ√RUS “flash, glitter of metal” was discarded in favor of 1968 √RUS “brownish red”. I’d also use √RUS as the basis for copper words rather than √URUN.


  • ᴹ✶ruskā “brown”
    • On. ruska “brown” ✧ Ety/RUSKĀ
    • N. rhosc “russet, brown” ✧ Ety/RUSKĀ
  • russā “red-haired, copper-coloured”
    • Q. russa “red-haired”
    • S. ross “red-haired, copper-coloured” ✧ PM/366; VT41/10
  • Q. rusca “red-brown” ✧ VT41/10
  • Q. rusco “fox” ✧ VT41/10
  • Q. russë “head or pelt of red hair” ✧ VT41/10
  • Q. urus “copper” ✧ VT41/10
  • S. rhosc “russet, russet, [N.] brown”
  • S. ross “red-haired, copper-coloured” ✧ VT41/10
  • S. rusc “fox” ✧ VT41/10
  • S. rust “copper” ✧ VT41/10
  • T. urus “copper” ✧ VT41/10


  • (u)rus ✧ VT41/10
Primitive elvish [VT41/10] Group: Eldamo. Published by