Quenya 


noun. mother

Tolkien used a number of similar forms for “mother” for most of his life. The earliest of these are ᴱQ. amis (amits-) “mother” in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s along with variants ᴱQ. ambi, âmi, amaimi under the root ᴱ√AMA (QL/30). An additional variant ammi appeared in the Poetic and Mythological Words of Eldarissa (PME/30). In Early Qenya Word-lists of the 1920s Tolkien had ᴱQ. ambe or mambe “mother” (PE16/135). This became ᴹQ. amil “mother” in The Etymologies under the root ᴹ√AM “mother” (Ety/AM¹).

This 1930s form amil appears to have survived for some time. It appeared in a longer form Amille in Quenya Prayers of the 1950s (VT43/26; VT44/12, 18), and as an element in the term amilessi “mother-names” in a late essay on Elvish naming (MR/217). In the initial drafts of Elvish Hands, Fingers and Numerals from the late 1960s Tolkien used the form amilye or amye as an affectionate word for “mother”, and amaltil as the finger name for the second finger (VT47/26-27 note #34 and #35).

However, in those documents Tolkien seems to have revised the root for “mother” from √AM to √EM and the affectionate forms from amye to emya or emme (VT47/10; VT48/6, 19). The revised word for “mother” appears to be emil based on the 1st person possessive form emil(inya) (VT47/26).

Neo-Quenya: For purposes of Neo-Quenya, I prefer to retain the root √AM for “mother”, since that is what Tolkien used for 50 years, and ignore the very late change to √EM. As such, I would recommend amil(le) for “mother” and affectionate forms amme “mommy” and amya. However, if you prefer to use Tolkien’s “final” forms, then emil(le), emme and emya seem to be what Tolkien adopted in the late 1960s.


  • S. emel “mother”


  • amal “mother”
    • AM “mother” ✧ VT48/19; VT48/19

Element in


  • Amille ✧ VT44/18
Quenya [VT44/18; VT47/26] Group: Eldamo. Published by



amilyë or milyë (cited as (a)milyë), noun "mummy", also used as a play-name of the index finger, but Tolkien emended it to emmë, emya. (VT48:4) In its basic sense, (a)milyë would be a variant of amil, amillë "mother", q.v.



amil noun "mother" (AM1), also emil (q.v.) Longer variant amillë (VT44:18-19), compounded Eruamillë "Mother of God" in Tolkien's translation of the Hail Mary (VT43:32). If amil is a shortened form of amillë, it should probably have the stem-form amill-. Also compare amilyë, amya, emya. Compounded amil- in amilessë noun "mothername" (cf. essë "name"), name given to a child by its mother, sometimes with prophetic implications (amilessi tercenyë "mother-names of insight"). (MR:217).


mother, mummy

mamil noun *"mother, mummy" (UT:191)



amal noun "mother"; also emel (VT48:22, 49:22); the form amil (emil) seems more usual.



ammë noun "mother" (AM1)



emil noun "mother", emilinya "my mother" (also reduced to emya) the terms a child would use in addressing his or her mother (VT47:26). Emil would seem to be a variant of amil. Also compare emel.


noun. mother



ontaril noun "mother", female *"begetter" (cf. onta-). Variant of ontarë. (VT43:32)



emel noun "mother"; also amal (VT48:22, 49:22); the form amil (emil) seems more usual.



ontari noun "mother" or etymologically "begetter, parent" (fem.); clashing with the plural ontari "parents", this was apparently an emphemeral form (see ontarë, ontaril, ontarië for other feminine forms of "begetter, parent") (VT44:7)



emmë (1) noun "mummy", hypocoristic form of "mother", also used in children's play for "index finger" and "index toe" (VT47:10, 26, VT48:4, 6, 17, 19). Also emya.



emya noun "mummy", also used in children's play for "index finger" and "index toe" (VT47:10, 26, VT48:4, 6). Said to be a reduction of emenya *"my mother", seemingly presupposing #emë as a word for "mother" (but this word normally appears as emil or amil, incorporating a feminine ending). In VT48:19, emya is explained as deriving from em-nya "my mother". Compare emmë # 2.