Primitive elvish


root. blessed; treat with awe/reverence, blessed; treat with awe/reverence; [ᴱ√] honour, revere

The root √AYA and its extended form √AYAN were associated with “holy” and “blessed” things all the way back in Tolkien’s earliest conception of the languages. It appeared as ᴱ√AY̯A “honour, revere” in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s with derivatives like ᴱQ. Ainu/Aini “god/goddess” and adjectives ᴱQ. aina or ᴱQ. aira “holy” (QL/34). Gnomish equivalents appeared in the contemporaneous Gnomish Lexicon such as G. ain “god” and adjectives aistog “holy” or †air(in) (GL/18).

The Etymologies of the 1930s gave this root as ᴹ√AYAN with very similar derivatives ᴹQ. Ainu, Aini and aina (Ety/AYAN), except Ainu/Aini was translated “holy one, angelic spirit (m./f.)” reflecting Tolkien’s evolving conception of his Legendarium. In this period there was an unaugmented variant ᴹ√YAN with the derivatives ᴹQ. yána/N. iaun “holy place” (Ety/YAN). It is not clear whether the short form √AYA was valid in this period; there is nothing like aira “holy”, for example.

The root √AYA and √AYA-N reappeared in etymological notes from the late 1950s, variously glossed “blessed” or “treat with awe/reverence” (PE17/147, 149). The (re)appearance Q. airë “holy, holiness”, Q. aira “holy”, and S. aer “holy” in later writing beside Ainu/Aini further support the reintroduction of the short form of this root.

Neo-Eldarin: For purposes of Neo-Eldarin, the continued use of the root √AYA in Tolkien’s later writing might be used to justify the restoration of a number of religious words derived from the early root ᴱ√AYA in the 1910s.


  • airē “holiness, sanctity” ✧ PE17/149; VT43/14
    • Q. airë “holy; sanctity, holiness” ✧ PE17/149; VT43/14
  • áyan “holy thing or object or place” ✧ PE17/149
    • Q. aian “holy thing or object or place” ✧ PE17/149
  • ayanā “to hallow, bless, treat as holy” ✧ PE17/149
    • Q. aina- “to hallow, bless, treat as holy” ✧ PE17/149
  • Q. aina “holy, revered, numinous, holy, revered, numinous, *divine, [ᴱQ.] worshipful” ✧ PE17/149; PE17/149; VT43/14
    • Q. Ainu “holy one, spirit, holy one, angelic spirit (m.); [ᴱQ.] (pagan) god” ✧ PE17/149
  • Q. ainas “hallow, fane, hallow, fane, *shrine, holy place, sanctuary” ✧ PE17/149
  • ᴺQ. aino “god”
  • Q. Ainu “holy one, spirit, holy one, angelic spirit (m.); [ᴱQ.] (pagan) god” ✧ PE17/146; PE17/149
  • Q. aira “holy, sanctified, holy, sanctified, [ᴱQ.] worshipful” ✧ PE17/027
  • Q. airë “holy; sanctity, holiness” ✧ PE17/146; PE17/149
  • Q. aista “*holy”
  • Q. aiya “hail; behold, lo” ✧ PE17/146; PE17/149
  • ᴺS. aenor “god”
  • S. aer “*hallowed, holy”

Element in

  • ᴺQ. aimahto “martyr, (lit.) blessed slain”
  • ᴺQ. aimo “saint”
  • ᴺQ. aipio “cherry”
  • ᴺQ. aita- “to revere, worship”
  • ᴺS. aebin “cherry (tree)”
  • ᴺS. aeda- “to revere, worship”
  • ᴺS. Aeni “(female) angel”
  • ᴺS. Aenu “(male) angel”


  • AYA ✧ PE17/027; PE17/146; PE17/149; PE17/149
  • AYA-N ✧ PE17/145
  • aya ✧ VT43/14
Primitive elvish [PE17/027; PE17/145; PE17/146; PE17/149; VT43/14] Group: Eldamo. Published by