Quenya 



cas ("k")"head" (VT49:17), cf. also deleted [cas] ("k")noun "top, summit" (VT45:19). This noun should evidently have the stem-form car-. See cár.


noun. head, head, [ᴱQ.] top, summit

This is the Quenya word for “head”, with a stem form of car- because medial s generally became z and then r, but the s was preserved when final. This word can refer to the head of people and animals, as well as the metaphorical “head” (or top) of other things, in much the same way that Q. tál “foot” can refer to their base.

Conceptual Development: This word was established very early in Tolkien’s writing, being derived from the root ᴱ√KASA “head” all the way back in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s (QL/45), but its exact form varied as Tolkien changed his mind on the phonetic development of s in Quenya. Its form in the Qenya Lexicon was in fact ᴱQ. kar (kas-), since in Early Qenya period medial s survived and it was final s that became r (PE12/26). This kar (kas-) was the usual word for head in the 1910s and 20s, but in the typescript version of the Early Qenya Grammar Tolkien instead revised it to ᴱQ. kas (kast-) “head” (PE14/72 and note #5).

In noun declensions from the late 1920s and early 1930s, Tolkien instead had cas (car-), reflecting a conceptual shift in the phonologic development of s (PE13/112-113; PE21/22). However, for reasons unclear, the form ᴹQ. kár (kas-) was restored in The Etymologies written around 1937 under the root ᴹ√KAS “head” (Ety/KEM), despite s > z > r being the normal medial phonetic development in this period (PE19/33). This abnormal form slipped into The Lord of the Rings itself as part of the name Q. Eldacar “Elfhelm” (LotR/1038).

Tolkien generally used the form cas for “head” in his later writings (PE19/103; VT49/17), but in his notes on Words, Phrases and Passages from The Lord of the Rings from the late 1950s or early 1960s, Tolkien was forced to contrive another explanation for Eldacar:

> What is -kar in names. How could it stand for helm? E.g. as stem ✱kāsā (√KAS, head) would give kāra, but in compound forms -kāsă > -kas. Would not an ă be lost before voicing of s or at least before z > r (PE17/114).

In this note Tolkien considered having Q. carma “helm” < kas-mā, but discarded the idea since he felt karma “tool or weapon” < KAR “do, make” + was the more likely meaning. He then said “Eldă|kāzā in compounds to -kār(ă) > -kar” despite its phonological implausibility, and indeed kāza/kára appeared in a discussion of helms within 1964 notes on Dalath Dirnen (DD: PE17/188).

As for the sense “top”, there is better evidence for it among Tolkien’s earlier writings, such as the glosses “head, top” in Early Qenya Grammar of the 1920s (PE14/79) and the early-1930s allative form kasta “up (to the top)” (PE21/22). I see no reason to assume this alternate meaning did not survive in Tolkien’s later conception of the language.


  • kas “head” ✧ PE17/188
    • KAS “head”

Element in

  • ᴺQ. candóla “crown of head”
  • Q. carma “helm”
  • ᴺQ. caraxo “skull, *(lit.) head-bone”
  • ᴺQ. quaccas “tadpole, (lit.) frog head”

Phonetic Developments

kāza > kára[kāsa] > [kāza] > [kāra]✧ PE17/188


  • kára ✧ PE17/188
  • kas ✧ PE19/103; VT49/17
Quenya [PE17/188; PE19/103; VT49/17] Group: Eldamo. Published by



cár (cas-) ("k")noun "head" (KAS).The given stem-form appears doubtful within the phonological framework of LotR-style Quenya. Probably we should read cas with stem car- (PE14:69 indeed reads "kas head, pl. kari", and VT49:17 quotes the sg. "kas" from a post-LotR source). Compare other forms found in late sources: hlas "ear" with stem hlar- (PE17:62) and olos "dream", pl. olori (UT:396). In Tolkiens early "Qenya", post-vocalic -s became -r at the end of words but was preserved when another vowel followed. His later scheme either lets -r appear in both positions, or reverses the scenario altogether (hence olos, olor-). It would seem that the forms cár, cas- were distractedly carried over into the Etymologies from the Qenya Lexicon (kar, kas-, QL:45) even though they presuppose an earlier version of the phonology. An apparent variant form in late material, cára from earlier cáza ("k"), however fits the later phonology since intervocalic s would become z > r (PE17:188).


noun. head



-ya (4) pronominal suffix "his" (and probably also "her, its"), said to be used in "colloquial Quenya" (which had redefined the "correct" ending for this meaning, -rya, to mean "their" because it was associated with the plural ending -r). Hence e.g. cambeya ("k") "his hand", yulmaya "his cup" (VT49:17) instead of formally "correct" forms in -rya. The ending -ya was actually ancient, primitive ¤- being used for "all numbers" in the 3rd person, predating elaborated forms like -rya. It is said that -ya "remained in Quenya" in the case of "old nouns with consonantal stems", Tolkien listing tál "foot", cas "head", nér "man", sír "river" and macil "sword" as examples. He refers to "the continued existence of such forms as talya his foot", that could apparently be used even in "correct" Quenya (VT49:17). In PE17:130, the forms talya "his foot" and macilya ("k") "his (or their) sword" are mentioned.


his, her

-rya 3rd person sg. pronominal ending "his, her" and probably "its" (VT49:16, 38, 48, Nam, RGEO:67), attested in coivierya *"his/her life", máryat "her hands", ómaryo "of her voice" (genitive of *ómarya "her voice"), súmaryassë "in her bosom" (locative of súmarya "her bosom"); for the meaning "his" cf. coarya "his house" (WJ:369). The ending is descended from primitive ¤-sjā via -zya (VT49:17) and therefore connects with the 3rd person ending -s "he, she, it". In colloquial Quenya the ending -rya could be used for "their" rather than "his/her", because it was felt to be related to the plural ending -r,e.g. símaryassen "in their [not his/her] imaginations" (VT49:16, 17). See -ya #4.


his, her, its

-zya, archaic form of the pronominal ending -rya "his, her, its", q.v. (VT49:17)


noun. skull



  • KOR “round, round; [ᴱ√] be round, roll”
Quenya Group: Eldamo - fan inventions. Published by


noun. skull

Helge Fauskanger proposed the neologism ᴺQ. caraxo “skull = head bone” for his NQNT (NQNT), but Damien Bador instead used ᴺQ. coropë < √KOR “round”, adapted from Gnomish G. corob “skull”. I prefer Bador’s solution, with the caveat that I think it would likely undergo the Quenya syncope and become ᴺQ. corpë instead, as pointed out by Röandil in a Discord chat from 2021-06-08.



  • KOR “round, round; [ᴱ√] be round, roll”
Quenya Group: Eldamo - fan inventions. Published by