noun. a kinsman of Thingol
#high silver; celeb (silver) + orn (from PQ *ornē “uprising, tall”) Reinterpreted from earlier “silver tree”; celeb (“silver”) + orn (“tree”); S equivalent of Tel. Teleporno.
proper name. Tree of Silver
Conceptual Development: The name N. Celeborn appeared in Silmarillion drafts from the 1930s with the translation “Tree of Silver” (LR/210).
Word Gloss celeb “silver” orn “(tall) tree”
- Celeborn ✧ MR/155; MRI/Celeborn; PE17/112; SA/celeb; SA/orn; SI/Celeborn¹; UT/266; UTI/Celeborn¹
masculine name. Silver-tree; Silver Tall
The husband of Galadriel and ruler of Lórien. His name can variously be interpreted as “Silver-tree” (NM/349) or “Silver-tall” (NM/352). His hair was silver (LotR/354), which may have been an aspect of his name as Galadriel’s golden hair was of hers.
Possible Etymology: The etymology of Celeborn’s name is a bit confused, since Tolkien changed his mind on its meaning. It is very likely when Tolkien invented the name he interpretted it as “Silver-tree”, a compound of S. celeb “silver” and orn “tree”, and that was the meaning Tolkien initially gave it in notes from 1968 (NM/349). But in later these notes, he decided that the second element of the name was derived from ancient ✶ornā “tall” (NM/350), so that the meaning of these name was actually “Silver-tall” (NM/352 note #8).
In The Lord of the Rings and the published version of The Silmarillion, Celeborn was a kinsman of Thingol in Doriath and therefore a Sindarin elf, and Galadriel met him in Beleriand (LotR/1082, S/115). However, in the aformentioned 1968 note and other writings from this period, Celeborn was a Telerin of Valinor and came with Galadriel to Middle-earth (NM/349-352; UT/233; PM/347). In this revised scenario, we have the clearest explanations of both Celeborn’s and Galadriel’s names, ultimately derived from the Telerin names T. Teleporno and T. Alatáriel, respectively. However, this scenario clashes badly with the narratives in the published Silmarillion.
Even if you assume that Celeborn was Sindarin, his name could still be “derived” from T. Teleporno in the sense that it was derived from the Ancient Telerin name of the same meaning. In this scenario, Galadriel could have gotten her Telerin name Alatáriel due to the influence of her mother Eärwen, who was herself Telerin.
Conceptual Development: See N. Keleborn for a discussion of earlier forms of this name.
Word Gloss celeb “silver” ornā “uprising, tall”
- Celeborn ✧ Let/425; LotRI/Celeborn; MRI/Celeborn; NM/349; NM/350; NM/352; PMI/Celeborn; S/115; SDI1/Celeborn²; SI/Celeborn²; UT/233; UT/266; UTI/Celeborn²; UTI/Teleporno; WJI/Celeborn; WRI/Celeborn
Celeborn is a Sindarin name, consisting of celeb ("silver") + a derivative of ornā ("tall"). Teleporno, his original Telerin name, has an identical meaning. The name Teleporno was "Sindarized" as Celeborn: Telerin telpe ("silver") (Quenya tyelpe) was transformed to Sindarin celeb. He was given the epithet "the Wise" by Galadriel in The Lord of the Rings.