cirith (“pass, cleft”), thoron (“eagle”) + ath (collective plural suffix)
noun. pass of eagles
place name. Eagles’ Cleft
Conceptual Development: In the earliest Lost Tales, this pass was called G. Cristhorn (LT2/191), a combination of G. cris(s) “cleft” and G. thorn “eagle” (GL/27, 73). In Silmarillion drafts from the 1930s, the name generally appeared as N. Cristhorn (SM/308, LR/142), but in the period Tolkien also considered various alternatives such as N. Cristhoron with N. thoron “eagle” (Ety/KIRIS), Cilthoron(dor) with N. cîl “cleft” (Ety/KIL) and in one place an early appearance of its later name Kirith-thoronath (SM/146).
The name was revised to Cirith Thoronath in the texts used for the published version of The Silmarillion, but the earlier form (Cristhorn) appeared in a late essay on Glorfindel (PM/379), so perhaps Tolkien had ongoing uncertainty about this name.
Word Gloss cirith “cleft, ravine, defile, cleft, ravine, defile, [N.] pass” thoron “eagle”
- Kirith-thoronath ✧ SMI/Cristhorn; SMI/Kirith-thoronath