eldanoun. Elf, (lit.) one of the Star-folk
The most common Quenya word for “Elf”. Its literal meaning is “one of the Star-folk” (WJ/374), a name given to them by Oromë (S/49) and derived from the same primitive root √EL as Q. elen “star”. Strictly speaking, this term excludes the Avari who chose not to journey to Valinor, so that the proper term for all of Elvenkind is Q. Quendë “one of the Elven race”. The Elves of the West rarely encountered the Avari, however, so that term Elda was ordinarily broad enough to describe all Elves.
Conceptual Development: This word dates back to the earliest stages of Tolkien’s languages. At its first appearance, ᴱQ. Elda was glossed “a beach-fay” (QL/35), but was soon extended to describe all Elves (LT1/113). In Tolkien’s earliest writings the word was not given a clear etymology. In the Lhammas “Account of Tongues” from the 1930s (LR/168-180), Tolkien gave ᴹQ. Elda the sense of “one who departed” (LR/169), as opposed to the ᴹQ. Lembi “Lingerers” who remained behind (precursors of the Avari). With this sense, Elda was derived from ᴹ√LED “go, fare, travel” (Ety/LED).
Tolkien soon revised the etymology of Elda so that it was derived instead from ᴹ√ELED “star-folk” (Ety/ELED). In some later writings, he considered both etymologies of this word to be valid, so that Elda was blending of both “star-folk” (from √EL) and Q. Eldo “marcher” (from √LED or √DEL), as discussed in the “Quendi and Eldar” essay from 1959-60 and elsewhere (WJ/362-3, PE17/139). However, the sense “star-folk” is probably better known.
In some notes from 1957, Tolkien considered deriving this word from a variant root √DEL “fair” so that its meaning would be “the fair” (PE17/151), but this seems to have been a transient idea.
quendënoun. Elf, (lit.) One That Speaks
quendë noun "Elf", the little-used analogical sg. of Quendi, q.v. (KWEN(ED), WJ:361)
†él noun "star", pl. éli given (WJ:362, EL)
eldaof the stars
elda 1. originally adj. "of the stars", but wholly replaced (WJ:362) by: 2. noun (Elda) = one of the people of the Stars, (high-)elf, an Elf (SA:êl, elen, Letters:281, ELED, ÉLED; notice that Tolkien abandoned a former etymology with "depart"), chiefly in the pl. Eldar (WJ:362, cf. GAT(H), TELES).The primitive form Tolkien variously cited as ¤eledā / elenā(Letters:281, PE17:152) and ¤eldā(WJ:360). Partitive pl. Eldali (VT49:8), gen. pl. Eldaron (WJ:368, PM:395, 402);dative pl.eldain "for elves", for Eldar (FS); possessive sg. Eldava "Elf's" (WJ:407); possessive pl. Eldaiva (WJ:368), Eldaivë governing a plural word (WJ:369). The word Eldar properly refers to the non-Avari Elves only, but since Eldar rarely had any contact with the Avari, it could be used for "elves" in general (in LT1:251, Elda is simply glossed "Elf"). See also Eldo. The plural form Eldar should not require any article when the reference is to the entire people; i Eldar refers to a limited group, "(all) the Elves previously named"; nevertheless, Tolkien in some sources does use the article even where the reference seems to be generic (i Eldar or i-Eldar, VT49:8).
elen noun "star" (SA:êl, elen, EL, VT49:39); pl. eleni (occasionally in verse: eldi) (WJ:362, PE17:127); partitive pl. elelli for elenli (PE17:127), gen. pl. elenion in the phrase Elenion Ancalima "brightest of stars" (LotR2:IV ch. 9; see Letters:385 for translation); elen atta "two stars" (VT49:44), genitive elen atto "of two stars" (VT49:45), eleni neldë "three stars", archaic elenion neldë = "of stars three". Genitive "of 3 stars" = elenion neldë (for archaic elenion neldëo) (VT49:45). Allative elenna "starwards" used as name of Númenor _(Silm; see Elenna)_; ablative pl. elenillor "from stars" in Markirya. **Nai elen siluva ***"may a star shine", VT49:38.
Elessar masc. name "Elf-stone" (Elen + sar, actually "Star-stone", cf. Elendil concerning elen "star" being used to mean "Elf") (LotR3:V ch. 8). Genitive Elesarno _(VT49:28, read _Elessarno?) indicates that the stem is -sarn-. As a common noun, elessar or "elf-stone" may signify "beryl" (in the chapter Flight to the Ford in the LotR, Aragorn finds "a single pale-green jewel" and declares: "It is a beryl, an elf-stone"). Elessar as a name may also be seen as a pun or variant of Elesser "Elf-friend".
elenaof the stars
elena adj. "of the stars" (SA:êl, elen); also elenya
[heldo, also helmo, fem. heldë, noun "friend" (VT46:3)]
meldo noun "friend, lover". _(VT45:34, quoting a deleted entry in the Etymologies, but cf. the pl. #_meldor in Eldameldor "Elf-lovers", WJ:412) **Meldonya *"my friend" (VT49:38, 40). It may be that meldo is the distinctly masculine form, corresponding to feminine #meldë** (q.v.)
#meldë noun "friend", feminine (meldenya "my friend" in the Elaine inscription [VT49:40], Tolkien referring to Elaine Griffiths). Compare meldo.
Elendil masc. name"Star-friend", "Lover or student of stars", applied to those devoted to astronomical lore. However, when the Edain used this name they intended it to mean "Elf-friend", confusing elen "star" and elda "elf" (WJ:410). (This idea that the name was misapplied seems to be late; Tolken earlier interpreted the name as an ancient compound Eled + ndil so that the meaning really was "Elf-friend"; see Letters:386. See also NIL/NDIL in the Etymologies, where Elendil is equated with "Ælfwine", Elf-friend.) Allative Elendilenna "to Elendil" (PM:401); Elendil Vorondo genitive of Elendil Voronda "Elendil the Steadfast" _(CO) Pl. Elendili the Númenórean Elf-friends (Silm)_; the variant Elendilli in SD:403 would seem to presuppose a stem-form Elendill- not attested elsewhere. Tar-Elendil a Númenorean king, UT:210.
avarproper name. Refuser, Elf who did not journey to Aman
The Elves who refused to journey to Aman, an agental formation of the ancient verb ava- “to refuse” with the common agental suffix -r(o) (VT47/13, WJ/371). This name most frequently appeared in its plural form Avari referring to this entire people (S/52).
Conceptual Development: The name ᴹQ. Avar(o) first appeared in plural form * in Tolkien’s linguistic notes from the 1930s with the gloss “The Departing”, and referred to those elves who left Middle Earth, whereas those who remained were referred to by the earlier name the ᴹQ. Lembi “Lingerers” (LR/169-170). Tolkien soon revised this name to refer to the Elves who remained behind, effectively replacing the term Lembi (LR/200). This name appeared in The Etymologies* with essentially the same derivation as given above (Ety/AB).
quentaronoun. speaker, reciter, *[ᴹQ.] narrator, *minstrel
-ser noun "friend" (SER)
lemen, alternative cardinal "five" (VT48:6, 20); the word normally appears as lempë, but compare lemenya below.
lempë cardinal "five" (LEP/LEPEN/LEPEK, GL:53, VT42:24, VT47:10, 24); lempëa ordinal "fifth", an analogical formation replacing older lemenya, in turn altered from the historically "correct" form lepenya because of analogy with the cardinal lempë "five" (VT42:25; Vanyarin Quenya maintained lepenya, VT42:26)
ílë noun "star" (LT1:269; rather elen, él in LotR-style Quenya.)
-ndil (also -dil) ending occurring in many names, like Amandil, Eärendil; it implies devotion or disinterested love and may be translated "friend" (SA:(noun)dil); this ending is "describing the attitude of one to a person, thing, course or occupation to which one is devoted for its own sake" (Letters:386). Compare -ndur. It is unclear whether the names derived with the ending -ndil are necessarily masculine, though we have no certain example of a woman's name in -ndil; the name Vardilmë (q.v.) may suggest that the corresponding feminine ending is -(n)dilmë.
alqua noun "swan" _(ÁLAK [there spelt _alqa, as in LT1:249/LT2:335], SA:alqua, UT:265, VT42:7). The alternative form alquë ("q") mentioned in early material (LT1:249) may or may not be valid in LotR-style Quenya.
málonoun. friend, comrade
málo noun "friend" (MEL, VT49:22)
nildo noun "friend" (apparently masc.; contrast nildë) (NIL/NDIL)
nildë noun "friend" (fem.) (NIL/NDIL)
nilmo noun "friend" (apparently masc.) (NIL/NDIL)
sermo noun "friend" (evidently masc., since sermë is stated to be fem.) (SER)
sermë noun "friend" (fem.) (SER)
seron noun "friend" (SER)
-ndur (also -dur), ending in some names, like Eärendur; as noted by Christopher Tolkien in the Silmarillion Appendix it has much the same meaning as -ndil "friend"; yet -ndur properly means "servant of" (SA:(noun)dil), "as one serves a legitimate master: cf. Q. arandil king's friend, royalist, beside arandur 'king's servant, minister'. But these often coincide: e.g. Sam's relation to Frodo can be viewed either as in status -ndur, in spirit -ndil." (Letters:286)
[sondo noun "friend" (VT46:15)]
speaker, reciter, minstrel
* meldonoun. friend, lover