Quenya 



felya noun "cave" (PHÉLEG), "mine, boring, tunnel, underground dwel[ling]" (PE17:118)


noun. mine, boring, tunnel, underground dwel[ling], mine, boring, tunnel, underground dwelling; [ᴹQ.] cave

A word for “mine, boring, tunnel, underground dwel[ling]” in Notes on Names (NN) from 1957 with Sindarin cognate S. fela, both derived from ✶phelgā (PE17/118). In the same note Tolkien seemed to consider replacing it with felco “cave, mine, underground dwelling” from the root √PHELEK.

Conceptual Development: A similar word ᴹQ. felya “cave” appeared in The Etymologies of the 1930s derived from the root ᴹ√PHELEG, with cognate N. fela (Ety/PHÉLEG). The latter form also appeared in notes from 1969 as S. fela “minor excavations, den”, again derived from ✶phelga indicating √PHELEK was a transient idea (NM/304).

Neo-Quenya: I prefer the root form √PHELEG over √PHELEK and thus would retain felya, but I would keep its 1957 meaning “mine, boring, tunnel” rather than adopting the 1969 Sindarin sense “den”.


  • S. fela “mine, boring, tunnel, underground dwelling; minor excavations, den, mine, boring, tunnel, underground dwelling; minor excavations, den; [N.] cave” ✧ PE17/118


  • phelgā “mine, boring, tunnel, underground dwel[ling]; minor excavations, temporary dwellings” ✧ PE17/118
    • PHELEGexcavation, excavation; [ᴹ√] cave” ✧ NM/304; PE17/118

Phonetic Developments

phelgā > felya[pʰelgā] > [ɸelgā] > [ɸelɣā] > [ɸeljā] > [ɸelja] > [felja]✧ PE17/118


cave, mine, underground dwelling

felco noun "cave, mine, underground dwelling" (PE17:118); also felca, felehta



rotelë noun "cave" (LT2:347)


cave, tunnel

rotto noun "cave, tunnel" (VT46:12), "a small grot or tunnel" (PM:365)