The first lord of the Noldor (S/52). His name is an ancient compound of uncertain meaning. Its final element is the suffix -wë common in ancient names (PM/340). Its initial element is probably derived from the root √PHIN “clever, skillful” (PE17/17, Ety/PHIN), though it was sometimes affiliated with derivatives of the root √SPIN(ID) “fine thread, filament; hair” (PE17/17, 119) after it developed in Common Eldarin into phin- (PM/340).
His name appears as an element in the Quenya names of many of his children and grandchildren, either incorporated directly or alluded too via the element findë “hair” < √SPIN(ID), as in Findecáno (PM/345). In the Sindarin names of his descendants, the element S. fin also alluded to his name (VT41/10).
Conceptual Development: This name appears in the earliest Lost Tales in exactly the same form, though ᴱQ. Finwe was not at first the father of Feanor (LT1/115, 145). Christopher Tolkien suggested the earliest form of this name was derived from the root ᴱ√FINI “✱cunning” (LT1A/Finwë). In The Etymologies, the name ᴹQ. Finwe is given as an ancient combination of the roots ᴹ√PHIN and ᴹ√WEG (Ety/PHIN, WEG), basically the same as its later derivation.
Finwë masc. name, apparently displaying the frequent ending -wë suffixed to a stem normally having to do with hair, but the name is obscure (see Tolkien's discussion in PM:340-341). Also in Etym (PHIN, WEG). According to VT46:9, Finwë was also the name of tengwa #10 in the pre-classical Tengwar system presupposed in the Etymologies, but Tolkien would later call #10 formen instead.