An Elf of the second tribe, known as “The Wise” (WJ/383). Their name developed from the primitive root √ÑGOL¹ having to do with wisdom (PM/360, WJ/383).
Conceptual Development: The name ᴱQ. Noldo dates back to the earliest Lost Tales, and in the Qenya Lexicon from the 1910s, where it already had the derivation given above (QL/67). In Tolkien’s earlier writings, he often translated this name as “Gnome”, in the sense of the Greek origin of this word (having to do with thought and wisdom) rather than that of a dwarf-like creature. This translation of ᴹQ. Noldo continued to appear in Silmarillion drafts from the 1930s (LR/201), but became less common in Tolkien’s later writings, and was not used in the published version of The Silmarillion.
In notes from the 1950s, Tolkien considered an alternate etymology of this name from the root √ÑGOL² “dark-hued, dark-brown” referring to their dark hair (PE17/125), just as the tribal name of the Vanya referred to their fair hair. Presumably he considered this alternate origin because the newly-awakened Noldor would not yet have been known for their wisdom, but there is no evidence that this alternate etymology was anything other than a transient idea.