Beware, older languages below! The languages below were invented during Tolkien's earlier period and should be used with caution. Remember to never, ever mix words from different languages!

Qenya 


noun. rainbow, (lit.) sky-bridge, rainbow, (lit.) sky-bridge, *sky-joining

A noun in The Etymologies of the 1930s glossed “[lit.] ‘sky-bridge’, rainbow”, a combination of ᴹQ. helle “sky” and ᴹQ. yanwe “bridge, joining” (Ety/ƷEL).

Conceptual Development: Early Qenya “rainbow” words from the 1910s were mostly tied to Qenya forms of the name {G. Cris a Teld Quing Ilon >>} G. Cris Ilbranteloth “Gully of the Rainbow Roof”: either ᴱQ. iluqin(ga) “✱(lit). sky bow” = ilu + qinga “bow” or ᴱQ. ilweran(ta) “(lit.) bridge of heaven” = ilwe + ranta “bridge” (QL/42). Only ᴱQ. {ukko >>} ukku “rainbow” from the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s was unrelated to this name, being derived from the early root ᴱ√UQU “wet” instead (QL/98).

The form helyanwe from The Etymologies (with cognate N. eilianw) was probably connected to the name of that same pass had in the early 1930s: Cirith Helvin “Rainbow Cleft” (SM/146, 193). In later writings, Tolkien changed the Sindarin name of the pass to S. Cirith Ninniach “Rainbow Cleft” (S/238; WJ/299), but gave no Quenya equivalent.

Neo-Quenya: For purposes of Neo-Quenya, I’d stick with helyanwe as the best available word for “rainbow”. In later writings, yanwë no longer meant “bridge” (that became Q. yanta), but it still meant “joining” (VT49/45), and so this word could be used unmodified with a literal sense of “✱sky-joining”.


  • On. elyanme “rainbow, (lit.) sky-bridge” ✧ Ety/ƷEL
  • N. eilian(w) “rainbow, (lit.) sky-bridge” ✧ Ety/ƷEL


yanwe“bridge, joining, isthmus”