Quenya 


(the) world

Ilu noun "(the) world" (FS, LR:47, 56), "universe" (IL); ilu "everything, all, the whole" (of the universe also including God and all souls and spirits, which are not properly included in the term ; see VT39:20, also referenced in VT49:36)


noun. everything, all, the whole, everything, all, the whole; [ᴹQ.] universe, world; [ᴱQ.] ether

A term for everything that is, thus referring to the entire universe and everything in existence, which Tolkien clarified as being:

> ... more than ëa, which is all “nature”, but was not held to include [souls?] and spirits. ilu includes God, all souls and spirits as well as ëa (VT39/20 note #20).

It is derived from the root √IL “all”.

Conceptual Development: The first mention of the term ᴱQ. ilu was in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s where it was glossed “ether, the slender airs among the stars”, and serving as an element in the ᴱQ. Ilúvatar (QL/42), in this document translated as “Heavenly Father” rather than “All-father” as it was later. Thus the early conception of ᴱQ. ilu seems closer to “sky” or “heaven” than “universe”. In The Etymologies of the 1930s, ᴹQ. ilu was glossed “universe” beside variant ᴹQ. ilúve and given as a derivative of ᴹ√IL “all” (Ety/IL). The word ilu was glossed “world” in various iterations of the ᴹQ. Lament of Atalante in the 1930s and 40s (LR/047; LR/56), though in the 1940s versions it was replaced by {eru >>} ᴹQ. Arda (SD/310). In a 1968 addendum to the Quendi and Eldar its meaning was restricted to “everything, all, the whole” referring to the entirety of existence including God and the divine realm, as indicated by the quote above (VT39/20 note #20).


  • ilū “all, everything, the whole” ✧ VT39/20
    • IL “all”

Element in

  • ᴺQ. iluasta “omnipresence”
  • Q. ilucara “omnificient” ✧ VT39/20
  • Q. iluisa “omniscient” ✧ VT39/20
  • Q. ilúvala “omnipotent” ✧ VT39/20
  • Q. ilúvë “the whole, the all, allness, the whole, the all, allness; [ᴹQ.] universe, world; Heaven”

Phonetic Developments

ilū- > ilu[ilū] > [ilu]✧ VT39/20



illi noun "all" (as independent noun, apparently treated as a plural form). Imb' illi "among all" (VT47:30)


noun. all

Element in



ilya adj. and noun "all" (LR:47, 56; SD:310), "all, the whole" (IL); "each, every, all of a particular group of things" (VT39:20); ilyë before a plural noun, "all" being inflected like an adjective (Nam, RGEO:67): ilyë tier "all paths" (Namárië, VT39:20), ilyë mahalmar "all thrones" (CO), ilya raxellor "from all dangers" (VT44:9; we might expect *ilyë raxellor here), ilyárëa (older ilyázëa) "daily, of every day" (evidently ilya "every" + árë, ázë "day" + -a adjectival ending) (VT43:18). Tolkien apparently abandoned ilyárëa in favour of ilaurëa, q.v.


adjective. all

was the word spoken by Eru Ilúvatar by which he brought the universe into actuality.

Quenya [Tolkien Gateway] Published by


ëa (1) (sometimes "eä")vb. "is" (CO), in a more absolute sense ("exists", VT39:7/VT49:28-29) than the copula . "it is" (VT39:6) or "let it be". The verb is also used in connection with prepositional phrases denoting a position, as in the relative sentences i or ilyë mahalmar ëa "who is above all thrones" (CO) and i ëa han ëa "who is beyond [the universe of] Eä" (VT43:14). is said to the be "pres[ent] & aorist" tense (VT49:29). The past tense of ëa is engë (VT43:38, VT49:29; Tolkien struck out the form ëanë, VT49:30), the historically correct perfect should be éyë, but the analogical form engië was more common; the future tense is euva (VT49:29). See also ëala. is also used as a noun denoting "All Creation", the universe (WJ:402; Letters:284, footnote), but this term for the universe "was not held to include [souls?] and spirits" (VT39:20); contrast ilu. One version of Tolkien's Quenya Lord's Prayer includes the words i ëa han ëa, taken to mean "who is beyond Eä" (VT43:14). Tolkien noted that ëa "properly cannot be used of God since ëa refers only to all things created by Eru directly or mediately", hence he deleted the example Eru ëa "God exists" (VT49:28, 36). However, ëa is indeed used of Eru in CO (i Eru i or ilyë mahalmar ëa** "the One who is** above all thrones") as well as in various Átaremma versions (see VT49:36), so such a distinction may belong to the refined language of the "loremasters" rather than to everyday useage.