Primitive elvish


root. follow (behind)

This root has a lengthy history in Tolkien’s writing. It first appeared as ᴱ√HIL, unglossed but with derivatives having to do with children and offspring (QL/40); in this sense it may have reemerged later as the root √KHIN “child” (PE17/157; WJ/403). In the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s, the root appeared as χili with derivatives like G. hiltha “youth”, G. hilwed “adolescent”, G. hilm “posterity”, and G. hilmir “heir” (GL/49); the words for “heir” were also based on √KHIL in Tolkien’s later writing.

The root reappeared in The Etymologies of the 1930s as ᴹ√KHIL “follow”, its most notable derivative being ᴹQ. Hildi “followers, mortal men” as the second (following) race that were the children of Eru (Ety/KHIL). In later writings this name for Men became Q. Hildor “Followers” (S/103). The root √KHIL “follow” continued to appear in Tolkien’s later writings (PE17/18, 101, 157; WJ/387).

In The Etymologies ᴹ√KHIL had no Noldorin derivatives, and in the Quendi and Eldar essay from 1959-60 Tolkien said “the stem ✱KHILI ‘follow’ was not current in Sindarin” (WJ/387). Elsewhere, however, it is clearly evident as the basis for several Sindarin words, such as echil “follower(s)” (WJ/219) and Eluchíl “Thingol’s Heir” (S/188). It was also used with the sense “heir” in the phrase: Q. sinomë maruvan ar Hildinyar tenn’ Ambar-metta “in this place will I abide, and my heirs (hildë 1st-person-possessive plural), unto the ending of the world” (LotR/967), connecting back to its earliest meaning.


  • Q. hildë “heir, follower, heir, follower; [ᴱQ.] child”
  • Q. Hildor “Men, Aftercomers, (lit.) Followers” ✧ PE17/018; PE17/101; SA/khil; WJ/387
  • ᴺQ. hilmë “following (act of)”
  • ᴺQ. hilmë “offspring, *descendant”
  • S. echil “follower”
  • ᴺS. hil- “to follow”
  • ᴺS. hilf “posterity; one’s descendants, progeny, offspring”

Element in

  • S. hîl “heir” ✧ SA/khil


  • khil- ✧ SA/khil
  • KHILI ✧ WJ/387
Primitive elvish [PE17/018; PE17/101; PE17/157; SA/khil; WJ/387] Group: Eldamo. Published by