Primitive elvish

mag

root. good (physically); to thrive, be in a good state, good (physically); to thrive, be in a good state; [ᴹ√] use, handle

This root was intertwined with the root for “hand” words: √MAH or √MAƷ. Indeed, in The Etymologies of the 1930s the roots ᴹ√MAG and ᴹ√MAƷ were variants of one another, with ᴹ√MAƷ glossed “hand” and ᴹ√MAG glossed “use, handle”, the latter with the derivatives like ᴹQ. mára/N. maer “useful, fit, good (of things)” and N. maen “skilled, clever” (Ety/MAƷ|MAG).

In later writings, however, the sense of this root shifted more towards “good”. In etymological notes from the late 1950s Tolkien still gave both √MAG or √MAƷ as the basis for hand words (PE17/161-2), but in Definitive Linguistic Notes (DLN) from 1959, Tolkien gave √MAGA the gloss “good (physically)” (PE17/149) or “to thrive, be in a good state” (PE17/162). In notes on Eldarin Hands, Fingers and Numerals from the late 1960s, Tolkien said the root for “hand” was √MAƷA, and there was a distinct (but possibly related) root √MAG, described as follows:

> MAGA, a stem meaning “good” — but without moral reference, except by implication: sc. it was not the opposite of “evil, wicked” but of “bad (damaged, imperfect, unfit, useless)”, and the adjectival stem derived, *magrā, meant “good for a purpose or function, as required or desired, useful, proper, fit” (VT47/6).

A similar distinction between √MAƷA “hand” and √MAGA “good, useful” appeared in 1968 notes (VT47/19). In Late Notes on Verb Structure (LVS) from 1969, Tolkien gave √MAGA the gloss “have, possess” to serve as the basis for the irregular verb Q. mai-, but this note was crossed through and I suspect it was a transient idea (PE22/148 and note #24). Thus, “good, useful” seems to be the best interpretation for the root √MAG.

Variations

  • MAGA ✧ PE17/149; PE17/162; PE17/162; PE17/170; PE17/172 (MAGA); PE22/148 (MAGA); VT47/06; VT47/19
  • mag ✧ VT47/18; VT47/18
  • maga ✧ VT47/18

Changes

  • MAGA(A)MAY ✧ PE17/172

Derivatives

  • “hand” ✧ VT47/18
    • Q. “hand” ✧ PE19/102; VT47/06
    • S. maw “hand” ✧ VT47/06
    • T. “hand” ✧ VT47/06
  • maha “hand, the manager” ✧ VT47/18
    • “hand” ✧ PE19/074; PE19/102; VT47/06; VT47/07; VT47/35
    • Q. “hand” ✧ PE19/102; VT47/06
    • S. maw “hand” ✧ VT47/06
    • T. “hand” ✧ VT47/06
    • Q. “hand” ✧ PE19/106; VT47/18
    • Q. mahta- “to handle, wield, use, make use of; to manage, deal with, treat, control, to handle, wield, use, make use of; to manage, deal with, treat, control; [ᴹQ.] to stroke, feel; to wield a weapon, fight” ✧ PE19/074
    • Q. massë “handful, portion, share, capacity, portion, share; capacity, [ᴹQ.] measure; [Q.] †handful” ✧ PE19/074
  • magrā “good, useful, proper, fit” ✧ VT47/06
    • Q. mára “good, proper, good, proper; [ᴹQ.] useful, fit, good (of things), [ᴱQ.] excellent; mighty, power, doughty” ✧ PE17/016
  • magtā- “to handle, wield, manage, deal with” ✧ VT47/18
    • Q. mahta- “to handle, wield, use, make use of; to manage, deal with, treat, control, to handle, wield, use, make use of; to manage, deal with, treat, control; [ᴹQ.] to stroke, feel; to wield a weapon, fight” ✧ PE19/100; VT47/06; VT47/18
    • S. maetha- “to handle, manage, wield, use, treat, deal with” ✧ VT47/06
    • T. matta- “to handle, wield, manage, deal with” ✧ VT47/06
  • Māya ✧ VT47/18
    • Q. Maia “(angelic) spirit, the Beautiful” ✧ PE19/075; PE19/094
  • Q. “hand” ✧ PE17/161; VT47/18
  • Q. mahta- “to handle, wield, use, make use of; to manage, deal with, treat, control, to handle, wield, use, make use of; to manage, deal with, treat, control; [ᴹQ.] to stroke, feel; to wield a weapon, fight” ✧ PE17/161
  • Q. mahtië “management, management, *handling” ✧ PE17/161
  • Q. mai “well, well; [ᴱQ.] too much” ✧ PE17/162; VT47/06
  • Q. mai- “to have, possess” ✧ PE22/148
  • Q. málë “good health” ✧ PE17/162
  • Q. mára “good, proper, good, proper; [ᴹQ.] useful, fit, good (of things), [ᴱQ.] excellent; mighty, power, doughty” ✧ PE17/162; PE17/172
  • S. ma “good, excellent, that’s right” ✧ PE17/162
  • S. mae “well; excellent, admirable” ✧ PE17/162
  • S. mael “well” ✧ PE17/162
  • S. maer “good, excellent, fair, good, excellent, fair; [N.] useful, fit, good (of things)” ✧ PE17/172
  • S. maeth “management” ✧ PE17/161
  • S. maetha- “to handle, manage, wield, use, treat, deal with” ✧ PE17/161
  • S. maw “hand” ✧ VT47/18
  • T. “hand” ✧ VT47/18
Primitive elvish [PE17/145; PE17/149; PE17/161; PE17/162; PE17/163; PE17/170; PE17/172; PE22/148; VT47/06; VT47/18; VT47/19] Group: Eldamo. Published by