Quenya 


hand-full; complete hand with all five fingers; a closing of closed [hand] (facing down) for taking; group of five (similar) things

maqua noun "a hand-full; complete hand with all five fingers; a closing of closed [hand] (facing down) for taking; group of five (similar) things"; in colloquial usage also "hand" as a limb (VT47:7, 18-20); dual maquat "group of ten" (VT47:7, 10). Compounded maquanotië = "decimal system" in counting (VT47:10), Lungumaqua "Heavyhand" (VT47:19)


noun. hand-full, group of five (similar) things; hand (colloquial); closing or closed [hand] (facing down) for taking

A word for “hand-full” in notes on Eldarin Hands, Fingers and Numerals written around 1968, a combination of “hand” and ✶kwā “-full” (VT47/6-7). Tolkien said that it was “used as group numeral ‘group of five (similar) things’ and the dual maquat for ‘a group of ten’”, hence it was primary a measure of quantity rather than volume, more analogous to English “dozen”. To say maqua taxëo “a hand-full of nails” would mean five nails (or thereabouts), not the amount of nails that could be held in one hand. Tolkien said that it was sometimes colloquially used for the hand itself, replacing the more ordinary “hand” word , mainly because maqua was easier to inflect.

Conceptual Development: In drafts of these 1968 notes Tolkien said the word maqua meant “a closing or closed [hand] (facing down) for taking”, but for that sense it was derived from √MAP “take away” (VT47/20 note #16), and it is likely Tolkien discarded this meaning. In another note from Jan-Feb 1968, Tolkien derived this word from √MAK “strike”, but the sentence where Tolkien described this derivation was abandoned unfinished (VT47/18-19 note #11). Likely all these 1968 ✶makwā derivations were part of an attempt to find a new etymology for S. mâb “hand”.

In the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s glossed, ᴱQ. maqa was an adjective meaning “handy, skilled (with hands)” (QL/57).


  • S. mâb “hand, hand, [N.] grasp” ✧ VT47/06; VT47/19; VT47/20
  • T. mapa “hand” ✧ VT47/06; VT47/19; VT47/20


  • makwā “a hand-full, complete hand with all five fingers” ✧ VT47/06; VT47/07; VT47/19
    • MAK “cut, hew with a sharp edge; kill, slay; forge metal, cut, hew with a sharp edge, [ᴹ√] cleave; sword, fight (with a sword); ️[√] forge metal; kill, slay” ✧ VT47/19
  • MAP “take away, take hold of, grasp, take away, take hold of, grasp, [ᴹ√] lay hold of with hand, seize” ✧ VT47/20; VT47/20

Element in

Phonetic Developments

makwā > maqua[makwā] > [makwa]✧ VT47/06
makwā > maqua[makwā] > [makwa]✧ VT47/07
makwā > maqua[makwā] > [makwa]✧ VT47/19
MAP > mapā > mākwa > măqua[mapā] > [makwā] > [makwa]✧ VT47/20
MAP > măqua[mapa] > [makwa]✧ VT47/20


  • makwa ✧ VT47/10
  • măqua ✧ VT47/20; VT47/20
Quenya [VT47/06; VT47/07; VT47/10; VT47/19; VT47/20] Group: Eldamo. Published by


2 fathers or neighbours

-t (1) dual ending, on nouns denoting a _pair of something: attat "2 fathers or neighbours" (VT48:19; see _atto), máryat "her (pair of) hands" (Nam), siryat "two rivers" (VT47:11), ciriat "2 ships" (Letters:427 read ciryat as in the Plotz Letter?), maquat "group of ten" (from maqua, meaning among other things "group of five") (VT47:7), nápat "thumb and index as a pair" (VT48:5), also compare met "us two" as the dual form of me "us" (Nam, VT47:11). Other dual endings known from the Plotz letter: genitive -to, possessive -twa, dative -nt, locative -tsë, allative -nta, ablative -lto, instrumental -nten, plus -tes as a possible short locative. It may be that these endings only apply to nouns that would have nominative dual forms in -t, and that nouns preferring the alternative dual ending -u would simply add the otherwise "singular" case endings to this vowel, e.g. *Alduo rather than ?Alduto as the genitive form of "Two Trees" (Aldu). The ending -t is also used as a verbal inflection, corresponding to pl. -r (elen atta siluvat**, "two stars shall shine", VT49:45; the verb carit** "do" would also be used with a dual subject, VT49:16; cf. also the endings listed in VT49:48, 50).