topon. >> mor
noun. black land
morn (“dark, black”) + (n-)dor (“land, dwelling place”)
place name. Black Land
The home of Sauron, usually translated “Black Land” (Let/178, RC/75) but sometimes “Black Country” (RC/766, RS/216) or “Land of Darkness” (WJ/370). This name is a combination of morn “black” and dôr “land” (Let/427; SA/mor, dôr).
Conceptual Development: The name Mordor “Black Country” first appeared in the tale of the Fall of Númenor (LR/29), and appeared consistently in this form in Lord of the Rings drafts from the 1940s.
Word Gloss morn “black, dark; night” dôr “land, land, [N.] region where certain people live, [ᴱN.] country; [G.] people of the land”
- morñdor ✧ Let/427
- mordor ✧ PE17/073
place name. Dark Tower
Conceptual Development: In Lord of the Rings drafts from the 1940s, this name was already N. Barad-dûr when it first appeared (TI/178).
Word Gloss barad “tower, great towering building, tower, great towering building, [N.] fort, fortress” dûr “dark (with evil implications), gloomy, hellish”
- barad-dûr ✧ PE17/086
The term Mordor translates to "The Black Land" or "The Dark Land" in Sindarin. mor = "dark, black", dôr = "land" (The Silmarillion, Appendix - Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names). Mordor is also coincidentally Quenya for "shadows" (plural), though the direct calque of Sindarin Mordor was Morinórë or Morinor, a name also used for the Dark Land.