Quenya 



nésa (Þ) noun "sister" (VT47:14); this form from a late source possibly replaces earlier seler and onórë, q.v.


noun. sister

A word for “sister” coined by Tolkien in notes on Eldarin Hands, Fingers and Numerals from the late 1960s, based on the root √NETH of similar meaning (VT47/12, 14). It had a diminutive/affectionate variant nettë used as a play name for the fourth finger in several places in these notes (VT47/12; VT48/6), but I prefer to mainly use nettë for “(little) girl” in Neo-Quenya (VT47/10, 15, 33).

Conceptual Development: The Etymologies of the 1930s had ᴹQ. seler “sister” from the root ᴹ√THEL or THELES (Ety/THEL), and the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s had ᴱQ. heresse “sister” from the early root ᴱ√HESE (QL/40). See those entries for discussion.


  • S. nîth “sister” ✧ VT47/14
  • T. néþa “sister” ✧ VT47/14


  • nēthā “sister” ✧ VT47/14
    • NETH “(young) woman, female person; sister; fresh, lively, merry, (young) woman, female person; sister; fresh, lively, merry; [ᴹ√] young” ✧ VT47/12

Phonetic Developments

nēthā > néþa > nésa[nētʰā] > [nēθā] > [nēθa] > [nēsa]✧ VT47/14


girl, daughter

nettë (stem *netti-, given the primitive form listed in VT47:17) noun "girl, daughter" (but also "sister", see below), also used as a play-name of the "fourth finger" or "fourth toe" (VT47:10, VT48:6), in two-hand play also used for the numeral "nine" (nettë is conceived as being related to nertë, q.v.) Nettë is also defined as "sister" or "girl approaching the adult" (VT47:16, VT49:25), "girl/daughter" (VT47:15-16); it may be that "sister" was Tolkien's final decision on the meaning (VT48:4, 22) - The related word nésa seems like a less ambiguous translation of "sister".



onórë noun "sister" (of blood-kin) (THEL/THELES, NŌ; both of these entries in the Etymologies as reproduced in LR have the reading "onóne", but the "Old Noldorin" cognate wanúre listed in the entry THEL/THELES seems to indicate that the Quenya word should be onórë; the letters n and r are easily confused in Tolkien's handwriting. There is no clear evidence for a feminine ending - in Quenya, but - is relatively well attested; cf. for instance ontarë.) A later source gives the word for "sister" as nésa instead.



seler (þ) (sell-, as in pl. selli) noun "sister" (THEL/THELES). In a later source, the word nésa (q.v.) appears instead, leaving the conceptual status of seler uncertain.


sister, [female] associate

osellë (þ) noun "sister, [female] associate" (THEL/THELES, WŌ). Cf. otorno.