Quenya 


watch-tower, tower

tirion noun "watch-tower, tower" (TIR); in early "Qenya" the gloss was "a mighty tower, a city on a hill" (LT1:258). Tirion "Great Watchtower", a city of the Elves in the Blessed Realm (SA:tir; in MR:176 the translation is "Watchful City")


noun. watch-tower, watch-tower, tower, [ᴱQ.] (great or mighty) tower; city on a hill

Element in

  • Q. Tirion “Great Watch-tower” ✧ RGEO/65


  • Tirion ✧ RGEO/65


place name. Great Watch-tower

City of the Elves in Valinor, built on the hill Túna (S/59). This name is the noun tirion “watch-tower” used as a name, probably inspired by the great tower Mindon Eldaliéva built by Ingwë within that city.

Conceptual Development: In the earliest Lost Tales, the name of this city of the Elves in Valinor was ᴱQ. Kôr, which was also the name of the hill where it was built (LT1/122-3). At this early stage, the name ᴱQ. Kortirion was used for the chief city of Tol Eressëa, home of the exiles of Kôr and named after the great tower built by Ingil son of Inwe (LT1/16). In Silmarillion drafts from the 1930s, ᴹQ. Kôr became the name of the hill only, and the name of the city became ᴹQ. Túna “Hill City” (LR/222). In the same period, the name ᴹQ. Kortirion largely vanished from the narratives, mentioned only as the place where Ælfwine recorded the tales (LR/334).

In Lord of the Rings drafts from the 1940s, the city in Valinor was called ᴹQ. Tirion in Bilbo’s poem in Rivendell (TI/92); this name was also used in Tolkien’s notes on the fall of Númenor from the 1940s (SD/403). The name Tirion was retained in the published Lord of the Rings (LotR/235), and Tolkien used this name for the Valinorian city in Silmarillion revisions from the 1950s-60s (MR/84). Túna gradually became the name of the hill only (MR/8), while the name Kôr vanished entirely. It is possible that Q. Tirion was a restoration of the early name ᴱQ. Kortirion, now as the city in Valinor rather than Tol Eressëa. The chief city of Tol Eressëa was called Avallónë in later writings (S/260).

The table below summarizes these changes:

|Period|City (Tol Eressea)|City (Valinor)|Hill (Valinor)|Tower|Tower Builder| |Early (ᴱQ)|Kortirion|Kôr|Kôr|Tirin (in Tol Eressea)|Ingil| |Middle (ᴹQ)|Kortirion|Túna|Kôr|Ingwemindon (in Valinor)|Ingwe| |Late (Q)|Avallónë|Tirion|Túna|Mindon Eldaliéva|Ingwë|


tirion“watch-tower, watch-tower, tower, [ᴱQ.] (great or mighty) tower; city on a hill”


  • Tiron ✧ LBI/Tiron (Tiron)
Quenya [LBI/Tiron; LotRI/Tirion; LRI/Tirion; LT2I/Tirion; MR/176; MR/180; MRI/Tirion; PE17/020; PMI/Tirion; RGEO/65; SA/tir; SDI2/Tirion; SI/Tirion; SMI/Tirion; WJI/Tirion] Group: Eldamo. Published by


watch, vigil

tiris (tiriss-), also tirissë, noun "watch, vigil" (LT1:258, QL:93)


watch, watch over, guard, heed

tir- vb. "watch, watch over, guard, heed", 1st pers. aorist tirin "I watch", pa.t. tirnë (TIR), imperative tira (VT47:31) or á tirë (PE17:94), future tense tiruva "shall heed" in Markirya (also MC:213, 214); also in CO with pronominal endings: tiruvantes "they will guard it" (tir-uva-nte-s "guard-will-they-it"). The stem also occurs in palantíri (q.v.), Tirion place-name "Great Watchtower", a city of the Elves (SA:tir; in MR:176 the translation is "Watchful City")



tarminas noun "tower" etc. (Sindarin barad); see taras (PE17:22)



turco ("k") (2) noun "tower". In Lúnaturco, Quenya name of Barad-dûr (Dark Tower). Tolkien changed the word turco from turma (PE17:22).



marto (1) noun "tower" (PE17:66)


noun. tower


  • S. barad “tower, great towering building, tower, great towering building, [N.] fort, fortress” ✧ NM/228; PE17/066


  • M(B)ARAT “doom, fate” ✧ NM/228
    • MBAR “settle, dwell; establish, fix, decide, determine, make a decision, settle; establish, fix, decide, determine, make a decision; dwell, [ᴹ√] inhabit, [ᴱ√] live”
  • BARAT “lofty, high, height combined with strength/size/majesty” ✧ PE17/066
    • BAR “[ᴹ√] raise; uplift, save, rescue(?)”

Phonetic Developments

BAR-AT > marto[mbarto] > [marto]✧ PE17/066
Quenya [NM/228; PE17/066] Group: Eldamo. Published by



[turma] (2) noun "tower". Tolkien changed this word to turco (#2), q.v. (PE17:22)



cenda- vb. "watch" (not "guard", but observe to gain information), also used = "read". Cenda = also noun "reading", as in sanwecenda "thought-inspection, thought-reading". (VT41:5, PE17:156)



Elendë (1) place-name "Elvenhome", regions of Valinor where the Elves dwelt and the stars could be seen (MR:176, ÉLED). Plural ablative elendellor in the phrase et elendellor, evidently *"out of the elf-lands" (VT45:13).



Eldamar place-name "Elvenhome" (ÉLED; found already in Narqelion), according to MR:176 another name of Tirion (see tir-).