Sindarin name of the Vala Melkor, source of evil in the world, variously translated “Black Foe” (S/79, MR/294), “Dark Foe” (WJ/14), “Black Enemy” (PM/358) or “Dark Tyrant” (PE21/85). His name is a combination of the element MOR “black” (SA/mor, PE17/73) and the lenited form of coth “enemy” (Ety/KOT).
Possible Etymology: Tolkien stated that this name was given to Morgoth by Fëanor (S/79, MR/194). This scenario made sense when the Welsh-like Elvish language was the native language of the Noldoras it was up through the 1940s, but was more difficult to justify when Sindarin became the language of Beleriand in the 1950s. Tolkien seems to have devised several new etymologies of this name specifically to make the statement more plausible. See the entry ✶Moriñgotho for further discussion.
Conceptual Development: The name G. Morgoth appeared in the earliest Lost Tales, but at that stage its second element was goth “strife” (LT2/67). In Silmarillion drafts from the 1930s, N. Morgoth was translated “Dark Power” (SM/164) or “Black God” (LR/206), indicating a shift in the conception of the name’s meaning. The name first appeared with the translation “Black Foe” and the derivation described above in the Etymologies (Ety/MOR, KOT), though in the same period Tolkien also considered making the second element an Orcish word meaning “master” (LR/406). See ✶Moriñgotho for later etymological developments.