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Q. Elda n. “Elf, (lit.) one of the Star-folk”

Q. Elda, n. “Elf, (lit.) one of the Star-folk”

The most common Quenya word for “Elf”. Its literal meaning is “one of the Star-folk” (WJ/374), a name given to them by Oromë (S/49) and derived from the same primitive root √EL as Q. elen “star”. Strictly speaking, this term excludes the Avari who chose not to journey to Valinor, so that the proper term for all of Elvenkind is Q. Quendë “one of the Elven race”. The Elves of the West rarely encountered the Avari, however, so that term Elda was ordinarily broad enough to describe all Elves.

Conceptual Development: This word dates back to the earliest stages of Tolkien’s languages. At its first appearance, ᴱQ. Elda was glossed “a beach-fay” (QL/35), but was soon extended to describe all Elves (LT1/113). In Tolkien’s earliest writings the word was not given a clear etymology. In the Lhammas “Account of Tongues” from the 1930s (LR/168-180), Tolkien gave ᴹQ. Elda the sense of “one who departed” (LR/169), as opposed to the ᴹQ. Lembi “Lingerers” who remained behind (precursors of the Avari). With this sense, Elda was derived from ᴹ√LED “go, fare, travel” (Ety/LED).

Tolkien soon revised the etymology of Elda so that it was derived instead from ᴹ√ELED “star-folk” (Ety/ELED). In some later writings, he considered both etymologies of this word to be valid, so that Elda was blending of both “star-folk” (from √EL) and Q. Eldo “marcher” (from √LED or √DEL¹), as discussed in the “Quendi and Eldar” essay from 1959-60 and elsewhere (WJ/362-3, PE17/139). However, the sense “star-folk” is probably better known.

In some notes from 1957, Tolkien considered deriving this word from a variant root √DEL² “fair” so that its meaning would be “the fair” (PE17/151), but this seems to have been a transient idea.

References ✧ Let/198, 281; LotR/1127, 1137; LotRI/Eldar; LRI/Edhil; MRI/Eldar; PE17/45, 56-57, 114, 135, 139, 151-152, 189; PE21/73, 77; PE22/155; PM/29, 346, 395, 403; PMI/Eldar; RC/217, 780; S/49; SA/êl; SI/Eldar, High Elves; TII/Eldar; UTI/Eldanna, Eldar; VT49/8; WJ/362, 364, 368-369, 373-375, 407; WJI/Eldar; WRI/Eldar

Glosses

Variations

Related

Inflections

Eldō genitive “Elf’s” ✧ PE21/77
Eldaron genitive plural   ✧ PE21/77
Eldaron genitive plural “of the Eldar” ✧ PM/395; PM/403; WJ/368; WJ/369
Eldali partitive-plural “some Elves, a lot of Elves” ✧ PE17/135
Eldali partitive-plural “Elves, some Elves” ✧ PE21/73; VT49/8
eldali partitive-plural “elves” ✧ PE22/155
Eldar past   ✧ PE21/77
Elda(r) plural   ✧ UTI/Eldanna
Eldar plural “High Elves” ✧ Let/198; LotRI/Eldar; RC/217; SI/High Elves
Eldar plural “West-elves” ✧ LotR/1127
Eldar plural “Elves” ✧ LotR/1137; PE17/139; PE21/77; UTI/Eldar; VT49/8
Eldar plural   ✧ LRI/Edhil; MRI/Eldar; PE17/114; PM/29; PMI/Eldar; RC/780; SA/êl; TII/Eldar; WJ/362; WJ/373; WJ/374; WJI/Eldar; WRI/Eldar
Eldar plural “Elves as a kind of people or all the Elves concerned” ✧ PE17/135
Eldar plural “Elves, the Elves, all Elves” ✧ PE21/73
Eldar plural “People of the Stars” ✧ S/49; S/49; SI/Eldar
Eldar plural “Elves, the Elves, All Elves” ✧ VT49/8
Eldava possessive-adjectival “Elf’s” ✧ WJ/407
Eldaiva possessive-adjectival plural “of the Eldar” ✧ WJ/369
Eldaiva possessive-adjectival plural “Elves’” ✧ WJ/407
Eldaive possessive-adjectival plural; adj-agreement “of the Eldar” ✧ WJ/369
-el suffix   ✧ WJ/364
-eldi suffix plural   ✧ WJ/364

Element In

Cognates

Derivations


ᴹQ. Elda n. “Elf”

References ✧ Ety/ELED; EtyAC/EDE; LR/72, 169, 181, 197, 212, 218; LRI/Eldar; PE18/24; PE21/57; PE22/124-125; SD/401; SDI2/Eldar, Eledâi, Nimrî; SMI/Eldar

Glosses

Variations

Changes

Inflections

Eldalin dative partitive-plural “(some) Elves” ✧ PE22/124
Eldain dative plural “for Elves” ✧ LR/72
Eldain dative plural   ✧ LRI/Eldar
eldain dative plural “for Elves” ✧ LR/72; LR/72
Eldali partitive-plural “the Elves, the whole Elda-race” ✧ PE21/57
Eldali partitive-plural “some (many) Elves, (some[?]) elves” ✧ PE21/57
Eldar plural “those that departed” ✧ LR/169
Eldar plural “Star-folk” ✧ LR/169; LR/212; LR/218
Eldar plural “those that departed” ✧ LR/181
Eldar plural “The Departing” ✧ LR/197
Eldar plural “Departing” ✧ LR/218
Eldar plural   ✧ LRI/Eldar; PE18/24; SDI2/Eldar; SDI2/Eledâi; SDI2/Nimrî; SMI/Eldar
Eldar plural “Elves” ✧ PE21/57
Eldar plural “(the) elves” ✧ PE21/57
Eldar plural “Elves” ✧ PE22/124; PE22/125; SD/401

Element In

Cognates

Derivations


ᴱQ. Elda n. “Elf; beach-fay”

References ✧ GG/13; GL/32; LBI/Eldar; LT1/114, 235; LT1A/Eldamar, Eldar; LT1I/Eldar; LT2A/Eglamar; LT2I/Eldar; PE13/99, 155; PE14/9, 47, 50, 79, 83-84; PE15/23, 61-62, 71; QL/35, 43; WJI/Egla

Glosses

Variations

Related

Inflections

eldalluva ablative adjectival “from the elves” ✧ PE14/47; PE14/79
eldalillo(r) ablative plural   ✧ PE14/47
eldalillo(r) ablative plural   ✧ PE14/79
eldallor ablative plural “from the elves” ✧ PE14/47; PE14/79
Eldalin accusative plural “Elves” ✧ PE14/84
Eldalion genitive plural “of ... elves” ✧ PE14/83
eldalion genitive plural “elves” ✧ PE14/50
ELDAR plural “elves” ✧ PE13/99
Eldar plural   ✧ LBI/Eldar; LT1/114; LT1/235; LT1A/Eldar; LT2I/Eldar; PE15/23; QL/43
Eldar plural “Elves” ✧ LT1I/Eldar; PE15/61; PE15/62
Eldar plural “Elves or fairies” ✧ PE14/9
elda(li) plural “elves” ✧ PE14/50; PE14/83
eldali plural “elves” ✧ PE14/83

Element In

Cognates

Derivations