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√EL(ED) “star; star-folk” (Ety/EL, 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/198.2307; Let/281.2205; LotR/1127.2905; LotR/1137.2308; LotRI/Eldar.001; LRI/Edhil.002; MRI/Eldar.001; MRI/Eldar.004; PE17/045.1001; PE17/056.1103; PE17/057.1008; PE17/114.1202; PE17/135.2402; PE17/135.2414; PE17/139.1302; PE17/139.1907; PE17/151.1208; PE17/152.0606; PE17/189.4007-1; PE22/155.3408; PM/029.3606; PM/346.4003-1; PM/395.1404; PM/403.0810; PMI/Eldar.001; PMI/Eldar.004; RC/217.1306; RC/780.1604; RC/780.1607; S/049.3102; S/049.3201; SA/êl.071; SA/êl.079; SI/Eldar.001; SI/High Elves.004; TII/Eldar.001; UTI/Eldanna.017; UTI/Eldar.017; VT49/08.2401; VT49/08.3505; VT49/08.3705; WJ/362.2702; WJ/362.2711; WJ/364.0202; WJ/364.0203; WJ/368.4002; WJ/369.0201; WJ/369.0205; WJ/369.1110; WJ/369.1201; WJ/373.0202; WJ/374.1701; WJ/374.3304; WJ/375.3810; WJ/407.2109; WJ/407.2203; WJI/Eldar.001; WJI/Eldar.004; WRI/Eldar.001

Glosses

Variations

Related

Inflections

Eldaron genitive plural “of the Eldar” ✧ PM/395.1404; PM/403.0810; WJ/368.4002; WJ/369.1110
Eldali partitive-plural “some Elves, a lot of Elves” ✧ PE17/135.2414
Eldali partitive-plural “Elves, some Elves” ✧ VT49/08.3705
eldali partitive-plural “elves” ✧ PE22/155.3408
Eldar plural “High Elves” ✧ Let/198.2307; LotRI/Eldar.001; RC/217.1306; SI/High Elves.004
Eldar plural “West-elves” ✧ LotR/1127.2905
Eldar plural “Elves” ✧ LotR/1137.2308; PE17/139.1302; UTI/Eldar.017; VT49/08.2401
Eldar plural   ✧ LRI/Edhil.002; MRI/Eldar.001; PE17/114.1202; PM/029.3606; PMI/Eldar.001; RC/780.1604; SA/êl.071; TII/Eldar.001; WJ/362.2711; WJ/373.0202; WJ/374.3304; WJI/Eldar.001; WRI/Eldar.001
Eldar plural “Elves as a kind of people or all the Elves concerned” ✧ PE17/135.2402
Eldar plural “People of the Stars” ✧ S/049.3102; S/049.3201; SI/Eldar.001
Eldar plural “Elves, the Elves, All Elves” ✧ VT49/08.3505
Eldava possessive “Elf’s” ✧ WJ/407.2109
Eldaiva possessive-plural “of the Eldar” ✧ WJ/369.0205
Eldaiva possessive-plural “Elves’” ✧ WJ/407.2203
Eldaive possessive-plural plural “of the Eldar” ✧ WJ/369.1201
-el suffix   ✧ WJ/364.0202
-eldi suffix plural   ✧ WJ/364.0203

Element In

Cognates

Derivations


ᴹQ. Elda n. “Elf”

References ✧ Ety/ELED.006; Ety/ELED.038; EtyAC/EDE.008; LR/072.0905; LR/072.1301; LR/072.3703; LR/169.0805; LR/169.1002; LR/181.1303; LR/197.2001; LR/212.3202; LR/218.0706; LR/218.1002; LRI/Eldar.001; LRI/Eldar.002; PE22/124.0110; PE22/124.0908; PE22/125.0708; SD/401.3409; SDI2/Eldar.001; SDI2/Eledâi.002; SDI2/Nimrî.005; SMI/Eldar.001

Glosses

Variations

Changes

Inflections

Eldalin dative partitive-plural “(some) Elves” ✧ PE22/124.0908
Eldain dative plural “for Elves” ✧ LR/072.1301
Eldain dative plural   ✧ LRI/Eldar.002
eldain dative plural “for Elves” ✧ LR/072.0905; LR/072.3703
Eldar plural those that departed ✧ LR/169.0805
Eldar plural “Star-folk” ✧ LR/169.1002; LR/212.3202; LR/218.1002
Eldar plural “those that departed” ✧ LR/181.1303
Eldar plural “The Departing” ✧ LR/197.2001
Eldar plural “Departing” ✧ LR/218.0706
Eldar plural   ✧ LRI/Eldar.001; SDI2/Eldar.001; SDI2/Eledâi.002; SMI/Eldar.001
Eldar plural “Elves” ✧ PE22/124.0110; PE22/125.0708; SD/401.3409

Element In

Cognates

Derivations


ᴱQ. Elda n. “Elf; beach-fay”

References ✧ GG/13.0509; GL/32.2303; LBI/Eldar.001; LT1/114.2909; LT1/235.0907; LT1/235.1205; LT1A/Eldamar.081; LT1A/Eldar.001; LT1A/Eldar.004; LT1I/Eldar.001; LT1I/Eldar.003; LT2A/Eglamar.056; LT2I/Eldar.001; PE13/099.0601; PE13/155.1601; PE14/009.0301; PE14/047.1112; PE14/047.1114; PE14/047.1714; PE14/050.2202; PE14/050.2207; QL/035.2901; QL/043.2601; WJI/Egla.005

Glosses

Variations

Related

Inflections

eldalluva ablative adjectival “from the elves” ✧ PE14/047.1714
eldalillo(r) ablative plural   ✧ PE14/047.1114
eldallor ablative plural “from the elves” ✧ PE14/047.1112
eldalion genitive plural “elves” ✧ PE14/050.2207
ELDAR plural “elves” ✧ PE13/099.0601
Eldar plural   ✧ LBI/Eldar.001; LT1/114.2909; LT1/235.0907; LT1A/Eldar.001; LT2I/Eldar.001; QL/043.2601
Eldar plural “Elves” ✧ LT1I/Eldar.001
Eldar plural “Elves or fairies” ✧ PE14/009.0301
elda(li) plural “elves” ✧ PE14/050.2202

Element In

Cognates

Derivations