S. sarn n. and adj. “(small) stone, pebble; stony (place)” (Category: Rock, Stone)
A Sindarin noun for a small individual stone or pebble (RC/327; VT42/11) in contrast to S. gond for large blocks of stone or rock (Ety/GOND) or stone as a material (PE17/28). However, sarn also functioned as an adjective “stony”, and when used unqualified could also refer to a “stony place” (RC/163). It was a derivative of the root ᴹ√SAR (Ety/SAR).
Conceptual Development: This word dates all the way back to the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s where Tolkien had G. sarn “a stone” (GL/67), and it was also an element in the negative word ᴱN. orsarn “stoneless” in Early Noldorin Word-lists of the 1920s (PE13/156). It appeared as N. sarn, a derivative of ᴹ√SAR, in The Etymologies of the 1930s, but in this document it was glossed “stone as a material”, and also functioned as an adjective, apparently a blending of *sarnē and ᴹ✶sarnā (Ety/SAR), in contrast to N. gonn which in this document was only “a great stone or rock” (Ety/GOND). In later writings sarn could still function as an adjective “stony” (RC/163) but as a noun generally referred to an individual stone, as in the name S. Edhelharn “Elfstone” (SD/128).
References ✧ RC/163, 327, 775; SA/sarn; UTI/Serni; VT42/11
References ✧ Ety/SAR; TI/345; WR/98, 132
|harn||soft-mutation; s-mutation||“stone”||✧ TI/345|
|ᴹ√SAR > sarn||[sarna] > [sarn]||✧ Ety/SAR|
Reference ✧ PE13/156 ✧ “stone”