ᴺQ. [Q.] anta n. “jaw” (Category: Face)
Conceptual Development: The earliest appearance of this word was as ᴱQ. anta “jaw” in The Qenya Phonology of the 1910s, where it was derived from ᴱ✶mtā, related to ᴱ√MATA “eat” (PE12/26). It was mentioned again in the contemporaneous Gnomish Lexicon as a cognate to G. ant “cheek” (GL/19), but in the contemporaneous Qenya Lexicon and Poetic and Mythological Words of Eldarissa it was ᴱQ. anto “jaw” (QL/31; PME/31). ᴱQ. anta reappeared in Early Noldorin Word-lists of the 1920s, but there it had the gloss “cheek” and its Gnomish cognate G. ant was “face” (PE13/137, 160). In Early Qenya Word-lists from the 1920s, however, anta retained the gloss “jaw” (PE16/136).
As noted above, in The Etymologies ᴹQ. anta had the gloss “face” and a new derivation from ᴹ√ANA¹ “to, towards” (Ety/ANA¹), perhaps meaning “*front of the head”. In that document Tolkien introduced ᴹQ. anka for “jaw” based on ᴹ√NAK “bite” (Ety/NAK). In notes on The Feanorian Alphabet from around this time, he revised the gloss of ᴹQ. anta from “jaw” to “face” (PE22/21 note #64), which was followed by a chart that had both anta “face” and anka “jaw” (PE22/22). However, he then wrote “jaw” faintly above anta and marked through the gloss of anka (PE22/22 note #67).
In version of these notes on The Feanorian Alphabet from the 1940s, Tolkien had anta “jaws”, but there it was revised to ᴹQ. anto “mouth” (PE22/50 and note #185). In the version of Tengwesta Qenderinwa from around 1950 (TQ2) Tolkien again had Q. anta “jaw” < ✶amtā based on the root √MAT, but he revised the primitive form to ✶ankā and then marked through the entire paragraph (PE18/85 note #72). In the tengwar charts from Appendix E of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien had Q. anca “jaw” and Q. anto “mouth” (LotR/1123).
To summarize, it seems Tolkien revised the meaning of word anta from “jaw” >> “cheek” >> “face” in the 1910s through 1930s; then in the 1940s and 50s he considered restoring anta “jaw” but ultimately settled on Q. anca “jaw” and Q. anto “mouth”.
Neo-Quenya: Given the ultimate result above, I think it is possible that the sense ᴹQ. anta “face” < √ANA “to(wards)” from The Etymologies remains viable, and I would use the word anta with that meaning for purposes of Neo-Quenya. I would also let it retain its ᴱQ. meaning “cheek”, as we have no other Quenya words with this sense.
Reference ✧ PE18/85 ✧ “jaw”
|✶amtā > anta||[amtā] > [antā] > [antā]||✧ PE18/85|
References ✧ Ety/ANA¹; EtyAC/ANA¹; PE22/21-22, 50
|ᴹ√ANA¹ > anta||[anta]||✧ Ety/ANA¹|
|ᴹ√ANAT > anta||[anta]||✧ EtyAC/ANA¹|
References ✧ GL/19; PE12/26; PE13/110, 137, 160; PE16/136, 142
|ᴱ✶ṃ̄t- > anta||[ṃ̄tā] > [ṇ̄tā] > [ṇ̄ta] > [anta]||✧ GL/19|
|ᴱ✶mtā > anta||[ṃtā] > [ṇtā] > [ṇta] > [anta]||✧ PE12/26|