√EK root. “sharp point”
The root √EK was associated with pointed things for all of Tolkien’s life. It first appeared as the root ᴱ√EKE with variant ᴱ√EHE [eχe] in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s (QL/35), and as eke and eχe in the contemporaneous Gnomish Lexicon where Tolkien made it clear it was the blending of two roots of similar meaning (GL/31). In the Gnomish Lexicon it had a third variant aχe, but Tolkien seemed less certain of that variant. In the 1910s and 1920s it was the basis for words meaning “sword”, “spear” and “thorn”.
By the 1930s, the sword-words had fallen away, transferred to ᴹ√MAK. But ᴹ√EK appeared in The Etymologies of the 1930s with glosses “spear, (sharp) point, thorn” and derivatives with all these meanings in both Quenya and Noldorin. The primitive form eke appeared in the Quendi and Eldar essay from 1959-1960 with the gloss “sharp point”, and √EK appeared again in etymological notes from 1968 with this same gloss (VT48/25). Thus this root seems to have been very well established in Tolkien’s mind.
References ✧ VT48/25; WJ/365
ᴹ√EK root. “spear, (sharp) point, thorn”
References ✧ Ety/EK, NAR¹, STELEG; PE22/127
ᴱ√EKE root. “*point”
References ✧ GL/31; QL/35