S. Gorthaur m. “?Mist of Fear”
Sindarin name of Q. Sauron, glossed “the Cruel” in The Silmarillion (S/32), but it is unclear whether this is an accurate translation. According to Christopher Tolkien, it is a combination of gor “horror” and thaur “abominable” (SA/gor, thaur).
Conceptual Development: The earliest precursor of this name was ᴱN. Thû from the Lays of Beleriand from the 1920s (LB/16), appearing in its extended form N. Gorthû as a late revision to the Lays (LB/232) and in the Silmarillion drafts from the 1930s (LR/333). The name was revised to Gorthaur in Silmarillion revisions from the 1950s-60s (WJ/240).
The meaning of this name is unclear. In Definitive Linguistic Notes (DLN) from 1959, Tolkien indicated that Gorthu was the proper form, derived from primitive ✶ñgor(o)-thūsō “Mist of Fear”, and apparently Gorthaur was a later variation (PE17/183). The source of the etymology that Christopher Tolkien used in The Silmarillion appendix (given above) remains unpublished.
References ✧ PE17/183; S/32; SA/gor, thaur; SI/Gorthaur, Sauron; WJI/Gorsodh, Gorthaur
|gor||“horror, dread, fear”||✧ SA/gor|
|thaur||“abominable, horrible”||✧ SA/thaur|
|✶ñgor(o)-thūsō > Gorthu > Gorthaur||[ŋgorotʰūsō] > [ŋgorotʰūso] > [ŋgoroθūso] > [ŋgoroθūho] > [goroθūho] > [goroθūh] > [goroθū] > [gorθū] ? [gorθu]||✧ PE17/183|
N. Gorthû m. “*Fear Stench”
References ✧ LB/232; LBI/Gorthû, Thû; LR/333; LRI; WJI/Gorthaur