Q. Aina Wendë mi Wenderon “Holy Virgin of virgins”

Q. Aina Wendë mi Wenderon, “Holy Virgin of virgins”

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The twelfth line of Tolkien’s Quenya translation of the Litany of Loreto prayer (VT44/12). The first word is aina “holy” followed by Wende mi Wenderon “Virgin of Virgins”. The word wendë means “virgin”, appearing in both the singular and genitive plural wenderon “of virgins”. This genitive plural form is unusual. The normal genitive plural of a noun ending in is -ion, which would produce *wendion. See the entry on the plural nouns for further discussion.

The function of the third word mi is unclear. Normally this word means “in”, but Wynne, Smith and Hostetter suggested that it is used here with the sense “among” (elsewhere usually Q. imbë¹) as a way of emphasizing the superlative nature of Mary’s virginity: “*virgin among all virgins” (VT44/18).

Decomposition: Broken into its constituent elements, this phrase would be:

Aina Wende mi Wende-r-on = “*holy virgin among virgin-(plural)-of”

Reference ✧ VT44/12 ✧ Aina Wende mi Wenderon “Holy Virgin of virgins”


aina “holy, revered, numinous” ✧ VT44/17
wendë “maiden, *virgin” ✧ VT44/18
mi “in” ✧ VT44/18
wendë “maiden, *virgin” genitive plural ✧ VT44/18 (Wenderon)

Element In