S. Eriador loc. “Lonely Land”
The region of northwestern Middle Earth containing the Shire (LotR/3, 174). This name was translated “Lonely Land” (PE17/28), also said to be equivalent to “wilderness” (VT42/4). This name is a combination of the ancient forms ✶eryā “isolated, lonely” and ✶ndorē, the second of which developed into S. dôr “land” (SA/dôr, PE17/28, VT42/4).
Possible Etymology: The phonetic development of this name is problematic. If it developed directly from an ancient compound ✶eryā-ndōrē, the medial [nd] would become [nn], as with Ennor < ✶endōrē < ✶ened-ndōrē (LotR/1115), producing **Eriannor. If it were a late compound, however, its initial element would be the Sindarin form S. air “lonely” < ✶eryā (PE17/28). Most likely the word is of archaic origin, but its final element was changed by analogy with other words containing dôr, as indicated in a note by Tolkien from 1953 (VT42/4). Alternately, in at least one place Tolkien said Eriador was a “Silvan” name (PE17/28), so perhaps it underwent different phonetic development than the Sindarin of Beleriand.
Conceptual Development: In Lord of the Rings drafts from the 1940s, this name first appeared as N. Eriador (TI/455).
References ✧ LotRI; MRI; PE17/28; PMI; SA/dôr; SI; UTI; VT42/4; WJI
|✶eryā||“isolated, lonely”||✧ PE17/28; VT42/4|
|✶ndorē||“land”||✧ VT42/4 (ndōrē)|