A glossary of Anglo-Saxon found in The Lord of the Rings.

I thought it would be fun to provide a list of definitions for the assorted names and things found in the text. I'm pretty sure I've missed some words, as I paged through the book fairly quickly in my search. What is here are most of the more common names and elements. Most of the Hobbit names are not included as Tolkien's translation metaphor was particularly complicated there. However, if there's a word I missed that you'd like to see here, let me know.

This all began when a friend asked me what Théodred meant, and I discovered a large Anglo-Saxon/Modern English dictionary in my school library. What amazes me the most is that Tolkien chose words and names which are more than appropriate, they often play as much with meaning and subtext as his Mod.E. usages. And he did this in an aspect of his text which very very few of his readers would find fully accessible. I imagine him chuckling over his word-play and inside jokes, and delighting in yet another joining of his love of philology and his writing. He took exquisite care over the details of his stories, and this is just one more bit of evidence to prove it.

As Old English is to Modern English, what Rohirric is to Westron, you may notice a lot of things that sound vaguely familiar (another aspect of his choices, I'm sure). I've left the words in their original Anglo-Saxon, rather than defining Tolkien's usages, as several appear more than once. I also think it's more fun this way. The definitions are arranged roughly alphabetically by word or fragment. I've thrown in a few extra words for comparison; mostly for homophones or near homophones.

Names and words which can be found in this list: Aldor, Arod, Brego, Brytta, Déagol, deep, Déor, Déorwine, Dernhelm, Dúnhere, Dunland, Dunlending, Dwimmerlaik, Dwimorberg, Dwimordene, Eadig, Ednew, Edoras, Elfhelm, Elfwine, Ent, Éomer, Éomund, éored, Eorl, Éothain, Éothéod, Éowyn, Erkenbrand, Farthing, Fastred, fax, Felarof, Fengel, Folca, fold, Fram, Fréalaf, Fréawine, Freca, Frumgar, Gamling, Garulf, Gléowine, Goldwine, Gram, hame, Gríma, Grimbold, Guthláf, Guthwine, Haleth, Hama, Hamfast, Harding, Hasufel, Helm, Herefara, Herubrand, Herugrim (Théoden's sword), Hild, holbytla(n), holdwine, Holman, Hornburg, lathspell, Folcwine, Léod, Léofa, mark, mathom, mearas, Meduseld, Michel Delving, Mundburg, Quickbeam, Samwise, Scatha, simbelmynë, Sméagol, smial, Stybba (Merry's pony), Swerting, thain, Thengel, Théoden, Théodred, Théodwyn, Walda, warg, Widfara, Windfola, Wulf.

A very cool online searchable dictionary which I didn't use for this project, but can see coming in handy in the future: http://home.comcast.net/~modean52/oeme_dictionaries.htm

Source: Bosworth, Joseph. ed. T. Northcote Toller. An Anglo-Saxon dictionary. Oxford UP, London, 1898.

( ) = here usually marks the plural ending.

þ = thorn, the 'th' letter, and the cause of Ye Olde Shoppe syndrome, where the letter y is mistakenly used instead of the þ. The ð (eth) is used interchangeably in AS notation. Thank you Gritchka!

-a = affixed to words, denotes a person, agent, actor

ælf = elf, incubus, genius

aldor (es) =
I. an elder, parent, author
II. a chief, prince
n. = I. live, vital parts of the body
II. age, in the expressions
arod =
n. a species of herb
adj. quick, swift, ready, prepared

árod = honored; mark of honor/badge of office

bald = bold, audacious, adventurous, confident
-bald, -bold = as the terminating syllable of proper names, denotes bold, courageous, honorable

beam = tree

beorn, biorn = poetic form of
I. man
II. prince, nobleman, chief, general, warrior, soldier
(note the sideways joke here, with bjorn, with regards to Beorn)
beran, beoran =
I. to bear, carry, bring, bear or carry a sacrifice, offer, bear off, carry out, extend, wear, support, endure, suffer
II. to bear, produce, bring forth
bere (es) = barley
beren (es) = n. a barley place, a barn
beren = adj. barley, made of barley
beren, byren, biren = adj. ursine, belonging to a bear (bera = bear)
bere (an) = a female bear

bére, bér = a bed

berg = a hill, mountain
beorg =
I. a hill
II. an artificial mound
beorg, beorh, biorg, biorh =
I. a hill, mountain
II. a heap, burrow or barrow, heap of stones, place of burial
beorg-, burg- = a hill, in some compound words

berg, bearg = a swine

beór (es) =
I. beer
II. mead (hydromel)

beora (an) = a grove

beorg, berg = a protection, refuge
beorg = protection
berge = protection, antidote
bold (es) =
I. a building, dwelling, house
II. a superior house, hall, castle, palace, temple
brand, brond (es) =
I. a brand (fire-brand), torch
II. a burning, flame, fire
III. metaphorically from its shining, a sword

brego, bregu, brega, breogo = (poetic term) leader, governor, ruler, prince, king, Lord.

Bryt- = a Welshman, used in compounds
Brytas, Bryttas, Brittas = the Britons
brýt (e) = a nymph, bride
bryta (an) = a lord
burcg = a city
burga = cities
burg (e) = a city
burh =
I. a castle for defense, fortress, walled town, dwelling surrounded by a wall or rampart of earth.
II. a fortress or castle necessary for the protection of those dwelling together in cities or towns.
byld = constancy, boldness
bylda(n) = a builder
býtla(n) = hammerer, builder
býtlian = to build
cwic, cwyc, cwuc, cuc = alive, quick
cwic-beám (es) = the quickbeam, a sort of poplar
deágol = secret
deáglenes = solitariness
deágollíce, deágolíce = secretly
dégle = secret, hidden
dégol = obscurity, mystery, secret, unknown
delf (es) = a delving, the act of digging
delfan = to dig, dig out, delve
delfing (es) = a delving, digging, laying bare, exposing
dene (an); dene (es) = a valley
Dene = the Danes
deóp, dióp = deep, profound, stern, powerful, solemn
deóp, dýp, dióp (es); dýpe (an) = depth, the deep, abyss
= deeply, profoundly
deór, diór (es) = an animal, any sort of wild beast, deer
deór, diór, dýr =
I. brave, bold (as an animal)
II. heavy, severe, dire, vehement

derne = secret, hidden

dun = adj. brown/black color, dun

dún = a mountain, hill, down
dún-lendisc = adj. of hilly, mountainous land
dwimor, dwimer, dwymer (es) = an illusion, delusion
dwimor-líc = adj. visionary
eádi- = happy
eádig, eadeg = happy, blessed, prosperous, fortunate, rich, perfect
ed- = prefix denoting anew, again
-ed = pp. termination
éd = (eád = happiness) safety, security, happiness
éd, ád = a funeral pile
ed-neowe = renewed
ed-niwan, ed-niwe = anew, again

-el, -ol = an ending denoting persons or inanimate objects

-en = forms a few masculine noun endings and many feminine noun endings, also an adjectival ending

ent (es) = a giant
entisc = belonging to or made by a giant, giant

eodor, eoder, eodur, edor, eder (-es) = hedge, fence, enclosure, dwelling, house

eoh = war horse (pl. eohes = eoes = eós)

eóh = yew tree

eóred, eórod = cavalry, legion, troop

eorl = a high ranking nobleman

erk (e) = ark

fára = gen. pl. of hostile

fara (an) = a farer, traveller
faran = a word expressing every kind of going from one place to another
I. to go, proceed, travel, march, sail
II. to fare, happen, to be in any state

fast, fæst = fast (as in steadfast, or fasten), firm

feax, fex (es) = hair of the head

fela, fæla, feala, feola =
I. many, much
II. many things, much, very
III. so many __ as __

fel, felo, fæle = adj. fell, cruel, savage

fel, fell = n. skin, hide

feng =
I. a grasp, span, hug, embrace
II. what is taken, booty
fengel = a prince

feorþ (es) = the soul, spirit, life

feórþa, feówerþa = fourth
feórþling (es); feórþung (e) = a 4th part of a thing, farthing
féorð-a = fourth
féorðing, féorðung = farthing

fola (an) = a foal, colt

folc (es) = collective noun for the folk, people, common people, multitude, tribe, family

folde (an) =
I. the earth, dry land
II. a land, country, district, region, territory
III. the ground, soil
IV. earth, clay

fram = from

fram = valiant, stout, firm

freá (freaha), freó = a lord, master, The Lord

freá-, frǽ- = before, in greater degree, very, exceedingly

frec, fræc = desirous, greedy, gluttonous, audacious, bold
freca (an) = a bold man, warrior, hero
frum (fruma) = original, primative, first
frum-gár; frum-gára (an) = (gár = spear) first spear; A chieftan, leader, prince

gamel, gamol = old, aged

gá (es) = a dart, javelin, spear, shaft, arrow, weapon, arms

gleó- = glee, music
gleów, gleó, gliw, glig (es) = glee, joy, music, musical accompaniment to a song, mirth, jesting, sport
gleowian, gliowian, gliwian, glywian = to play on an instrument, sing, joke, jest, act the gleeman or buffoon

gold (es) = gold

gram, grom = furious, fierce, wroth, angry, offended, incensed, hostile, troublesome
grama (an) = anger, rage, fury, indignation, wrath, trouble

grim = sharp, bitter, severe, fell, fierce, dire, savage, cruel, grim, horrible

gríma (an) =
I. a mask, visor, helmet
II. a spectre
gúþ (e) = (poetic) war, battle, fight
gúþ-leóþ (es) = a war song

hál = whole, hale, well, in good health, sound, safe, without fraud, honest

hæleþ, heleþ (es) = (poetic only, but common in poetry) a man, warrior, hero

ham, hom (es) = a covering, garment, shirt
hama, homa = a covering

ham, hom, hamm (e) = the ham, the inner or hind part of the knee

ham, hama = home
ham (es) = home, house, abode, dwelling, residence, habitation, land, estate, property
-ham = general assemblage of homes
hám-fæst = resident, dwelling at home

háma = a cricket

hasu, heasu = adj. grey, ash colored

heard, hard = hard, harsh, austere, severe, rigorous, stern, stubborn, firm, hardy, brave
hearding (es) = a brave man, warrior, hero
helm =
I. helm
II. crown (of a tree)
III. covering
IV. poetic usage for God, Christ, and earthly rulers
hér = here, in this world, at this time
hér, hǽr = hair
hér = noble, excellent, holy, honorable, sublime
héra (an) = One who obeys another, a servant, follower
heoro, heoru, hioro = (poetic) a sword (Old Saxon heru used in compounds only)
heoru-grim = very fierce or cruel, savage

here = an army, a host, multitude, large predatory band

hére (e) = dignity, majesty, greatness

hild, hyld = grace

hild(e) = (poetic) war, battle

hol = hole, hollow, cavern, den

hold = a Danish (?) title; a carcass or body
adj. = kind, friendly, pleasant, favorable, gracious (of a prince to his subject)
adj. = faithful, loyal, elevated, liege (of a subject to his prince)
hold-áþ = an oath of fealty

holm = a mound, hill, rising ground; (poetic use) a wave, water, the sea

horn (es) = a horn, drinking horn, cupping horn, trumpet, horn shaped projection on the gable-end of a house, a pinnacle

hors = horse

-ing =
suffix for feminine nouns denoting action
a patronymic suffix (many changes in form can occur)
láf (e) =
I. what is left, remnant, remains, relic, remainder, rest
II. used in poetry of weapons, ex.: ''I am the leaving of foes, or fire, and of file''
III. what is left as an inheritance, legacy, kingdom
IV. a relict, widow

land = land

láð (es) = that which is hateful, harmful; harm, evil, injury, hurt, trouble, grief, pain, annoyance, enmity
láð =
I. causing hate, evil, injury, annoyance; hateful, hated, loathed, loth, displeasing, injurious, grievous
II. bearing hate to another, hostile, malign, inimical
láð-spell (es) = a painful, grievous story
leód (es) = a man; (poetic) a prince.
leód (e) = a people, nation, race, district occupied by a people
leód (es) = fine for slaying a man
leóda (an) = a man, one of a people or country

leóf = a form of address to one or many = ''dear sir''

leóf = lief, desirable, pleasant, acceptable, loved, beloved, dear

líc (es) = a body (living or dead), usually dead
-líc = forms -ly adjectival ending
ge-líc = likeness, similitude, like, alike
ge-líca (an) = an equal
ge-lícan = to liken, imitate

lobbe (an) = a spider

mǽre =
n. a boundary, limit, confines, border.
adj. (of persons or things) great, excellent, distinguished, sublime, splendid, celebrated, famous, widely known

máðum, máðm, mádm, máððum (es) = a precious or valuable thing, often refers to gifts; a treasure, jewel, ornament

mearc (e) =
I. a mark, sign (made upon a thing)
II. a mark, ensign
mearc (e) =
I. a limit, bound, term (of time)
IIa. a limit, boundary (of a place)
IIb. a boundary, particularly of an estate
IIc. a boundary, confine of a district, border
III. the territory within its boundaries

mearh (mearas) = horse, steed

méd = meed, reward

medu, meodu = mead
medu-seld = mead-house, feasting-house

mene, myne (es) = a necklace, ornament

mere, mære = the sea, a mere

mere, myre = a mare

micel = mickle, great
I. of size
II. of quantity - much, many
III. great in a metaphorical sense

mín = mine, my

mine (es) = a minnow

mund =
I. a hand
II. a hand (the measurement)
III. a) protection; b) (technical sense) guardianship; c) (personal sense) protector, guardian
IV. legal term a) protection, guardianship extended by the king to the subject, by the head of a family to its members. b) the fine paid for violation of mund
myne (es) =
I. the mind
II. mind (to have a mind for)
III. love

rád = riding

rǽd =
I. council, advice
II. counsel, prudence, intelligence
III. counsel, plan, deliberate course of action, decree
IV. what is advisable
V. a council
VI. as part of proper names, generally réd (red?)

rǽde = adj. mounted

read = red

róf = (poetic only) valiant, stout, strong

sam = conj. whether, or
sam- = prefix denoting agreement, combination

sám- = half, prefix denoting imperfection

sceaþa (an) = scathe, harm, injury

sceaþa, sceáþ = a nail

scír (e) =
I. office, charge, business, administration, government
Ia. where the term refers to an English official
II. a district, province, as an ecclesiatical term - diocese, parish
IIa. the people of a district, a tribe
III. as a technical English term, a shire
IIIa. the people of a shire, the community inhabiting a shire
IV. as an ecclesiatical term - the district in the charge of an ecclesiastic; diocese, parish
scír = clear, bright
I. of living creatures = bright, brilliant, splendid, resplendant
Ia. of a quality
II. of inanimate things: a) vegetation - bright, brilliant, white; b) of metals, stones, etc. - bright, lustrous, glittering, brilliant; c) of glass - clear, translucent; d) of water - clear, limpid; e) of wine - bright, clear, pure, neat; f) of light and light giving things - bright, clear, brilliant; ... i) of the voice - clear
seld =
I. a seat, throne
II. a seat, residence, mansion, hall
simbel, symbel, simel = continual, perpetual, only adverbial or in compounds
simble, symble, simle, siemle, semle, symle = ever, always
I. continually, without intermission
II. on every occasion or opportunity without missing, in unbroken succession
smeáh, smeóh; =
I. creeping in, penetrating
II. subtle, crafty
smeágan, smeán
I (III). to consider, ponder, examine, inquire into, discuss, search
II (IIIa). to seek an opportunity
III (IV). to accept as the result of inquiry, to suppose
smeágelegen (e) = a syllogism
smeágend-líc = meditative
smeágendlíce = searchingly, exactly
smeágung, smeáwung, smeáung, sméung, smeáng (e) =
I. search, inquiry, investigation where something is lost
II. inquiry carried on by the mind, inquiry, consideration, meditation, discussion, deliberation
smeá-líc =
I. searching, penetrating
II. that goes to the root or heart of the matter, profound

smygel, smygels (es) = a burrow, place to creep into

stybb, stubb, stebb (es) = a stub, stump of a tree

sweart =
I. of color; swart, swarthy, black, dark
II. of absence of light or brightness; dark, black, gloomy
III. of absence of good; black (crime), dark, dismal
þegen, þegn, þeng, þén (es) =
I. a servant, one who does service for another
II. where the service is of a public or official character, an officer or minister
IIa. figurative
III. where the service is military, a soldier
IV. a follower of a great man, a retainer
IVa. figurative
V. a follower of a teacher, a disciple
Va. in poetry, borrowing the terms of war
VI. one engaged in a king or queen's service, a thane (whether in the household or in the country). Also a class of persons, with degrees.
VIa. a thane who served a bishop
VIb. one engaged in the service of a republic
VII. a person or rank, one of a class higher than the ordinary freeman (ceorl)
VIII. a brave man, noble man, good warrior
VIIIa. in poetry, used like eorl as a complimentary term for man, warrior.

þengel = a prince (from Icelandic þengill = prince, poetic only)

þeód = a people, nation
þeóden = almost an exclusively poetic use
I. the chief of a þeód; a prince, king
II. a great man, lord, chief
IIa. (can be used for other than men)
III. referring to the Deity
tunge (an) =
I. a tongue
II. tongue 1) as representing a person who speaks with the tongue; 2) representing the words expressed by the tongue (words, speech, language)
III. a tongue shaped thing

wáse (an) = ooze, mud, slime

wæsc = washing
wæsce (an) = a washing place

wæd (es) = a ford, shallow water

wǽd (e)
I. referring to the dress of human beings, widow's weeds
II. of other covering, equipment, or dressing
weald (es) = high land covered with woods
weald = power
weald = found as the 2nd part of proper names.
wealda (an) = a ruler, as a proper name
wealdan = to have power over
wearg[h] = n. (from Icelandic vargr = wolf)
I. if human = a villain, felon, scoundrel
II. if animal = a monster, malignant being, evil spirit
adj. evil, vile, malignant, accursed
I. in reference to dimensions of an object; wide, of a width
II. where there is a considerable distance between the extremities or sides of an object; wide, of great width, broad
III. of great surface, wide, vast, spacious, broad, ample
IIIa. of that which is spread over a wide surface
IV. wide, having no limit near, open
V. figuratively not confined within narrow limits, of far reaching power
VI. of travel, that traverses many lands, distant, far and wide
VII. of the duration of time, long lasting; in phrases, equivalent to ever, always

win(n) = a pasture

wind (es) =
I. wind, air in motion
II. wind, flatulence
III. wind, breath

wine = a friend

wín = wine

wis = certain

wís, wíse = a manner
wís =
I. wise, discreet, judicious
Ia. in a bad sense, cunning
II. wise, learned, skilled, expert
III. known
wíse (an), wís (e) =
I. a wise way, manner, mode, fashion.
II. state, condition
III. an arrangement, instruction, a disposition, direction, condition
IV. a thing
IVa. a cause, reason

wísa (an) = a leader, director, captain

wíse (an) = a sprout, stalk

wulf = wolf

wyn(n) =
I. delight, pleasure
II. a delight which causes pleasure
IIa. used as an epithet for persons
III. the best (of a class), the pride (of its kind)
wyrm, wurm, weorm (es) =
I. a reptile, serpent
II. a creeping insect, a worm
wyrms (es) = corrupt matter
worms, worsm, wurms, wursm (es) = corrupt matter