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Discussing: Etymology of Denethor

Etymology of Denethor

I'm bringing this over from the HotK discussion so it would get wider viewing. Two_flower2 posted: About the dreams: the name Denethor means "eagle", doesn't it? When I asked more, she provided this link: http://de.geocities.com/dantesvillian/history.htm Bascially, the writer takes the "thor" portion of Denethor to mean "eagle". Is this a good etymology? If yes, then what might "dene" mean? If not, why not? OK, you Elvish mavens, tell us what *you* think! Ang, Who really hopes it is so

 

 

Re: Etymology of Denethor

Hi Ang, I had to dig for this one! The first Denethor was of the Green-elves so his name is Nandorin - and thus the Sindarin meaning of 'thôr' doesn’t seem to apply. Here’s one etymology - From the Ardalambion article on Telerin: Daintáro (masc. name, cognate of Denethor) (LR:188 ). Primitive form given as Ndani-thârô, "Saviour of the Dani [Nandor, Green-elves]"; thârô would be an agental formation similar to kânô above, though no suitable stem is known (it would have to be *THAR or less likely *THA; a stem THAR is actually listed in LR:392, but it is defined as "across, beyond" and cannot well yield a word for "saviour"). Interestingly, th becomes t following n, though it becomes f initially (see Findo) and d following a vowel (see bredele). Notice that Tolkien many years later proposed a totally different etymology for the name Denethor; see WJ:412 (where no Telerin form is quoted). And here’s the non-Telerin etymology: From WJ, Q & E, p 412 Note 17 (p. 384) Lenwë is the form in which his name was remembered in Noldorin histories. His name was probably *Denwego, Nandorin Denweg. His son was the Nandorin chieftain Denethor. These names probably meant ‘lithe-and-active’ and ‘lithe-and-lank’, from *dene- ‘thin and strong, pliant, lithe’, and *thara- ‘tall (or long) and slender’. Sorry to dash hopes, but I think that’s Tolkien’s first and last words on it. I’ll let you know if anything more turns up. Ithildin *(

 

 

Re: Etymology of Denethor

Wow! Actually, either of these derivations is more interesting than "(something) eagle", and the non-Telerin definition perfectly matches how I envision the younger Denethor (and also Thorongil) - tall, lithe, agile. However, the sense of meaning "saviour" would also fit with how JRRT described Denethor "he loved Gondor and its people, and deemed himself appointed by destiny to lead them in this desparate time" (UT, The Palantiri, p.408, hardcover edition), which has overtones of being a savior in trying times. "across, beyond" is more difficult to fit into why JRRT would designate *this* character with this name, given how the Professor tended to have meaningful names first and characters second. Thank you for all the research! :-) Ang PS - Lyllyn & Barbara, in your nefarious plans for the Resources area, have you given any thought for ways to organize members' linguistic research and findings, such as what Ithildin did here?

 

 

Re: Etymology of Denethor

PS - Lyllyn & Barbara, in your nefarious plans for the Resources area, have you given any thought for ways to organize members' linguistic research and findings, such as what Ithildin did here? Nefarious? Us? We do think it would be a good idea to add a separate Etymology section to each type of Resources entry (like the Meaning section that's there now (though I suspect larger) -- it would not be visible unless something is filled in.) But we would be delighted to hear any other ideas... - Barbara

 

 

Re: Etymology of Denethor

And here’s the non-Telerin etymology: From WJ, Q & E, p 412 Note 17 (p. 384) Lenwë is the form in which his name was remembered in Noldorin histories. His name was probably *Denwego, Nandorin Denweg. His son was the Nandorin chieftain Denethor. These names probably meant ‘lithe-and-active’ and ‘lithe-and-lank’, from *dene- ‘thin and strong, pliant, lithe’, and *thara- ‘tall (or long) and slender’. Sorry to dash hopes, but I think that’s Tolkien’s first and last words on it. I’ll let you know if anything more turns up. What is WJ, Q & E? RAKSHA THE DEMON

 

 

Re: Etymology of Denethor

WJ is War of the Jewels, the History of Middle Earth Volume XI and Q & E is Quendi and Eldar, a fairly extensive etymological essay in that volume of the History. Elcalion

 

 

Re: Etymology of Denethor

Ithildin, this is great! Would you mind if we added this to the Denethor entry? We'd credit you, of course. Lyllyn Any other spare etymology you have hanging around is very welcome too. As Barbara mentions, many recent entries have etymology sections, but older entries usually don't and we'd like to backfill.

 

 

Re: Etymology of Denethor

I'd be happy for you to add it, I was fascinated to discover it all and I think it would be great to include it with the entry. I keep copies of most of my posts, so I probably have a few more tucked away somewhere. As I find them, I'll let you know. Ithildin *(

 

 

Re: Etymology of Denethor

We do think it would be a good idea to add a separate Etymology section to each type of Resources entry (like the Meaning section that's there now (though I suspect larger) -- it would not be visible unless something is filled in.) But we would be delighted to hear any other ideas... Well, expanging the etymology field, yes, but also some area dedicated to the etymologies themselves and linguistic matters more generally. I have no idea what thay might look like, mind you, but perhaps someone else had ideas. Toodles - Ang

 

 

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