6 min read

All the words in Lord of the Rings that I did not know

Sixty-four in all! I had a sense of what some of these meant but included them if I wasn’t pretty sure, and a lot of the usages were archaic.

The joy of putting together a list like this was both learning a bunch of fun words and also engaging with the people who have tread before me in understanding LOTR minutiae, e.g., the folks who wrote the Tolkien Glossary and Tolkien and the OED.

  1. adamant: Noun: very hard native crystalline carbon valued as a gem.
  2. affray: Noun: noisy quarrel; a noisy fight.
  3. biers: Noun: a coffin along with its stand; a stand to support a corpse or a coffin prior to burial.
  4. boles: Noun: The stem or trunk of a tree; something similar to this in shape, as a pillar.
  5. boss (as in “shield boss”): Noun: a round, convex or conical piece of material at the centre of a shield.
  6. buckler: Noun: armor carried on the arm to intercept blows.
  7. charnel: Noun: a vault or building where corpses or bones are deposited; Adjective: gruesomely indicative of death or the dead.
  8. commons : Noun: Food provided at a common table; as in colleges; hence food or provisions in general. Short commons -small meals.
  9. coomb: Noun: Comb. A narrow valley or deep hollow, esp. one inclosed on all sides but one.
  10. corslet: Noun: a piece of body armor for the trunk; usually consists of a breastplate and back piece.
  11. crocks: Noun: An earthen pot, jar or other vessel; earthenware.
  12. culvert: Noun: a transverse and totally enclosed drain under a road or railway.
  13. damask: Noun: a table linen made from linen with a damask pattern; a fabric of linen or cotton or silk or wool with a reversible pattern woven into it; Adjective: having a woven pattern.
  14. defile : Noun: a narrow pass (especially one between mountains.
  15. dell: Noun: A deep, natural hollow in land, often with wooded slopes; a small valley; a vale.
  16. dingle: Noun:a tree-shadowed dell, a small wooded hollow.
  17. dolven: Verb (Adjective in context): Delve. Made or obtained by digging.
  18. dwimmer: Adjective (and nonce word!): Knowledgeable, crafty, or skilled in the art of magic. (Saruman is described as ‘dwimmer-crafty’, and Éowyn cals the Witch-King ’Dwimmerlaik.)
  19. eaves: Noun: the overhang at the lower edge of a roof.
  20. embrasure: Noun: an opening in a wall or ship or armored vehicle.
  21. eyot: Noun: An islet; an ait (a small island in a river).
  22. eyrie: Noun: the lofty nest of a bird of prey, such as a hawk or eagle; any habitation at a high altitude.
  23. fastness: Noun: a strongly fortified defensive structure.
  24. fen: Noun: low-lying wet land with grassy vegetation; usually is a transition zone between land and water.
  25. flet: Noun: From Middle English flet (“floor of a house; house”).
  26. fosse: Noun: ditch dug as a fortification and usually filled with water.
  27. furlong: Noun: a unit of length equal to 220 yards.
  28. gangrel: Adjective: A vagabond or vagrant; also, a lank, loosely built person.
  29. haft: Noun: the handle of a weapon or tool.
  30. hayward: Noun: An officer having the charge of hedges and fences, esp., to keep cattle from straying through; also a herdsman of cattle feeding on a common (common land where anyone could graze their cattle, sheep, etc.).
  31. hauberk: Noun: a long (usually sleeveless.
  32. hillock: Noun: a small natural hill.
  33. hummock: Noun: A knoll or hillock (a small hill or mound).
  34. hythe: _ Noun_: Hithe. A port or haven; esp., a landing place on a river.
  35. islet: Noun: a small island.
  36. kerb: Noun: an edge between a sidewalk and a roadway consisting of a line of curbstones (usually forming part of a gutter.
  37. laved: Verb: wash or flow against; cleanse (one’s body, wash ones face and hands).
  38. lee: Noun: Shelter; esp., the side or part that is sheltered or turned away from the wind.
  39. louver: Noun: A turret or lantern on the roof of a medieval building, to supply ventilation or light; one of a set of parallel slats in a door or window to admit air and reject rain.
  40. mere : Noun: a small pond of standing water;
  41. moot (as in “Shire moot”): Noun: an Anglo-Saxon legal institution, used to maintain law and order at a local level, and perform various administrative functions, including the collection of taxes for the central government.
  42. muster : Noun: a gathering of military personnel for duty; compulsory military service; Verb: gather or bring together; call to duty, military service, jury duty, etc..
  43. nasturtiums: Noun: any tropical American plant of the genus Tropaeolum having pungent juice and long-spurred yellow to red flowers; aquatic herbs; flowers and seeds and leaves all used as flavorings.
  44. ostler: Noun: someone employed in a stable to take care of the horses; An innkeeper; also; one who cares for horses at an inn; any person who takes care of horses; a groom.
  45. pikestaff: Noun: the staff of a pike.
  46. postern: Noun: a small gate in the rear of a fort or castle.
  47. provender: Noun: food for domestic livestock; a stock or supply of foods.
  48. ramifying: Verb: have or develop complicating consequences; grow and send out branches or branch-like structures; divide into two or more branches so as to form a fork.
  49. recreant: Noun: an abject coward; a disloyal person who betrays or deserts his cause or religion or political party or friend etc.; Adjective: having deserted a cause or principle; lacking even the rudiments of courage; abjectly fearful.
  50. rede : Noun: advice or counsel given by one person to another; To counsel or advise; also to explain or interpret; also to relate or tell; a plan, design, or scheme.
  51. sable : Noun: a very dark black; an artists brush made of sable hairs, the expensive dark brown fur of the marten;; a scarf (or trimming; marten of northern Asian forests having luxuriant dark brown fur).
  52. sortie: Noun: a military action in which besieged troops burst forth from their position; (military; as in a military operation.
  53. sties: Noun: an infection of the sebaceous gland of the eyelid; a pen for swine.
  54. sward: Noun: surface layer of ground containing a mat of grass and grass roots.
  55. swart: Adjective: naturally having skin of a dark color.
  56. troth: Noun: a mutual promise to marry; a solemn pledge of fidelity.
  57. truncheon: Noun: a short stout club used primarily by policemen.
  58. trussed: Verb: tie the wings and legs of a bird before cooking it; secure with or as if with ropes; support structurally; Adjective: bound or secured closely; support (a roof, bridge, or other structure) with a truss or trusses.
  59. turves: Noun: surface layer of ground containing a mat of grass and grass roots; the territory claimed by a juvenile gang as its own; range of jurisdiction or influence.
  60. tussock: Noun: a bunch of hair or feathers or growing grass.
  61. wanly : Adverb: in a weak or pale or languid manner.
  62. warren: Noun: A habitation having passages like burrows. A building or collection or buildings containing many tenants in limited quarters. The word is associated with rabbits, rabbit holes, etc.
  63. whin: Noun: Basaltic rock; any of various other hard rocks; also, a mass or piece of such rock.
  64. yale: Noun: Fertile upland.