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-ma is a Quenya nominal (concretizing) ending denoting a thing (usually object) having something to do with the root meaning; either having its properties or being produced by the verbal action in question; or even being a tool used to accomplish it.

In general, -mâ/-ma seem to be stuck to naked roots or stems to produce the nouns. Eg. RIL > rilma "glittering light"; verb stems par- "to learn" > parma "book". However, full nouns can be suffixed with -ma to produce another object: Eg. líco "wax" > lícuma "candle".


-ma derives from Primitive Quendian -mâ frequent in the names of implements.[1] Such PQ nouns have yielded Quenya -ma nouns, for example tuimâ > tuima or sjalmâ > hyalma.

In some phonological environments, -ma appears in allomorphs in later Quenya: Nouns in -wa or -ba might conceal a primitive -mâ. For example PQ labmâ > Q lamba (metathesis of bm to mb) or PQ takmâ > Q tangwa (nasalization and strengthening of k before m and velarization of m).[2]

It is obviously related to similar endings like -mo (which indicates a person or doer) or -me (which form a more abstract noun) which behave and operate similarly. For example alma "wealth" vs alme "blessing", carma "tool" vs carme "art"



  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels p.416
  2. Helge Fauskanger, Vicente Velasco (ed.) The Evolution from Primitive Elvish to Quenya