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The Elf-friends were those, usually among Men, who were recognised by the Elves as providing special aid or alliance to their efforts. The Quenya terms were technically Eldandil ("Devoted to the Eldar"), or Quendil ("Devoted to the Quendi") or Elesser.
Among the Edain and Dúnedain, the Elvish words for "Elf" and "star" were often confused, since they sounded similar. Thus Elendil or Elvellon was used by them to mean "Elf-friend", though it actually signifies "Devoted to the Stars".
The concept of the "Elf-friend" is recurrent in Tolkien's legendarium, both in meaning and in name. The name Ælfwine/Elfwine is an actual Old English personal name that means "Elf-friend" and has survived in modern times as Alwin/Elwin. This word has been the basis for several characters and terms:
- Elfwine son of Éomer
- Ælfwine of England (also known as Eriol)
- Alwin Lowdham