The four Farthings were four of the five (later six) divisions of the Shire. They were known simply as Northfarthing, Westfarthing, Southfarthing and Eastfarthing. The Westron word was tharni, the Sindarin word (presumably) canath.
In English a farthing (Old English feorðing "fourth part, quarter" > ferthing "a negligible amount") is a quarter of a penny, in Shire geography used in the original sense 'fourth part'.
Tolkien notes that the application to the divisions of the Shire to English ears has a perhaps comical effect.
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "The Appendix on Languages", §41
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, "Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings" in Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 770 (see also p. 32)
- ↑ Riding (division) at Wikipedia