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Halflings was a name for Hobbits used by Men; it was originally given to them by the tall Dúnedain. Though the Dúnedain had diminished in stature since the line of kings failed, at their greatest the had stood two rangar tall, making the average Hobbit about half their height. The name was still used by Gondorians in the Third Age although they were shorter than their ancestors and the halflings were more than half of their height.

The name "Halfling" is a translation from the Westron banakil which means "half-man". It was translated into both Sindarin and Quenya as Perian.