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kwende pl. kwendî [1] is the Primitive Quendian word for the Elves.



Formed from the stem KWENE (see kwene) with medial fortification n > nd.

Since KWENE is probably expanded from KWE, the most primitive stem having to do with articulate speech, the term kwendî identifies the Elves as "speakers"[2]


Other versions

In the Etymologies Quenya quendë "Elf" is derived from a stem KWEN(ED) simply defined as "Elf", and the primitive form is given as kwenedê


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, Quendi and Eldar p.360
  2. The Silmarillion, Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor, "Themselves they named the Quendi, signifying those that speak with voices, for as yet they had met no other living things that spoke or sang."