Tolkien Gateway

Letter 168

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Revision as of 12:33, 28 June 2008

Letter 168 is a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.


This letter, dated September 7, 1955, is addressed to Richard Jeffery. Jeffery had some etymological queries. Tolkien replies late, because he was on vacation in Venice, Italy (as described in Letter 167). Jeffery had also sent atranscription of his name in Tengwar, to which Tolkien replies that because there is no standard for Tengwar and English, he can't technically make mistakes. Tolkien promises more information on Tengwar in apendices to The Return of the King, but the publishing is delayed because Tolkien tries to include a name-list of etymologies. As for Jeffery's queries, Tolkien translates Orofarnë as "mountain-dwelling", Lassemista as "leaf-grey", and Carnemírië as "With adornement of red jewels". The plural of onod is enyd, class plural onodrim, but in Gondor, ened was used. Peregrin is a "real modern name", and Tolkien translates it as "traveller in strange countries". Frodo is a real name form Germanic tradition. In Old English, it was Fróda, and fród means "wise by experience".


  • Jeffery would later write Letter 347, also containing several linguistic and etymological queries and guesses.
  • Tolkien places an overlay of Middle-earth on the map of Europe: he refers to Venice as "Gondor" and England as "the North Kingdom".
  • In a postscript, Tolkien wrote, in Quenya Tengwar, "nmárie". This word, known as DTS 12, is obviously namárië, "farewell".