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Letter 97

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The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Letter 97
RecipientChristopher Tolkien
Date11 February 1945
Subject(s)Etymological Exasperation

Letter 97 is a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.


Tolkien reported wasting time writing a letter to the Catholic Herald. A sentimentalist correspondent had written about the etymology of Coventry; if someone said it did not come from Convent then that was not "in keeping with Catholic tradition". Tolkien called the writer a boob. Convent had entered English after 1200 A.D. and had meant "assembly"; the meaning of "nunnery" was not recorded before 1795. Being annoyed, Tolkien asked if he wanted to change the name of Oxford to Doncaster, but thought him too stupid to see the mild quip.