Sting was an Elvish knife made in Gondolin in the First Age. Engraved on the blade and cross-guard are letters in Sindarin that read phonetically, Maegnas aen estar nin dagnir in yngyl im. Translated into English, they read, Maegnas is my name, I am the spider's bane. According to the Appendix of The Silmarillion, the element maeg in Sindarin means 'sharp' or 'piercing'.
Sting was a magical weapon used by Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit, which he found in a Troll-hoard along with Glamdring and Orcrist. Although it was just a dagger by the standard of Men or Elves, it made an excellent sword for a Hobbit. Bilbo gives Sting to Frodo Baggins, just before the Fellowship of the Ring sets off from Rivendell. After the defeat of Sauron at the end of the Third Age, it passed to Samwise Gamgee.
Its proper name was Maegnas, as fitting in with the heritage of the city of Gondolin where it was forged. It was renamed 'Sting', in the colloquial manner of the hobbits, by Bilbo, and was referred to by that name in The Lord of the Rings.
Gollum, who similarly dislikes anything made by Elves, is afraid of Sting. This fear helped Bilbo when confronting Gollum under the mountain in The Hobbit. It also helps Frodo to tame Gollum (temporarily) in The Lord of the Rings.
Sting also glows in the presence of the giant spider descendants of Ungoliant, such as the spiders of Mirkwood in The Hobbit and Shelob in The Two Towers. Sting also cuts through the webs of such spiders easily, whereas the blade that Sam brought from the Barrow Downs failed to cut through Shelob's webs.
|Weapons of Middle-earth|
|Aeglos · Andúril · Anglachel · Angrist · Anguirel · Aranrúth · Belthronding · Black Arrow · Bow of Bregor · Daggers of Westernesse · Dagmor · Dailir · Dramborleg · Durin's Axe · Glamdring · Grond · Gúthwinë · Gurthang · Herugrim · Morgul-knife · Narsil · Orcrist · Red Arrow · Ringil · Sting|