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Dwimmerlaik was a name given to the Lord of the Nazgûl by Éowyn (as Dernhelm) when she confronted him during the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.[1]

By extension, it is possible that Dwimmerlaik is how the Rohirrim called the Wraiths or rumors of the Nazgûl in general.[2]


The word dwimmerlaik is said to mean "work of necromancy, spectre" in Rohanese.[3]. Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond have suggested that dwimmerlaik derives from Middle English dweomer, Old English (gwe)dwimor, -er ("illusion, phantom") + Middle English -layk, -laik ("play").[4] See also Dwimordene, Dwimorberg; Saruman is also referred to as dwimmer-crafty by Éomer.

It is not clear if the word refers to a generic creature of the Rohanese folklore, such as the holbytlan or a phantom; therefore when Éowyn confronted the Witch-king she likely rather identified him with one, than coining the word on that moment.

David Day in A Tolkien Bestiary considered that a Dwimmerlaik is any creature of Rohanese superstitious folklore that includes Elves and Ents. However, other than the appearance of the root dwimor- in the abovementioned names, there is no indication in Tolkien's writings that the word pre-existed or that it was used for other races.[5]

See also[edit]