From Tolkien Gateway

BEL, or MBEL, is a Primitive Quendian root signifying "large".[1]

It seems like Tolkien experimented with the form MELEK, signifying "great, mighty, powerful", when trying to devise an etymology for the name Melkor. However, in what appears to be the later revision, Melkor was made a derivative of BEL, MBEL.[1]


Other versions of the legendarium

In the Etymologies appears the root BEL-, signifying "strong".[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 J.R.R. Tolkien, "Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings", in Parma Eldalamberon XVII (edited by Christopher Gilson), pp. 115, 150 (roots appearing as "BEL-, MBEL-", and "√MELEK-")
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, Part Three: "The Etymologies", p. 352
The Sundocarme "Large & Small" Group
 BEL, MBEL ("large") · KHAWA · PEYE · (POL) · TAW ("wood") · TUR ("strong, mighty") · YAN ("wide")