From Tolkien Gateway

gûl is a word used in both Sindarin and the Black Speech (derived from the former).[1][2]



In Sindarin, gûl originally referred to "secret knowledge, arts"[4] or "the deeper knowledge of the 'wise' or skilled persons".[2] However, the word came to be associated with Morgoth's black arts (as in the compound morgul).[4] It is therefore also found glossed as "evil or perverted knowledge, necromancy, sorcery".[1]

Black Speech

In the Black Speech, gûl (or gūl) is glossed as "(phantom, shadow of dark magic, necromancer), slave, servant?", "[evil] spirit". In The Lord of the Rings, gûl is translated as "wraiths" (as in Nazgûl, the Ringwraiths).[2]



Other versions of the legendarium

In the Etymologies appears the Noldorin form gûl ("magic").[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Four. Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth: Glossary", p. 350
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 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. 11, 79
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, Part Three: "The Etymologies", p. 377 (root ÑGOL-)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Four. Quendi and Eldar: C. The Clan-names, with notes on other names for divisions of the Eldar", p. 383