From Tolkien Gateway

Kilmessë, Quenya for "self-name", was a name that some of the exiled Elves gave to themselves as a disguise, or to refer to deeds or to their personal history.[1]

Other versions of the legendarium

In an account in "Laws and Customs Among the Eldar" in Morgoth's Ring, the kilmessë is a name chosen by an Elf-child once she or he is capable of lámatyáve, that is once they gain fluency in their mother-tongue and find pleasure in the sounds and forms of words. It is a private name, used only by family members and close friends, and reflects the child's personality or talents. It is announced in a ceremony called Essecilmë (name-choosing).[2]


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "XI. The Shibboleth of Fëanor", Note on Mother-names, p. 339
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Three. The Later Quenta Silmarillion: (II) The Second Phase: Laws and Customs among the Eldar, Of Naming", p. 216