From Tolkien Gateway

kwende pl. kwendî is the Primitive Quendian word for the Elves.[1] The word was perhaps primarily used in the plural.


Formed from the Root KWENE (see kwene) with ostime of n > nd.

Since KWENE is probably expanded from KWE, the most primitive stem having to do with articulate speech, the term kwendî identifies the Elves as "speakers".[2]


Note that the final short -e was not lost in the later languages, as it usually happens with other words.

Other versions

In the Etymologies Quenya quendë "Elf" is derived from a stem KWEN(ED) simply defined as "Elf", and the primitive form is given as kwenedê.


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, Quendi and Eldar p. 360
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor": "Themselves they named the Quendi, signifying those that speak with voices, for as yet they had met no other living things that spoke or sang."