Mathoms was an old word of the hobbit-dialect, not recorded as being in use outside the Shire. It was used to refer to "trinkets" or any item that Hobbits had no particular immediate use for, but were unwilling to throw away.
Mathoms were many of the presents that passed from hand to hand by the Shire-hobbits - an important part of their culture - and whose owners did not wish to throw them away. Hobbit houses tended to be crowded with mathoms.
Many mathoms were weapons, useless as there hadn't been any conflict since the Battle of Greenfields (S.R. 1147); weapons were seen mostly as trophies, ornamenting walls or hearths, or stored in the Mathom-house, a "museum" in Michel Delving.
Etymology[edit | edit source]
Mathom is a word invented by Tolkien, constructed from an obsolete Old English word máðm "treasure, precious thing".
It is used as a rendering of the original Hobbitish word kast.
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, "Prologue", "Concerning Hobbits"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, "Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings" in Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 782
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F, "On Translation"