From Tolkien Gateway

POL is a Primitive Quendian root signifying "large, big (strong)" or "can, have physical power and ability". At one time Tolkien seems to have hesitated about this sense of the root, writing: "[√POL] cannot refer to strength", since it is "[t]oo obvious a reminiscence of pollens"[note 1] and "also it does not account for poli- 'meal'". He therefore proposed the revised signification "'pound up', break small, reduced to powder etc". However, the original sense of POL ultimately seems to have been retained, and Tolkien instead proposed a change of the word pole ("meal"; cf. poli- above) to mŭle.[1]

In Parma Eldalamberon 17 (p. 115) "pol" appears to be cited as a Quenya word. However, it has been argued that: "[s]ince this would be the sole example of a monosyllabic Quenya adjective, it may be that Tolkien is here citing the root POL rather than a complete word."[2] The argument also gains plausibility as pol is listed among the roots in the "large & small" group.

POL is said to have been close in meaning to one of the senses of LER "am free to do, there being no obstacle", as the part "no obstacle" could sometimes signify "no physical obstacle".[3]

Derivatives[edit | edit source]

Other versions of the legendarium[edit | edit source]

In the Qenya Lexicon appears the roots POL-I (yielding the Qenya derivative pole "oats") and POLO (signifying "have strength").[5] In the Etymologies appears the root POL-, POLOD-, signifying "physically strong".[4]


  1. Tolkien is apparently not referring to an Elvish word, but instead to the English word pollens (pollens does not occur in any Sindarin or Quenya compilations of words). This interpretations is perhaps corroborated by the alternative signification of the root POL as "break up small, reduced to power".


  1. 1.0 1.1 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, 181 (root appearing as "√POL" and "POL")
  2. Helge Fauskanger, "Quettaparma Quenyallo" (accessed 27 February 2011)
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings: Eldarin Roots and Stems", in Parma Eldalamberon XVII (edited by Christopher Gilson), p. 160
  4. 4.0 4.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, Part Three: "The Etymologies", p. 382
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Qenyaqetsa: The Qenya Phonology and Lexicon", in Parma Eldalamberon XII (edited by Carl F. Hostetter, Christopher Gilson, Arden R. Smith, and Patrick H. Wynne)
The Sundocarme "Large & Small" Group
 BEL, MBEL ("large") · KHAWA · PEYE · (POL) · TAW ("wood") · TUR ("strong, mighty") · YAN ("wide")