From Tolkien Gateway

The alias Sharkey was a nickname that was given to the cast out Wizard, Saruman the no longer white, by his servants and soldiers in Isengard. Later, he used it in the Shire after taking it over during the last stages of the War of the Ring.


Tolkien attempted to translate the alias into English from the Westron word. The name is not given but it was actually based on orkish sharkû 'old man'.

The word therefore is an Anglicization of sharkû and the -ey is intended to be the English "diminutive and quasi-affectionate ending -ey".[1] A Westron ending of such function is not known.