From Tolkien Gateway

The alias Sharkey was a nickname that was given to the corrupted Wizard Saruman, the faithless servant of the Dark Lord Sauron, by his minions in Isengard. Later, he assumed it as an identity, 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 the 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.