Meanings of Non-Hobbit Names

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Dernhelm: In Old English, this means "secret helmet" or "helmet of secrecy," and this is certainly appropriate to those who have read Return of the King.

Éomer: This is from a character in Beowulf, and in Old English, it means "horse mare."

Éowyn: In Old English, this means "one who delights in horses."

Grima Wormtongue: In Old English, "grim" means "grim, fierce, cruel, a mask, specter." "Wormtongue" was used to refer to a sarcastic person.

Saruman: In Old English, "crafty man." "Searu" means "craft, device, wile." In Old English, it could be a good or bad description of someone.

Théoden: In Old English, "chief of a nation or a people." Théoden was king of Rohan.

Dwarf names and Gandalf

Dwarf names come from Scandinavian languages. Almost all the dwarf names for The Hobbit come from a list of dwarf names in the Voluspá ("The Prophecy of the Seeress") which is part of what is often called the Elder Edda or Poetic Edda, an Old Norse poem.

The names in the Edda are: From Brimir and Blain- Motsognir, Durin, Nyi, Nithi, Northri, Suthri, Austri, Vestri, Althjof, Dvalin [Dwalin in the Hobbit], Nar, Nain, Niping, Dain, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Nori, An, Onar, Ai, Mjothvitnir, Vigg, Gandalf, Vindalf, Thrain, Thekk, Thorin, Thror, Vit, Lit, Nyr, Nyrath, Regin, Rathsvith, Fili, Kili, Fundin, Nali, Heptifili, Hannar, Sviur, Frar, Hornbori, Fraeg, Loni, Aurvang, Jari, Eikinskjaldi. From Dvalin- Draupnir, Dolgthrasir, Hor, Haugspori, Hlevang, Gloin, Dori, Ori, Duf, Andvari, Skirfir, Virfir, Skafith, Ai, Alf, Yngvi, Eikinskajldi, Fjalar, Frosti, Fith, Ginnar, Lofar.

Durin: Old Norse, "Durinn," one of the ancestors of the dwarves.

Dwalin: Old Norse, "Dvalinn" means "one lying in a trance."

Fundin: Old Norse, "found one."

Gandalf: Appears in the Elder or Poetic Edda and could mean "wand-elf" or "sorcerer elf." In Old Norse "Ganndálf," could mean "sorcerer elf."

Gimli: In The Letters of JRR Tolkien, Tolkien said "Gimli" Tolkien may refer to the archaic Old Norse word "gim," which may mean "fire." In Old Norse, "Gimli" may mean "lee of flame, highest heaven."

Thorin Oakenshield: Old Norse, Thorin, "bold one," and Eikenskjaldi, "with oak shield." from the "Prose Edda".


Anderson, Douglas A. (the annotator) and Tolkien, JRR (author). (2002). The Annotated Hobbit. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Carpenter, Humphrey (Ed.). (2000, 1981). The Letters of JRR Tolkien. New York: Houghton Mifflin.

Noel, Ruth S. (1980). The Languages of Tolkien's Middle-earth. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Oxford English Dictionary: Volume I - A-B. (1961,1933). Oxford: At the Clarendon Press.

Tolkien, JRR. (1994). "Appendices." The Lord of the Rings. New York: Houghton Mifflin.

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