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Sindarin or Grey-elven is the most common language of the Elves in the Third Age. Originally used by the Sindar (Grey-elves) of Doriath in Beleriand, it was picked up by the Noldor in exile, who started to speak their language, Quenya, only when amongst themselves. After the War of Wrath and the destruction of Beleriand, the remnants of these Elves fled to the kingdoms of their cousins, the Silvan Elves. The Sindarin tongue was quickly adopted and replaced the Silvan tongue, which now survives mainly in the names of various places.[1]

Sindarin was also used by the Men of Númenor, whose ancestors learned it from the Elves. It fell out of use as most Númenóreans forsook their friendship with the Elves, but the Faithful, those who remained Elf-friends, kept it. Sindarin was used in the realms these Elf-friends founded after the destruction of Númenor: Gondor and Arnor. Even then, however, Westron was much more commonly spoken, and among Men Sindarin has come to be used mostly only for names of places and people. In Gondor, Sindarin is only spoken daily by those living around Minas Tirith and Dol Amroth.[2]

As it is such a widespread language, many places where Sindarin is not spoken, and their people and creatures, are commonly referred to by Sindarin names by outsiders. A good example of this is Forochel "Northern Ice" and its inhabitants the Lossoth "Snow-horde", who call themselves Lumi-väki, and the Gauredain "Wolf-men".

Sindarin has grammatical rules unlike many other languages. Chief among these are mutation and umlaut. Mutation refers to the modifying of initial consonants in words following other words and in compounds. Umlaut is the "heightening" of vowel sounds, used forming compounds containing i and in plurals.

Common Terms

See External Links for many more definitions and details.


forod, forn - north
rhûn, amrûn - east
harad, harn - south
dûn, annûn - west


baran - golden brown
calen, laeg - green
caran, naru, ruin - red
celebrin - silvery
glaur - gold
luin - blue
malen - yellow
mith, thin(d) - grey
morn - black
nim, fain - white
rhosc, rhosg - brown
ross - coppery


ael, loeg - pool
amon, dol - hill
cirith - cleft
duin, sîr - river
eryn, glâd, taur - forest
falas - shore
gwaith - region, folk
imlad, nan - valley
lang - passage
orod - mountain
nen - water, lake
parth - field
talath - plain
tol - island
-an(d), (n)dor, -ian(d), -ien - land


bar, bâr - home
barad, minas - tower
gobel - (walled) town
lond - haven
ost, garth - fortress


bess - woman
adan - Man (the race, particularly those whose ancestors were the Elf-friends of Beleriand)
dîr - man (adult male)
edhel - Elf
-eth - feminine suffix
gwaith - folk
gwen - maiden
hadhod, naug - Dwarf
iell, sell - daughter
ion - son
-on - masculine suffix
orch - Orc
perian - Hobbit

Objects and Substances

amath, thand - shield
ang - iron
celeb - silver
crist - cleaver
gond, sarn - stone
hathol - axe
lang, magol, megil - sword
malt - gold
raud - metal
rust - copper
sigil - dagger, necklace
tawar - wood

External Links


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F, "The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age", "Of the Elves"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F, "The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age", "Of Men"