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Select Elvish Words 1.77: Ice, Frost, Freeze

1.77 Ice, Frost

ᴹQ. helke n. “ice”
A noun in The Etymologies of the 1930s glossed “ice” derived from the root ᴹ√KHELEK of the same meaning (Ety/KHELEK).

Conceptual Development: ᴱQ. helke “ice” also appeared in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s under the early root ᴱ√HELE (QL/39).

ᴹQ. helkelimbe n. “*icicle, (lit.) ice-drop”
An unglossed noun in The Etymologies of the 1930s (Ety/LIB¹), a combination of ᴹQ. helke “ice” and a variant of ᴹQ. limba “drop”, perhaps meaning “*icicle”.

Conceptual Development: A word for “icicle” with a similar etymology appeared in the Qenya Lexicon: ᴱQ. liqilitl, a combination of ᴱ√LIQI “clear” and ᴱQ. litl “drop” (QL/54). This supports the notion that 1930s helkelimbe “*ice-drop” might also be used for an icicle. In the Declension of Nouns from the early 1930s, however, “icicle” was ᴹQ. helen with stem-form helem- (PE21/34).

Q. niquessë n. “frost-patterns; snowflake, ice-flake; (lit.) chill feather”
A noun literally meaning “chill feather”, but variously used for “frost-patterns” (WJ/417) or “snowflake, ice-flake” (PE17/168). It originated as a variant of niquis (niquiss-) where the second element was modified by association with quessë “feather”.

See Q. niquis for further discussion.

Q. niquis (niquiss-) n. “snowflake, ice-flake; petal (loose) of a white flower; ⚠️frost-patterns, [ᴱQ.] snow”
A noun in the Quendi and Eldar essay from 1959-60 glossed “frost-patterns” (WJ/417). It also appeared in some etymological notes from around 1959 with the stem forms niquiss- or niquits-, where it was derived from the root √NIK(W) (PE17/168). In those 1959 notes it was glossed “ice-flake or snowflake — also petal (loose) of a white flower”. In both documents, it had a variant form niquessë of similar meaning, where the second element was modified by association with quessë “feather”, thus literally “chill feather” (WJ/417; PE17/168).

Conceptual Development: The Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s had ᴱQ. niqis (niqiss-) “snow” under the early root ᴱ√NIQI “white” (QL/66).

Neo-Quenya: For purposes of Neo-Quenya, I’d mostly use niquis(s-) for “snowflake” or “ice-flake”, and metaphorically for the loose petal of a white flower. I’d use the variant niquessë for “frost pattern” and more loosely for “snowflake”. For “frost” itself I’d use nixë. This is mainly to help differentiate these otherwise very similar words.

Q. nixë n. “frost; ⚠️ice-flake or snow-flake”
A noun in the Quendi and Eldar essay from 1959-60 glossed “frost” (WJ/417). It also appeared in some etymological notes from around 1959 as a variant of niquis “ice-flake or snowflake” under the root √NIK(W) (PE17/168).

Conceptual Development: The word for “frost” was ᴹQ. helor in the Declension of Nouns of the early 1930s and ᴹQ. helle in The Etymologies of the mid-to-late 1930s, both based on the short root ᴹ√KHEL “freeze” (Ety/KHEL). In The Etymologies Tolkien deleted this short root and its derivatives, retaining only longer ᴹ√KHELEK, and in later writings seems to have decided “frost” was based on √NIK(W) instead.

Neo-Quenya: For purposes of Neo-Quenya, I’d limit nixë to “frost” and use niquis for “snowflake” to help differentiate the two words.

S. aeglos n. “icicle, (lit.) snow-point; snowthorn (a plant)”
A species of plant mentioned in one version of the Narn i Chîn Húrin (UT/99), translated “snowthorn” and described as “like furze (gorse), but larger, and with white flowers” (UT/148 note #14). Aeglos was also the name of the spear of Gil-galad, translated as “Icicle” in The Lord of the Rings index (LotRI/Aeglos); it is possible this word can be used for ordinary icicles as well. In the Silmarillion index, it was translated more literally as “Snow-point” (SA/Aeglos), a combination of aeg “sharp” and loss “snow”.

Conceptual Development: G. helfingl or helfin(n) was the word for “icicle” in the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s (GL/48), probably a combination of ᴱ√HELE “freeze” with G. fingl “tress”.

N. heleg n. “ice”
A noun in The Etymologies of the 1930s glossed “ice” derived from the root ᴹ√KHELEK of the same meaning (Ety/KHELEK).

Conceptual Development: G. heleg “ice” also appeared in the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s along with a variant helc, both under primitive χele-k (GL/48). This is clearly related to the early root ᴱ√HELE as first suggested by Christopher Tolkien (LT1A/Helkar; QL/39).

⚠️N. hell n. “frost”
A noun in The Etymologies of the 1930s glossed “frost” derived from the root ᴹ√KHEL “freeze”, but Tolkien deleted this short root and its derivatives, keeping only the longer form ᴹ√KHELEK (Ety/KHEL).

Conceptual Development: The Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s had a number of similar “frost” related words: G. heloth “frost”, G. hîl {“ice-cold, icy” >>} “frost” as well as G. helfileg “frost on panes, etc.” (GL/48-49), all based on the early root ᴱ√HELE “freeze”, the last with the added element G. fileg “fern”.

Neo-Sindarin: Tolkien probably deleted N. hell “frost” because he abandoned the short root ᴹ√KHEL, but short √KHEL did reappear in later writings (PE17/116), so it is tempting to restore hell “frost” as well. However, this conflicts with other attested words like N. hell “naked”, so I think it is better to use a neologism like ᴺS. nich for “frost”; see that entry for discussion.

ᴺS. nich n. “frost”
A neologism for “frost”, cognate of Q. nixë of the same meaning (WJ/417), that assumes a phonetic development similar to that of S. ach vs. Q. akse (axë) “neck” (PE17/92); see the entry on how [p], [t], [k] spirantalized before [s] in (Old) Sindarin.

1.772 to Freeze

ᴱQ. halkin adj. “frozen”
An adjective in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s appearing as ᴱQ. halkin “frozen” based on the early root ᴱ√HḶKḶ, a variant of ᴱ√HELE (QL/39).

Neo-Quenya: For purposes of Neo-Quenya, I think it best to update this to the passive-participle form ᴺQ. helina “frozen” of ᴺQ. hel- “to freeze”.

ᴱQ. hilk- vb. “to freeze”
A verb in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s appearing as ᴱQ. hilkin “it freezes” based on the early root ᴱ√HḶKḶ, a variant of ᴱ√HELE (QL/39).

Neo-Quenya: Since there is no sign of ᴱ√HḶKḶ in Tolkien’s later writings, I think it best is adapt this verb as ᴺQ. hel- “freeze” based directly on the later root √KHEL of ice words. Since the root is ice-related, I’d limit the meaning of this verb to the freezing of water and similar substances. For freezing weather, I’d use Q. nicu-.

Q. nicu- vb. “to be chill, cold, freeze (of weather), ⚠️snow”
A verb in the Quendi and Eldar essay from 1959-60 glossed “be chill, cold (of weather)” (WJ/417). It also appeared in some etymological notes from around 1959 as a derivative of the root √NIK(W) and with the glosses “to snow, it is chill, it freezes” (PE17/168). In this 1959 note Tolkien gave several inflected forms making it clear nicu- was an impersonal verb: nīqua “it is freezing”, nicune “it snowed, froze”.

Neo-Quenya: For purposes of Neo-Quenya, I’d mostly use nicu- as an impersonal verb for cold weather: nique “it is cold, it is freezing”. For the freezing of water or similar substances, I’d use ᴺQ. hel-. For “to snow” I’d use ᴺQ. hris-, a modernization of archaic †hriz-.

G. hel- vb. “to freeze”
The verb G. hel- “freeze” appeared in the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s as derivative of primitive χele-k (GL/48), based on the early root ᴱ√HELE as suggested by Christopher Tolkien (LT1A/Helkar; QL/39).

Neo-Sindarin: Since √KHEL appeared in later writings with glosses like “freeze” (Ety/KHEL) and “ice” (PE17/116), I think ᴺS. hel- “to freeze” can salvaged for Neo-Sindarin.

G. helon adj. “frozen”
An adjective in the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s appearing as G. helon “frozen”, an adjectival form and possibly a passive participle of G. hel- “freeze” (GL/48).

Neo-Sindarin: For purposes of Neo-Sindarin, I think it best to update this to the Sindarin passive-participle form ᴺS. hellen “frozen”.

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