Grime

I had best not go past “grim” without taking care of “grime”, lest it be lost between ‘grim-voiced’ and ‘grimly’.  It’s a humble word, but notice?

  • 08.041 and grimed from the old bark of the greater boughs;

It’s a verb.

“Grime” as a verb fell out of use in the 15th century, replaced by ‘begrime’ – we know exactly what it means, even though we’ve probably never seen or heard or used it.  Creating archaic flavor without losing meaning: one of Tolkien’s genius gifts.

“Grime” (the noun) is attested in Middle English and probably of Proto-German origins, having cognates in Flemish and Dutch.  In fact the Dutch form has connotations of “mask”, like the Old English word for mask.  Grima.  Yes, indeed.  In another work, Tolkien named a certain character “filthy spy”.

Harper, Douglas. “Grime”.  Online Etymology Dictionary. Web.

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