Hyphenated words

Tolkien uses over 600 hyphenated words in The Hobbit.  Most of them, like “tree-trunk”, are words that go together easily in English.  Most of them use words from The Ten Thousand most common.  Why hyphenate?    I suggest that hyphenating words which don’t need hyphenation emphasizes that, as Tolkien would have it, we are reading a translation of the journal that Bilbo wrote.  There isn’t quite an English word to convey the meaning, so two words bound together will have to do.  Examining these words is another project in itself.  I am leaving them out of this edition of the Concordance, this work I am doing through July, 2015.

  • 19.048 and handed him the tobacco-jar.
  • 14.017 Just now he was enjoying the sport of town-baiting
  • 02.079 it was thick as a young tree-trunk

Update 2015.07.09: I put them in.

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