How delightful that this is a separate word. Perhaps the ravens consider it an office or a duty. Have you ever had the sensation that a raven-messenger was addressing you, finally turning away when it is not understood?
- 17.035 (for the raven-messengers had been busy
What about an OED entry, I hear you ask. Yes indeed:
† raven messenger n. Obs. = corbie messenger n. at corbie n. 2.a1400 (▸a1325) Cursor Mundi (Gött.) 1892 Þat messager, men say, Þat duellis lang in his iornay, He may be cald, wid resun clere, An of the rauyns messagere [a1400 Vesp. messagers corbun; a1400 Trin. Cambr. rauenenes messangere].
so we give it the Archaic tag and follow the proffered rabbit-hole…
2. corbie messenger n. one who returns too late, or not at all: in allusion to the raven in Gen. viii. 7.
This is a completely separate meaning from the sentient, sapient creatures who carried timely messages between Thorin and Dain. I’m giving it the JRRT tag for a brand-new use of a previously employed word.
“corbie, n.” OED Online, Oxford University Press, June 2017, http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/41419. Accessed 19 September 2017.
“raven, n.1 and adj.” OED Online, Oxford University Press, June 2017, http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/158644. Accessed 19 September 2017.