“Animal” does not appear before chapter 7 and is used almost exclusively in that chapter.  While the word comes up in a deliberate statement that Beorn does not consider them food, the obvious implication is a contrast with many other folks’ use of the word – or at least of the concept.

For those of you whose interest in philology was also piqued by the first chapter of Ivanhoe, lo these many years ago, I will add that “animal” is from French and Latin by interesting and circuitous routes.

  • 07.023 neither does he hunt or eat wild animals.
  • 07.092 like animal noises turned into talk.
  • 07.093 with figures of animals;
  • 07.093 for the convenience of the wonderful animals
  • 07.107 and a noise as of some great animal scuffling at the door.
  • 07.113 waited on by Beorn’s wonderful animals,
  • 07.136 but he loves his animals as his children.
  • 08.005 not animal eyes,
  • 12.011 of some vast animal snoring
  • 13.071 not even wild animals seemed to have used it

“animal, n.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, June 2016. Web. 19 June 2016.

2 thoughts on “Animal

  1. OK, that’s interesting. I wonder if this is another facet of the change from whimsical children’s story to epic adventure. Before Mirkwood, the only use of the word is domestic. After Mirkwood, it only refers to Smaug.


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