We already have Mountain-root, yet here is the humble component. Four of these seven refer to the roots of mountains rather than trees (and none to simple grass). I am fascinated.

• 3.010 Bilbo’s pony began to stumble over roots
• 5.012 down at the very roots of the mountain.
• 5.026 What has roots as nobody sees,
• 8.030 his hands slipping off the slimy roots at the edge,
• 9.059 and there for a while they stuck against some hidden root.
• 12.012 right at the Mountain’s root.
• 12.096 beneath the roots of the Mountain,


Another word that is missing during the war! All sorts of people live there…

• 1.007 hung down below his waist,
• 3.008 and they looked down surprised to see trees below them
• 3.011 They saw a valley far below.
• 4.002 laid out behind them far below.
• 4.003 “The summer is getting on down below,”
• 4.005 where they smashed among the trees far below,
• 4.021 Below, my lad!
• 4.032 when we invited these creatures to come below;
• 5.01 drops drip-drip-dripping from an unseen roof into the water below;
• 6.004 and there were dells below the level of the path overhung with bushes
• 6.04 and started other pieces below them slithering
• 6.04 and below them seemed on the move,
• 6.041 from the deeper darker forests of the valleys below.
• 6.041 and the pine-roots far below.
• 6.059 with wolves all round below waiting for you,
• 6.064 with wolves all round on the ground below.
• 6.067 a tiny spot far far below.
• 6.067 a mile below even
• 6.084 Now far below the goblins
• 6.085 Soon the light of the burning was faint below,
• 6.094 across the plains below.
• 7.005 and below them were trees that looked like oaks
• 7.151 and see the Long Marshes lying below you,
• 8.042 He could hear the dwarves shouting up at him from far below,
• 8.043 who were now simply stamping with impatience down below,
• 8.043 there was no food to go back to down below.
• 8.044 in the gloom below when he got there.
• 8.105 a good way below.
• 9.05 and was pushed over into the cold water some feet below.
• 9.05 thudding on top of ones below,
• 9.052 so as to let out the barrels as soon as they were all afloat below.
• 11.014 and were gazing down on to their own camp below.
• 11.014 could not be seen from below
• 11.016 beside them on to sharp rocks below;
• 11.017 hauling up what they needed from below with their ropes.
• 11.017 in the guard below,
• 11.028 some were exercising the ponies down below,
• 12.007 in the blackness below.
• 12.074 and below
• 12.096 in the hall below:
• 12.098 for any whisper of a movement from far below.
• 12.101 over the cliff into the valley below.
• 13.001 They would almost have welcomed sounds from below
• 13.008 not a sound stirred below.
• 18.003 in the rocks below.
• 18.021 could come at last to the help of the battle below.
• 19.01 Below it many elves were singing loud

What the goblins began to sing, or croak

Hooray! We have another one complete! To my surprise, while we have some reduplication (“ho, ho!” “work, work!” “pound, pound”), we do not have a refrain other than “my lad”. The notion that goblin vocabulary has so many different words (for violent acts and sounds, sure, but such variety!) suggests to us that the goblin dialect is not a pidgin, not a less-than vocabulary of a not-really-sentient race. And that makes me shudder.

[04.019] Clap! Snap! the black crack!
Grip, grab! Pinch, nab!
And down down to Goblin-town
You go, my lad!
[04.020] Clash, crash! Crush, smash!
Hammer and tongs! Knocker and gongs!
Pound, pound, far underground!
Ho, ho! my lad!
[04.021] Swish, smack! Whip crack!
Batter and beat! Yammer and bleat!
Work, work! Nor dare to shirk,
While Goblins quaff, and Goblins laugh,
Round and round far underground
Below, my lad!


Oh, friends.

This word goes away during the war, and rightly so. But it comes back. It comes back and, I believe significantly, it is one of three anchor concepts in the very last line.

‘Thank goodness!’ said Bilbo laughing, and handed him the tobacco-jar.


Gratitude, laughter and hospitality. I’m going to repeat what I said when we were discussing food words. I believe that Tolkien expressed what he knew about the effects of combat through Bilbo’s experience — and that the end of that tale is hope.

• 1.004 and laugh deep fruity laughs
• 1.004 and laugh deep fruity laughs
• 1.023 and laughing long but quietly.
• 1.048 and laughing.
• 2.032 and laughed most.
• 3.018 So they laughed
• 3.018 they would only laugh all the more if you told them so.
• 3.018 and laugh at them,
• 4.017 and laughed
• 4.021 While Goblins quaff, and Goblins laugh,
• 4.023 They all laughed
• 6.024 What did I tell you?’ said Gandalf laughing.
• 6.031 he laughed.
• 6.032 All the others laughed too.
• 6.052 You would have laughed
• 6.071 and laughed.
• 7.035 He laughed a great rolling laugh,
• 7.035 He laughed a great rolling laugh,
• 7.069 and burst into a chuckling laugh:
• 7.121 and laughed:
• 7.122 and set them all laughing with his funny stories;
• 7.149 he laughed.
• 8.058 and laughing merrily.
• 8.090 The others laughed.
• 8.106 I am afraid Bilbo actually laughed
• 9.024 laughed the chief of the guards.
• 9.025 and laugh merrily.
• 9.026 and laughing to himself for a while
• 9.039 A number of elves came laughing
• 9.044 and still less at being laughed at.
• 9.051 and have been laughing at him;
• 10.018 and laughed at the greybeards and gammers who said
• 10.018 and laughing by a fire
• 12.066 Ha! Ha! You admit the ‘us” laughed Smaug.
• 12.067 and Smaug laughed aloud.
• 12.069 or were they laughing
• 12.071 Then Smaug really did laugh –
• 12.080 Never laugh at live dragons,
• 13.038 How they would laugh on the Hill at home!
• 13.058 Come, come!’ said Thorin laughing –
• 17.036 Fools!’ laughed Bard,
• 18.043 and he laughed
• 19.048 said Bilbo laughing,


Friends, I could read and read the history and etymology of “Work” in the OED for days. It’s intricate, rich, adventurous, and Very Early Old English. If you’re looking for delicious holiday break reading, I strongly suggest reading the entry for “work” in the OED. The participle “Wrought” is concordanced elsewhere as well, because in those halcyon days I thought I would get to the end of the uncommon words and be finished with the project. Ha!

• 1.075 They shaped and wrought, and light they caught
• 1.123 Indeed they hardly know a good bit of work from a bad,
• 2.049 warming to his new work as he lifted it carefully out,
• 3.033 or sleep, or work, or story-telling, or singing,
• 4.021 Work, work! Nor dare to shirk,
• 4.021 Work, work! Nor dare to shirk,
• 4.025 and slaves that have to work till they die
• 4.025 and also not working with their own hands more than they could help;
• 5.076 working
• 6.014 but everyone said it was a very clever bit of work.
• 6.028 and worked up the best magic he could
• 6.061 especially to get food or slaves to work for them.
• 7.023 They work for him
• 8.111 the other dwarves were working at the rest of the captives,
• 8.133 His people neither mined nor worked metals or jewels,
• 9.023 I shall be hard at work tonight
• 9.047 Get on with the work!’
• 11.014 and upright as masons’ work,
• 11.019 Mining work,
• 12.013 gold wrought
• 12.035 that is warrior’s work,
• 12.063 and your job is to do all the dangerous work
• 12.096 for it was wrought of pure silver
• 13.037 wrought for some young elf-prince long ago.
• 13.048 still showing the fragments of old carven work within,
• 14.036 There is work to do.
• 15.026 and at such work the dwarves were still very skilled.
• 15.027 As they worked
• 15.027 So while the others went on with their work,
• 18.033 wrought and unwrought,


Old, old word from the 800s, attested in a psalter, all kinds of Germanic.

• 2.045 beats me –
• 4.021 Batter and beat! Yammer and bleat!
• 4.034 “Slash them! Beat them! Bite them! Gnash them!
• 4.041 The goblins just called it Beater,
• 4.048 “Biter and Beater!” they shrieked;
• 5.055 And beats high mountain down.
• 6.072 and beat,
• 6.072 and beat
• 6.082 the dark rush of their beating wings smote them to the floor
• 8.075 He beat the creature off with his hands –
• 8.115 the spiders were beaten off,
• 11.015 They beat on it,
• 12.017 His heart was beating
• 12.029 beating his great wings
• 14.011 beneath the awful beating of his wings.
• 17.059 were being slowly beaten down.
• 19.020 as the rain beat into his face.


It’s a word of obscure origin — with an original meaning of flapping violently with wings — and a great parallel word “swip”, to hit.

• 4.005 and the wind whipped the rain
• 4.021 Swish, smack! Whip crack!
• 4.022 for now the goblins took out whips
• 4.022 and whipped them with a swish, smack!,
• 4.023 and nearest to the whips)
• 4.023 and cracked their whips behind.


Old, old delicious word. Probably echoic, and if you’re old enough you’re allowed to pronounce the K.

• 1.047 a loud knock.
• 1.048 knocked out the secret mark that he had put there the morning before.
• 1.088 knocking over the poker
• 1.092 knocking over the table.
• 1.094 and knocked their king Golfimbul’s head
• 2.077 Who has been knocking my people about?”
• 3.044 when the thrush knocks,” read Elrond,
• 4.020 Hammer and tongs! Knocker and gongs!
• 4.048 knocking over those that were running after them.
• 5.145 was knocked over by a goblin who could not make out what he had bumped into,
• 9.050 knocking into one another,
• 10.012 Knocking outside
• 10.013 Bifur and Bofur were less knocked about
• 11.030 and was knocking it on the stone.
• 12.020 he had caught the dim echoes of a knocking sound
• 18.011 A nasty knock on the head,
• 18.040 don’t wait to knock!


Oh, my, look at the use of this one. Not just the “smooshing” function!

• 4.020 Clash, crash! Crush, smash!
• 4.022 and the crush, smash!
• 5.004 Still at the moment he felt very crushed.
• 5.091 Curse us and crush us,
• 5.125 and crush them!
• 7.120 The hobbit felt quite crushed,
• 18.024 and crushed him.
• 18.043 but now that the goblins were crushed,


This word — so similar to “clash” — extends past the middle of the book.

• 1.088 and shovel with a crash.
• 4.004 and great crashes split the air
• 4.020 Clash, crash! Crush, smash!
• 6.040 crashing down with a dust
• 6.041 and the last faint crashes could be heard
• 8.059 bumping crash into trees,
• 12.101 like the crash of battering-rams made of forest oaks
• 14.023 and crashed down from on high
• 17.055 fell outward with a crash into the pool.
• 17.066 and he fell with a crash