Ancient

I hope that this word makes you, too, feel rooted in a world with deep, deep roots. Ultimately, this word comes from Latin ante – before.

• 1.072 in the deep places of their ancient homes;
• 1.075 For ancient king and elvish lord
• 2.030 Fortunately the road went over an ancient stone bridge,
• 3.035 in the ancient tongue of Gondolin;
• 5.077 according to the ancient laws.
• 6.068 But the ancient race of the northern mountains
• 7.022 and ancient bears of the mountains
• 7.029 and very ancient oaks,
• 8.131 from the ancient tribes
• 8.133 In ancient days they had had wars with some of the dwarves,
• 11.006 the grey ruins of ancient houses, towers, and walls.
• 12.012 or dungeon-hall of the ancient dwarves
• 12.084 and is maybe the last left of the ancient breed
• 13.048 by the cunning of ancient hands.
• 13.064 and found the ancient steps,
• 15.010 of that ancient breed linger here now.’
• 18.032 in the ancient halls.

Fell

An elevated, uncultivated stretch of land in northern England or Scotland, a fell gains height and becomes a hill or even mountain in the northwest of England. It can be in some cases a pasture land on the top or side of a hill, but the fell is definitely treeless, because it is used in conjunction with “Frith” – a woods:

Wheresoeuer ye fare by fryth or by fell.

1486   Bk. St. Albans sig. ej  

And now I am head-over-heels in love with that phrase, please be on the watch for it anywhere that I’ve got access to a keyboard…

But why did this word “Fells” as it is used in the dwarves’ song not make it into the first pass on uncommon words back in ’15? It’s not a form of “Fall”. It’s not in my list of the ten thousand most common words. It’s not on the Great Spreadsheet as a word that would have been passed through as “uncommon”. I’m afraid, Word Fans, that I may have made a human error and whooshed it out of a list somewhere. Good thing this project is ongoing!!

• 01.074 In hollow halls beneath the fells.
• 15.038 In hollow halls beneath the fells.

“fell, n.3.” OED Online, Oxford University Press, September 2019, http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/69064. Accessed 27 October 2019.

Beneath

A lovely preposition with a fairly even distribution…

• 1.074 In hollow halls beneath the fells.
• 1.081 The mountain smoked beneath the moon;
• 1.081 Beneath his feet, beneath the moon.
• 1.081 Beneath his feet, beneath the moon.
• 4.005 and he lay beneath a blanket
• 6.067 and yelping come up faint from far beneath him.
• 6.078 beneath the sky!
• 7.098 and dark things silent crept beneath.
• 7.133 and into the night beneath the moon.
• 7.134 almost beneath the great overhanging boughs
• 8.002 and matted twigs beneath,
• 9.003 and strong beneath;
• 10.035 The King beneath the mountains,
• 10.035 And grass beneath the sun;
• 12.013 Beneath him,
• 12.019 and a trampling that made the ground beneath them tremble.
• 12.096 beneath the roots of the Mountain,
• 13.037 strengthened beneath with hoops of steel,
• 14.008 The King beneath the Mountain!’
• 14.011 beneath the awful beating of his wings.
• 15.038 In hollow halls beneath the fells.
• 17.036 to come thus beneath the Mountain’s arm!
• 17.040 And beneath the thunder
• 17.044 and beneath the great mountain Gundabad of the North,
• 18.030 They buried Thorin deep beneath the Mountain,
• 19.023 and to the ford beneath the steep bank,

Hollow

Oh, friend, I almost didn’t come back up out of the OED this morning. King Alfred used it, it has so many forms, oh, wow. I am nourished.

And almost half of our references are to the same hollow…

• 1.074 In hollow halls beneath the fells.
• 4.004 and hollow;
• 7.002 and hollows
• 12.027 in the stony hollows far above;
• 12.077 in the hollow of his left breast
• 14.020 Look for the hollow of the left breast
• 14.023 straight for the hollow by the left breast
• 15.038 In hollow halls beneath the fells.

Sleep

One of my very favorite things!

c897   K. Ælfred tr. Gregory Pastoral Care xxviii. 195   Ðonne hnappað he oð he wierð on fæstum slæpe.

“sleep, n.” OED Online, Oxford University Press, September 2019, http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/181603. Accessed 17 October 2019.

c888   Ælfred tr. Boethius De Consol. Philos. xlii   Ne slæpð he næfre.

“sleep, v.” OED Online, Oxford University Press, September 2019, http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/181604. Accessed 17 October 2019.

Oh, friends, go get yourself a subscription while it’s on sale in the U.S. until Dec 31st. It would make a wonderful Yule gift! Anyway, back to work… I am delighted to observe in which chapters there was no sleep.

• 1.074 In places deep, where dark things sleep,
• 1.123 and sleeps on it for a bed.
• 1.140 and dragons must sleep sometimes,
• 1.145 Bilbo went to sleep with that
• 2.031 “and where shall we get a dry patch to sleep on?”
• 2.065 in me sleep!
• 2.117 After that they slept,
• 3.033 or sleep, or work, or story-telling, or singing,
• 4.013 and so they dropped off to sleep one by one.
• 4.014 For, somehow, he could not go to sleep for a long while;
• 4.014 and when he did sleep,
• 6.063 and devouring people waked suddenly from their sleep.
• 6.100 and he felt he could sleep contentedly,
• 6.100 He slept curled up on the hard rock
• 6.100 in his sleep into all his different rooms
• 7.096 Soon he began to nod with sleep
• 7.105 It is time for us to sleep,’
• 7.119 your wits are sleepy.’
• 7.132 and most of them slept uneasily
• 8.005 They slept all closely huddled together,
• 8.033 Bombur slept on with a smile on his fat face,
• 8.038 Still Bombur slept
• 8.050 and sleep.
• 8.052 and sleep
• 8.068 and tried to go back to sleep
• 8.087 after a bee-autiful sleep.
• 8.129 into uncomfortable sleep full of horrible dreams,
• 8.130 You remember Bilbo falling like a log into sleep,
• 9.011 hardly daring to sleep,
• 11.028 and hardly slept.
• 12.011 in its sleep
• 12.016 Above him the sleeping dragon lay,
• 12.016 in his sleep.
• 12.032 and he went back to his golden couch to sleep –
• 12.043 watching while they sleep,
• 12.044 He was only pretending to sleep!
• 13.071 and slept,
• 15.031 That night the dwarves slept little.
• 15.038 in places deep, where dark things sleep,
• 16.013 There is no sleep
• 16.016 Bombur would sleep
• 16.016 (he could sleep at any time,
• 19.016 and you have slept now since the night’s beginning.
• 19.017 A little sleep does a great cure
• 19.017 and slept till late morning.

Thing

OED gives two verbal meanings for “Thing”: to argue something before a Thing, and to objectify. Of course there’s the Thing before which one things. The plain noun entry is massive and just informed an hour of my life down rabbit holes.

Look at 1.017 and 19.043. Do you see what I see in the Shire? Must examine more closely.

• 1.003 and saying things altogether unexpected.
• 1.012 Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things!
• 1.014 What a lot of things
• 1.017 you used to upset things badly
• 1.024 He did not remember things very well,
• 1.028 and hung his things up
• 1.033 It was not the correct thing to say,
• 1.043 and lots of other things which he did not understand,
• 1.050 For one thing Bombur was immensely fat
• 1.058 and things piled up on big trays,
• 1.063 and made tall piles of all the things.
• 1.068 of these dreadful things,
• 1.074 In places deep, where dark things sleep,
• 1.083 the hobbit felt the love of beautiful things
• 1.114 Now things begin to look more hopeful.
• 1.119 a bit more about things,’
• 1.119 but so far still Tookishly determined to go on with things.
• 1.122 and leisure to make beautiful things just for the fun of it,
• 1.123 and they can’t make a thing for themselves,
• 1.134 I was finding things out,
• 1.136 The one thing your father wished was for his son to read the map
• 1.142 One thing he did make his mind up about
• 2.025 and a good many other things,
• 2.038 things have changed for the worse
• 2.048 He had read of a good many things he had never seen or done.
• 2.077 that things were not all well.
• 2.108 The next thing was
• 3.002 He had never seen a thing
• 3.005 for one thing,
• 3.018 (which is a very foolish thing to think),
• 3.025 Elvish singing is not a thing to miss,
• 3.025 not if you care for such things.
• 3.031 Now it is a strange thing,
• 3.031 but things that are good to have
• 3.031 while things that are uncomfortable,
• 3.033 Evil things did not come into that valley.
• 4.001 and most of the passes were infested by evil things
• 4.002 where things were blue
• 4.002 and comfortable things,
• 4.013 So they spread out their wet things on the floor,
• 4.014 It turned out a good thing that night
• 4.024 (and other much more dreadful things),
• 4.025 They make no beautiful things,
• 4.029 “Of the things which you suspect
• 4.041 Gandalf thought of most things;
• 5.007 Only thing to do!
• 5.009 or half-imagined dark things coming out of them.
• 5.011 of nasty slimy things,
• 5.011 There are strange things living
• 5.011 also there are other things more slimy than fish.
• 5.011 there are other things living unbeknown to them
• 5.036 and was forgetting this sort of thing.
• 5.039 Bilbo had heard that sort of thing before;
• 5.055 This thing all things devours:
• 5.055 This thing all things devours:
• 5.056 but not one of them had done all these things.
• 5.060 with that nasty wet cold thing sitting next to him,
• 5.070 He thought of all the things he kept
• 5.070 and other nasty things.
• 5.077 But he felt he could not trust this slimy thing
• 5.082 and get some things first,
• 5.082 yes, things to help us.’
• 5.083 What useful thing could he keep out on the dark lake?
• 5.084 and one very beautiful thing,
• 5.098 on this one thing,
• 5.114 the nassty nosey thing.
• 5.119 He had heard of such things,
• 5.128 He must stab the foul thing,
• 5.130 the only thing he had ever cared for,
• 5.132 or this way will lead you to worse things.’
• 6.009 and I don’t bring things that are of no use.
• 6.060 and wicked things,
• 6.067 and can see small things
• 6.070 A very good thing too!
• 6.070 Dreadful things had been going on down there.
• 6.074 O what shall we do with the funny little things?
• 7.002 The sun was still close to the eastern edge of things.
• 7.007 That is the polite thing to say among eagles.
• 7.016 He calls things like that carrocks,
• 7.092 and carry things with their fore-feet.
• 7.095 and the making of things by smith-craft,
• 7.095 and Beorn did not appear to care for such things:
• 7.095 there were no things of gold or silver
• 7.098 and dark things silent crept beneath.
• 7.126 in there the wild things are dark,
• 7.145 that a thing like a bear left the shadow of the trees
• 8.003 As Bilbo’s sharp inquisitive eyes got used to seeing things
• 8.003 The nastiest things they saw were the cobwebs:
• 8.046 the first thing they noticed was
• 8.046 and the next thing was
• 8.047 The last thing that he remembered was the party at the hobbit’s house,
• 8.048 and I could not count or describe the things there were to eat
• 8.057 all the good things that were being eaten,
• 8.064 and other things of that sort,
• 8.075 He could only see the thing’s eyes,
• 8.075 The spider evidently was not used to things
• 8.078 (or worse things).
• 8.092 As a boy he used to practise throwing stones at things,
• 8.092 indeed he could do lots of things,
• 8.121 Things were looking pretty bad again,
• 8.131 and marvellous things,
• 8.144 The giant spiders were the only living things
• 9.011 though it was a dangerous thing to do.
• 9.017 One invisible ring was a very fine thing,
• 9.018 Bilbo discovered a very interesting thing:
• 9.037 butter, apples, and all sorts of things,
• 10.044 and their arrival had turned things into a long holiday
• 11.026 and spy things out a bit!’
• 12.012 Going on from there was the bravest thing he ever did.
• 12.012 The tremendous things that happened afterwards
• 12.013 lay countless piles of precious things,
• 12.021 Such a thing had not happened
• 12.082 On thinking things over
• 12.082 some of the things
• 12.089 you found out one very useful thing at any rate,
• 12.096 and to the things that Thorin
• 13.018 as he stumbled on some golden thing.
• 13.043 and they met no sign of any living thing,
• 13.067 and things might have been different.
• 13.071 In all their talk they came perpetually back to one thing:
• 14.007 You are always foreboding gloomy things!’
• 14.038 with which to buy rich things from the South;
• 14.039 and ordered things as he wished,
• 14.040 among all things with wings
• 15.009 and were rewarded with such bright things as they coveted
• 15.034 that they wished things had fallen out otherwise
• 15.038 in places deep, where dark things sleep,
• 15.049 yet he had an eye for many another wonderful thing
• 16.004 Things had gone on like this for some time,
• 16.026 things are impossible.
• 16.036 whose eyes were used to things of wonder and beauty,
• 16.045 Things are drawing towards the end now,
• 17.024 But things may change yet.’
• 18.051 and there were many other things in it
• 19.009 and tales of new things,
• 19.028 As all things come to an end,
• 19.036 and most of the things
• 19.043 and Bilbo asked how things were going