I dedicate the entry for this common word to Professor Verlyn Flieger, in honor of her gracious inspiration to all scholars.  It’s a noun, a verb, an adjective, an adverb, all of long lineage from Old English to Old Norse, but the OED says, ultimately, “of unknown origin”.

I am particularly enchanted by the use of the word in 07.022 – “In the name of all wonder…”  In Gandalf’s mind, at least, “all wonder” fits nicely into a phrase where we might call upon deity.

  • 01.017 Not the fellow who used to tell such wonderful tales at parties,
  • 01.046 and wondered what had happened,
  • 01.046 while he was wondering
  • 01.058 and was beginning to wonder
  • 01.122 and the toy market of Dale was the wonder of the North.
  • 01.125 I have often wondered about my father’s
  • 02.054 and wondering how to make owl-noises
  • 02.072 who was wondering where
  • 03.020 Most astonishing wonderful!
  • 03.036 I wonder?” said Thorin
  • 05.001 he wondered if he had;
  • 05.008 and recover wonderfully from falls
  • 05.013 but he was wondering a lot about Bilbo,
  • 05.084 very wonderful.
  • 05.105 I wonder?’ he said to himself,
  • 05.119 and wonder.
  • 06.003 He wondered whether he ought not,
  • 06.006 and wondering
  • 06.024 and the hobbit wondered if he guessed
  • 06.087 and wondered if he could hold on any longer.
  • 06.090 He wondered what other nonsense he had been saying,
  • 06.092 He had just strength to wonder
  • 07.022 and in the name of all wonder don’t mention the word furrier
  • 07.046 wondering what their names could be,
  • 07.093 for the convenience of the wonderful animals
  • 07.107 Bilbo wondered what it was,
  • 07.113 waited on by Beorn’s wonderful animals,
  • 07.122 nor did they have to wonder long where he had been or why he was so nice to them,
  • 08.041 All the time he was wondering whether there were spiders
  • 08.078 and he stood a long while wondering
  • 08.125 Indeed they really expected him to think of some wonderful plan for helping them,
  • 08.129 They wondered what evil fate had befallen him,
  • 08.145 he began to wonder what had become of his unfortunate friends.
  • 09.021 and wondered if it could be used for the escape of his friends,
  • 09.044 Small wonder if I fall asleep from weariness!’
  • 09.045 Small wonder,’
  • 09.051 He wondered what on earth would happen to them without him;
  • 09.057 Bilbo wondered what the dwarves were feeling
  • 09.058 and he wondered if he would die of it before the luck turned,
  • 10.036 The Wood-elves themselves began to wonder greatly
  • 10.043 and he wondered if Thorin was
  • 11.031 wondering what on earth was the matter;
  • 12.015 in the days when all the world was wonderful.
  • 12.020 and wondered why he had never blocked it up.
  • 12.068 He had never bothered to wonder
  • 12.076 and wonderful, indeed,’
  • 12.096 They wondered
  • 13.013 Now I wonder what on earth
  • 13.039 and he began to wonder nervously
  • 13.056 I wonder how many breakfasts,
  • 13.071 and wondered;
  • 14.020 in wonder
  • 15.049 yet he had an eye for many another wonderful thing
  • 16.003 wondering what would happen,
  • 16.036 whose eyes were used to things of wonder and beauty,
  • 16.040 The Elvenking looked at Bilbo with a new wonder.
  • 16.040 But I wonder if Thorin Oakenshield will see it so.
  • 16.046 and wondered anxiously
  • 17.003 Wondering,
  • 17.010 But wonder overcame him
  • 17.065 Many wondering eyes looked up,
  • 18.002 Now I wonder what has happened?’
  • 18.014 I began to wonder if even your luck would see you through!
  • 19.037 it was a great deal more than a nine days’ wonder.

“wonder, n.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, June 2017. Web. 5 September 2017.


This very common word has joined the concordance in honor of its unusual use in the apple-barrel song of Chapter 9:

[09.049] Roll – roll – roll – roll,

roll-roll-rolling down the hole!

In the top line, the words “roll” are separated by spaces and hyphens, a repetitive phrase; but my goodness!  roll-roll-rolling has no spaces!  It is one word, and the OED assures us that the reduplicative is “a word form created by reduplication”.  I think that such a reduplicative even qualifies “roll-roll-rolling” as a vocable and sound play.

  • 01.066 Send them down the hall to roll!
  • 01.066 Send them down the hall to roll!
  • 02.070  and rolling nearly into the fire
  • 04.004  and go rolling
  • 04.036  and rolling
  • 04.043  – for dwarves can roll along at a tremendous pace,
  • 04.051  and the hobbit rolled off his shoulders into the blackness,
  • 06.040  rolled away from their feet;
  • 06.040  and rolling;
  • 06.065  and unless they rolled over quick they were soon all
  • 06.065  Very soon all about the glade wolves were rolling over
  • 07.035  He laughed a great rolling laugh,
  • 07.093  in rolling round drum-shaped sections of logs,
  • 07.094  Beorn in his deep rolling voice told tales
  • 07.099 and like a tide it roared and rolled;
  • 07.108  and had rolled down with a bump from the platform on to the floor.
  • 08.104  and rolled off the branch dead.
  • 08.108  that he just rolled off the branch
  • 09.048  they answered rolling the barrels to the opening.
  • 09.049  Roll – roll – roll – roll,
  • 09.049 roll-roll-rolling down the hole!
  • 09.054  was being rolled to the doors!
  • 09.055  the barrel rolled round
  • 09.059  roll off again
  • 09.060  a round-bellied pony that was always thinking of rolling on the grass.
  • 10.034  and it rolled loud
  • 12.076  The dragon rolled over.
  • 13.008  and rolled headlong into the hall!
  • 14.033  in the roll of the benefactors of our town;
  • 16.047  in turn rolled himself up
  • 17.040  Winter thunder on a wild wind rolled roaring up
  • 17.046  rolling away to the South-East;


“reduplicative, n. and adj.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, June 2017. Web. 5 September 2017.


There are rather over a gross of instances of the word “good” in The Hobbit, but for now we will focus on just one form, “goods”.  OED tells us that “good” as

III. A particular thing that is good or beneficial.

is rare in the singular, and that the usual use is in the plural form with a plural verb – “goods are” – although with a singular verb, as a collective noun, is acceptable although rare – “goods is”.

In fact the entire entry for “Good” is absolutely fascinating and a long, long rabbit hole down which to fall.  Goods can be commodities, livestock, acts of piety, and in our case, food.

  • 07.068 Or were you carrying lots of goods?
  • 09.018 and other goods,
  • 09.019 and other goods came up the rivers,
  • 10.009 and others they would fill with goods
  • 14.025 and goods
  • 14.042 but great store of goods he sent ahead by water.
  • 15.050 The price of the goods



“good, adj., n., adv., and int.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, September 2016. Web. 4 October 2016.


The first time we encountered this word, it applied to a tactile sensation, not gustatory, so I skimmed right past it, but now – bitterness we can taste.  That’s a food word to me!

  • 04.002 It was getting bitter cold up here,
  • 12.020 in size but provided with a bitter sword
  • 12.070 that your success has made you some bitter enemies?’
  • 13.051 A bitter easterly breeze blew with a threat of oncoming winter.
  • 14.034 and bitter words were shouted from many sides;
  • 14.038 for the night was bitter
  • 17.050 and bitter.
  • 18.018 This is a bitter adventure,


The container to hold liquids to be carried through the air and the container to hold air to be floated upon the water are the same word.  In these two uses, the former meaning applies.

  • 12.014 and vessels filled with a wealth that could not be guessed.
  • 14.011 Every vessel

“vessel, n.1.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, June 2016. Web. 4 July 2016.


“Crack” carries many different meanings in this work.  As I scan for food words past the thrush chapter, I can’t resist adding this sound word to our concordance.  Remember to separate sound-meanings of the words from crevice-meanings in your work.  I apologize – I seem to have been behyphenated.

  • 01.064 Chip the glasses and crack the plates!
  • 01.123 and cracking
  • 04.002 and the crack of stone.
  • 04.014 He dreamed that a crack
  • 04.015 A crack had opened at the back of the cave,
  • 04.016 and carried through the crack,
  • 04.017 The crack closed with a snap,
  • 04.019 Clap! Snap! the black crack!
  • 04.021 Swish, smack! Whip crack!
  • 04.023 and cracked their whips behind.
  • 05.129 he only just missed cracking his skull
  • 05.146 through the crack.
  • 06.022 which was only open a crack,
  • 06.028 he had nipped inside the crack,
  • 06.040 in a fearful confusion of slipping, rattling, cracking slabs
  • 06.052 like old gentlemen gone cracked
  • 06.078 till hair smells and skins crack,
  • 06.079 the lower branches cracked.
  • 07.067 a crack at the back of the cave opened;
  • 07.075 – and slipped inside the crack
  • 11.014 like a dark crack
  • 11.030 At that very moment he heard a sharp crack
  • 11.030 Crack!
  • 11.030 Crack!
  • 11.030 Crack!
  • 11.032 There was a loud crack.
  • 11.038 Long straight cracks appeared
  • 12.029 in through the crack they had left
  • 12.031 until dawn came pale through the crack of the door.
  • 12.101 the walls cracked


I’ve broken my search for food words just because I thought to myself why on earth didn’t I cover “ring” before with words like chance and fortune?  This one will be worth graphing with Lexos in the near future.

“Ring” the circular metal adornment comes from German roots having to do with roundness.  “Ring” the sonorous verb and accompanying sound word are a completely separate word from German roots with its own lovely history (in some places a weak verb, in others strong – ring, rang, rung).  The Careful Scholar will, of course, separate the jewelry from the sound when analyzing “ring” in the work.

  • 01.010 and blew out a beautiful grey ring of smoke
  • 01.025 there came a tremendous ring on the front-door bell,
  • 01.029 when there came another even louder ring at the bell.
  • 01.037 when loud came a ring at the bell again,
  • 01.037 and then another ring.
  • 01.047 Not a ring,
  • 01.123 and never enjoy a brass ring of it.
  • 04.013 and blew smoke rings,
  • 05.002 what felt like a tiny ring of cold metal lying on the floor of the tunnel.
  • 05.002 He put the ring
  • 05.062 There he found the ring he had picked up
  • 05.084 He had a ring,
  • 05.084 a golden ring,
  • 05.084 a precious ring.
  • 05.086 He wanted it because it was a ring of power,
  • 05.086 and if you slipped that ring on your finger,
  • 05.087 when such rings were still at large
  • 05.105 The ring felt very cold
  • 05.119 It seemed that the ring he had
  • 05.119 was a magic ring:
  • 05.122 and he had lost his ring.
  • 05.137 or a last trick of the ring
  • 05.138 and there was the ring still,
  • 05.149 They could not find Bilbo with the ring on,
  • 06.003 now he had the magic ring,
  • 06.005 He had still got the ring on,
  • 06.013 and slipping off the ring.
  • 06.015 and said nothing whatever about the ring;
  • 06.019 except about the finding of the ring
  • 06.050 Even magic rings are not much use against wolves –
  • 06.060 This glade in the ring of trees
  • 06.067 and looked down upon the ring of the Wargs,
  • 06.069 down, down towards the ring of the wolves
  • 06.072 Soon they had a ring of smoke
  • 06.072 a ring which they kept from spreading outwards;
  • 06.072 Outside the ring of dancing warriors with spears
  • 07.116 this is a splendid place for smoke rings!’
  • 07.116 he was so busy sending smoke rings
  • 08.058 and sitting on sawn rings of the felled trees
  • 08.059 and scrambled forwards into the ring
  • 08.063 Before he had time to slip on his ring,
  • 08.080 also Bilbo had slipped on his ring before he started.
  • 08.081 and ring or no ring
  • 08.081 and ring or no ring
  • 08.109 He had taken off his ring when he rescued Fili
  • 08.116 except to let the dwarves into the secret of his ring.
  • 08.118 He suddenly slipped on his ring,
  • 08.119 and burst through the ring.
  • 08.124 that they had come to the edge of a ring
  • 08.125 and the finding of the ring interested them so much
  • 08.125 with the ring
  • 08.125 and a magic ring –
  • 09.002 who popped on his ring
  • 09.011 never daring to take off his ring,
  • 09.017 One invisible ring was a very fine thing,
  • 09.026 in spite of his ring,
  • 09.063 Of course helped by his magic ring he got on very well at first,
  • 11.026 Since he has got an invisible ring,
  • 12.008 Then the hobbit slipped on his ring,
  • 12.040 I have got my ring
  • 12.044 and blessed the luck of his ring.
  • 12.096 of dwarf-linked rings
  • 13.008 Bilbo slipped on his ring
  • 13.008 ring or no ring.
  • 13.008 ring or no ring.
  • 13.035 clad in a coat of gold-plated rings,
  • 16.016 Bilbo put on his ring,
  • 16.020 and he slipped off his ring,
  • 17.049 Actually I may say he put on his ring early
  • 17.049 A magic ring of that sort is not a complete protection
  • 17.059 and they were forced into a great ring,
  • 18.008 Then Bilbo remembered his ring!
  • 18.009 hurriedly taking off the ring.
  • 18.023 and broke like a clap of thunder through the ring.
  • 19.039 His magic ring he kept a great secret,
  • 19.041 when there was a ring at the door.

“ring, n.1.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, June 2016. Web. 4 July 2016.

“ring, v.1.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, June 2016. Web. 4 July 2016.