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Rohan, Rohirian, Rohanese
Created by J.R.R. Tolkien
Setting and usage Rohan in the fictional world of Middle-earth
Sources a priori language, related to Elvish and other Mannish languages. Influenced primarily from Old English.
Language codes
ISO 639-3 None (mis)
Glottolog None

In the fictional world of Middle-earth by J. R. R. Tolkien, Rohirric (also Rohirian and Rohanese, see below) is the language of the Rohirrim of Rohan.


In the novels it is always represented by the Mercian dialect of Old English, because Tolkien saw the relationship between Rohirric and the Common Speech to be similar to that of Old English and Modern English, which was used to represent Westron. Only a few actual Rohirric words are given by Tolkien: kûd-dûkan, an old word meaning "hole-dweller" which led to kuduk, the name the Hobbits had for themselves. Even these terms were translated in the book: "hobbit" is said to derive from the Old English word holbytla, or hole-builder.


The only other Rohirric given is the element "lô–"/"loh–" corresponding to Anglo-Saxon "éo", horse, and the derived names Lôgrad for Horse-Mark, and Lohtûr for Éothéod, horse-people, or horse-land. The Rohirric word for horse has been identified as a cognate for Tolkien's Elvish words for 'horse': rocco (Quenya) and roch (Sindarin). All names beginning with Éo– are actually names beginning with Lô– or Loh–, but the real forms of Éomer, Éowyn etc. are not given.[1]

Only one proper name is given, that of Théoden: the actual form was Tûrac, an old word for King.[1] Théoden is the Old English word þéoden,[2] meaning "leader of a people" (i.e. "King" or "prince").[3][4] As with other descriptive names in his legendarium, Tolkien uses this name to create the impression that the text is "'historical', 'real' or 'archaic'".[5] Théoden is referred to as "Théoden King", rather than "King Théoden", just as Scandinavian and the Anglo-Saxon era kings had the word konungr/cyning ("king") added after their names, e.g. Hervarðar konungr, rather than before. Compare with Alfred the Great, king of England whose name appeared as Ælfred cyning in Old English.

Many Rohirric names appear to be derived from Old English words. These include the given names:

As well as, for the Mearas:

  • Arod, from arod, "quick"
  • Felaróf, from fela, "very", and róf, "valiant"
  • Hasufel, from hasu, "grey", and fell, "hide"
  • Lightfoot, from líht, "light", and fót, "foot"
  • Shadowfax, from sceadu, "shadow", and feax, "hair"
  • Stybba, from stybb, "stump"
  • Windfola, from wind, "wind", and fola, "foal"

The placenames:

  • Aldburg, from eald, "old", and burg, "fortress"
  • Dimholt, from dimm, "dim", and holt, "forest"
  • Dunharrow, from dún, "hill", and hearg, "sanctuary"
  • Dunland, from dún, "hill", and land, "land"
  • Dwimorberg, from dwimor, "phantom", and beorg, "mountain"
  • Dwimordene, from dwimor, "phantom", and denu, "valley"
  • Eastfold, from éast, "east", and folde, "region"
  • Edoras, from ederas, "princes"
  • Entwash, from ent, "giant", and wæsc, "wash"
  • Everholt, from eofor, "boar", and holt, "forest"
  • Firienfeld, from firgen-, "mountain", and feld, "field"
  • Firienholt, from firgen-, "mountain", and holt, "forest"
  • Folde, from folde, "region"
  • Harrowdale, from hearg, "sanctuary", and dæl, "valley"
  • Hornburg, from horn, "horn", and burg, "fortress"
  • Irensaga, from íren, "iron", and sagu, "saw"
  • Isengard, from ísen, "iron", and geard, "enclosure"
  • Meduseld, from medu, "mead", and seld, "great hall"
  • Mundburg, from mund, "protection", and burg, "fortress"
  • Old Púkel Land, from púcel, "goblin"
  • Orthanc, from orþanc, "cleverness"
  • Riddermark, from rídere, "horseman", and mearc, "province"
  • Thrihyrne, from þríe, "three", and hyrne, "corner"
  • Westfold, from west, "west", and folde, "region"
  • Wetwang, from wǽt, "wet", and wang, "plain"

And various other names:

  • Ent, from ent, "giant"
  • Éored, from éored, "cavalry"
  • Greyhame, from grǽg, "grey", and hama, "cloak"
  • Gúthwinë, from gúð, "battle", and wine, "friend"
  • Herugrim, from heoru, "sword", and grimm, "fierce"
  • Holbytla, from hol, "hole", and bytla, "builder"[42]
  • Láthspell, from láðspell, "hateful news"
  • Mearas, from méaras, "horses"
  • Orc, from orc, "demon"
  • Simbelmynë, from simbel, "always", and myne, "memory"
  • Wormtongue, from wyrm, "serpent", and tunge, "tongue"

Earlier Rohirrim had names in Gothic,[18] which is the oldest Germanic language recorded. The Rohirrim use the Germanic patronymic "-ing". They call themselves the Eorlingas just as Scyld's people were the Scyldingas in Norse and Anglo-Saxon mythology.

Related languages[edit]

The languages of the Men of Rhovanion, Esgaroth and Dale (often called Dalish or Dale-ish) were related to Rohirric.

Rohirric, Rohirian, or Rohanese?[edit]

While Tolkien referred to the language of the Rohirrim as "Rohan" or (disputedly) "Rohanese", the term "Rohirric", coined by Robert Foster, the author of The Complete Guide to Middle-earth, is far more commonly used.[citation needed] "Rohirian" is an alternative form that would parallel forms like "Telerin" (for the language of the Teleri) that were used by Tolkien.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Fauskanger, Helge K. "Various Mannish Tongues - the sadness of Mortal Men?". Ardalambion. University of Bergen. Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  2. ^ Wynne, H. (2006-10-10). "THEODEN". In Drout, M. D. C. J.R.R. Tolkien encyclopedia: scholarship and critical assessment (first ed.). Routledge. p. 643. ISBN 978-0-415-96942-0. 'the chief of a :þeod (a nation, people)'... His name as King, Theoden "Ednew," comes from the Old English ed-niowe, 'To recover, renew.' 
  3. ^ a b Bosworth, þeóden; (also spelled ðeoden), cognate to the Old Norse word þjóðann.
  4. ^ Solopova, p. 21. "Théoden ('Lord' in Old English)".
  5. ^ Solopova, p. 22.
  6. ^ Bosworth, BREGO
  7. ^ Bosworth, ceorl
  8. ^ Bosworth, Dún
  9. ^ Bosworth, here
  10. ^ a b Bosworth, ÆLF
  11. ^ a b Bosworth, helm
  12. ^ Bosworth, hild
  13. ^ a b c Bosworth, eoh
  14. ^ Bosworth, mǽre
  15. ^ Bosworth, mund
  16. ^ Bosworth, EORL
  17. ^ Bosworth, þegen
  18. ^ a b c d Tolkien, J. R. R. (1980), Christopher Tolkien, ed., Unfinished Tales, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Part three, II, Annotations, ISBN 0-395-29917-9 
  19. ^ "Erkenbrand". The Encyclopedia of Arda. 8 August 2009. 
  20. ^ Bosworth, fram
  21. ^ Bosworth, freca
  22. ^ Bosworth, FRUMA
  23. ^ Bosworth, GÁR
  24. ^ Bosworth, gál
  25. ^ Bosworth, mód
  26. ^ Bosworth, gamol
  27. ^ Bosworth, -ing
  28. ^ Bosworth, gríma
  29. ^ Bosworth, GRIM
  30. ^ Bosworth, BEALD
  31. ^ Bosworth, hæleþ
  32. ^ Bosworth, háma
  33. ^ Bosworth, léod
  34. ^ Bosworth, searu
  35. ^ Bosworth, man
  36. ^ Hammond, Wayne G.; Scull, Christina (2005). The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 81. ISBN 978-0-618-64267-0. 
  37. ^ Bosworth, þengel
  38. ^ Solopova, p. 21
  39. ^ Bosworth, rǽd
  40. ^ Bosworth, wyn
  41. ^ Bosworth, wulf
  42. ^ "Holbytlan". The Encyclopedia of Arda. 6 June 2010. 
General references