BL: hobbit
Posted: 07 December 2019 07:14 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Surprisingly, Tolkien didn’t coin the term.

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Posted: 07 December 2019 08:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Denham gives no description of what a hobbit is, only the name in a long list of such names:
…boggleboes, bogies, redmen, portunes, grants, hobbits, hobgoblins, brown-men…

Grants? what are they?

Here’s the full list from the Dedham tracts, cited at etymonline.com

when the whole earth was so overrun with ghosts, boggles, bloody-bones, spirits, demons, ignis fatui, brownies, bugbears, black dogs, specters, shellycoats, scarecrows, witches, wizards, barguests, Robin-Goodfellows, hags, night-bats, scrags, breaknecks, fantasms, hobgoblins, hobhoulards, boggy-boes, dobbies, hob-thrusts, fetches, kelpies, warlocks, mock-beggars, mum-pokers, Jemmy-burties, urchins, satyrs, pans, fauns, sirens, tritons, centaurs, calcars, nymphs, imps, incubuses, spoorns, men-in-the-oak, hell-wains, fire-drakes, kit-a-can-sticks, Tom-tumblers, melch-dicks, larrs, kitty-witches, hobby-lanthorns, Dick-a-Tuesdays, Elf-fires, Gyl-burnt-tales, knockers, elves, rawheads, Meg-with-the-wads, old-shocks, ouphs, pad-foots, pixies, pictrees, giants, dwarfs, Tom-pokers, tutgots, snapdragons, sprets, spunks, conjurers, thurses, spurns, tantarrabobs, swaithes, tints, tod-lowries, Jack-in-the-Wads, mormos, changelings, redcaps, yeth-hounds, colt-pixies, Tom-thumbs, black-bugs, boggarts, scar-bugs, shag-foals, hodge-pochers, hob-thrushes, bugs, bull-beggars, bygorns, bolls, caddies, bomen, brags, wraiths, waffs, flay-boggarts, fiends, gallytrots, imps, gytrashes, patches, hob-and-lanthorns, gringes, boguests, bonelesses, Peg-powlers, pucks, fays, kidnappers, gallybeggars, hudskins, nickers, madcaps, trolls, robinets, friars’ lanthorns, silkies, cauld-lads, death-hearses, goblins, hob-headlesses, bugaboos, kows, or cowes, nickies, nacks necks, waiths, miffies, buckies, ghouls, sylphs, guests, swarths, freiths, freits, gy-carlins Gyre-carling, pigmies, chittifaces, nixies, Jinny-burnt-tails, dudmen, hell-hounds, dopple-gangers, boggleboes, bogies, redmen, portunes, grants, hobbits, hobgoblins, brown-men, cowies, dunnies, wirrikows, alholdes, mannikins, follets, korreds, lubberkins, cluricauns, kobolds, leprechauns, kors, mares, korreds, puckles korigans, sylvans, succubuses, blackmen, shadows, banshees, lian-hanshees, clabbernappers, Gabriel-hounds, mawkins, doubles, corpse lights or candles, scrats, mahounds, trows, gnomes, sprites, fates, fiends, sibyls, nicknevins, whitewomen, fairies, thrummy-caps, cutties, and nisses, and apparitions of every shape, make, form, fashion, kind and description, that there was not a village in England that had not its own peculiar ghost.

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Posted: 07 December 2019 08:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Grants? what are they?

No clue. And the same can be said for most of the terms on the list. Denham provides no context for the terms in the list.

Grant is not in Wright’s English Dialect Dictionary.

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Posted: 07 December 2019 05:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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On Denham’s list of spirits, Wikipedia says “This is a long list of spirits, fairies, bogies and other creatures, based on an older list in the Discoverie of Witchcraft, dated 1584”, but about half the terms listed by Denham do not appear in Discoverie of Witchcraft. I was going to suggest maybe grants was scan error for giants, but giants is already there…

Some intriguing items in that list! Meg-with-the-wads?

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Posted: 08 December 2019 12:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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"wad” is an old Cornish name for a bundle of straw. I’ve just learned this from googling Joan the Wad, queen of the piskies. When I first mentioned her on the old Wordorigins site, I was met with much sniggering. Fortunately since then wikipedia has come to my aid.

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Posted: 08 December 2019 06:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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On Denham’s list of spirits, Wikipedia says “This is a long list of spirits, fairies, bogies and other creatures, based on an older list in the Discoverie of Witchcraft, dated 1584”, but about half the terms listed by Denham do not appear in Discoverie of Witchcraft.

Denham probably relied on the 1584 work to form the nucleus of the list, to which he added others from various sources. Hobbit is not on the older list.

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