J.R.R. Tolkien Traced “Morse” to “Walrus”

By posted at 12:00 pm on June 10, 2013 0

Jonathan Dent offers a fascinating look at one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s most challenging assignments for the Oxford English Dictionary. Apparently as a young philologist, Tolkien was tasked with tracing the etymology of “walrus” – a tricky word “of disputed origin that had all but entirely replaced the earlier English name morse since its first appearance in English in the late 1600s.”

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