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

June 10, 2013 | 1 book mentioned

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.”

works on special projects for The Millions. He lives in Baltimore and he frequents dive bars. His interests can be followed on his Tumblr, Nick Recommends and Twitter, @nemoran3.

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