The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Dates
Orcs first emerged in ancient Elder Days, while Melkor still ruled from Utumno; survived into the Fourth Age
Race
A term used by the Ents, apparently in reference to Orcs, though this is not absolutely certain
Pronunciation
boo'rahroom
Meaning
Uncertain1
Other names

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About this entry:

  • Updated 6 January 2019
  • This entry is complete

Burárum

A word or sound from Entish

A sound or word issued by Treebeard when he spoke of the Orcs. Its meaning is not known with certainty, and it may be a fragment of the Entish word for 'Orcs'. Alternatively, it represents the 'deep rumbling noise like a discord on a great organ'2, signifying Treebeard's disgust at the thought of these creatures. These two explanations are not mutually exclusive, and it's quite conceivable that the Entish word for 'Orcs' actually began with a sound of booming disgust.

Though we don't know the actual Entish word for 'Orcs' (assuming it isn't burárum), we do have a segment of it translated into English: 'evileyed-blackhanded-bowlegged-flinthearted-clawfingered-foulbellied-bloodthirsty'3, and also some fragments of this in Elvish: morimaite ('blackhanded') and sincahonda ('flinthearted').


Notes

1

The word Burárum appears to be a fragment of Entish rather than Elvish, but its meaning is far from clear. Indeed, it may not actually mean 'Orcs', but the fact that Treebeard always used it before referring to Orcs shows that there was at least some connection. If it carried any specific meaning, that meaning is not specifically recorded. However, we do know that the Ents referred to Orcs in a way that translated into a string of words beginning 'evileyed-blackhanded-bowlegged...'. We have partial Elvish translations of these terms starting with 'blackhanded', so perhaps Burárum was the Entish equivalent of 'evileyed', the first, and otherwise untranslated, element of this long name. Another possible interpretation comes from a reference by Treebeard to '...orc-work, the wanton hewing - rárum...' in The Two Towers III 4, Treebeard, which apparently connects 'hewing' with the word rárum. On that basis, we might read Burárum as something like 'those who hew', which would indeed be an apt description of the Orcs from the Ents' point of view.

2

The Two Towers III 4, Treebeard

3

The Return of the King VI 6, Many Partings

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About this entry:

  • Updated 6 January 2019
  • This entry is complete

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