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"Nazgul" and "ghoul"

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  • Michael Martinez
    Tolkien was fond of linguistic jokes, of course, and his selection of the word Nazgul might be one of them.
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 7, 2001
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      Tolkien was fond of linguistic jokes, of course, and his selection of
      the word "Nazgul" might be one of them.

      http://www.dictionary.com/cgi-bin/dict.pl?term=ghoul tells us that a
      ghoul was (definition 3) "an evil spirit or demon in Muslim folklore
      believed to plunder graves and feed on corpses". When Tolkien was
      still writing the earlier drafts of LOTR, the Ringwraiths were
      related to the Barrow-wights. Tolkien often picked names because he
      liked the sound of them, and then worked them into his languages.
      Perhaps he did something similar with "Nazgul" and "ghoul", even
      though the Black Speech compound is "nazg" + "ul".

      "[Arabic gul, from gala, to seize, snatch. See gwl in Semitic Roots.]"
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