Sauron, of course, wasn't Sauron's original name. He was called Mairon the Admirable. Mairon was only given the name Sauron upon his defection to evil. The name Sauron was given in mockery of his previous name.

saura (Þ) adj. foul, evil-smelling, putrid

Sauro (Þ) masc. name Sauron (Þ), the Abhorred, name of a Maia, the second Dark Lord

Quenya-English Dictionary

Melkor, his master, was named Morgoth specifically by Fëanor. Who, exactly, renamed Mairon as Sauron (the Abhorred)?


1 Answer 1


The Eldar renamed him Sauron

Among those of his servants that have names the greatest was that spirit whom the Eldar called Sauron, or Gorthaur the Cruel.
The Silmarillion: Valaquenta

The Complete Tolkien Companion By JEA Tyler (although not canon is very well sourced) suggests the following

Sauron is a later name given to him by the High-elves in their own language, and means ‘the Abhorred’, while the Grey-elves knew him as Gorthaur ‘the Cruel’.
The Complete Tolkien Guide

This supports the above that he was renamed by the Elves of Valinor.

  • Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – Edlothiad
    Commented May 16, 2017 at 14:39
  • Perhaps it is worth noting whether "Sauron" is the actual word used by the Eldar, or this is Tolkien's "translation" into English (cf. Maura -> Frodo). Then again IIRC Tolkien only "translated" Westron words, so then it has got to be the former.
    – void_ptr
    Commented May 16, 2017 at 16:40
  • 8
    @void_ptr It's the actual Quenya word.
    – Edlothiad
    Commented May 16, 2017 at 16:44
  • 3
    @Voronwë There's not always a Jon Oliver who's responsible for a common name. Sometimes it just comes out of the Zeitgeist. There wasn't one historian who announced Constantine I was 'the Great' and everyone else copied them: there was a consensus about how the clerics felt about the guy and a common word that fit the bill.
    – lly
    Commented May 17, 2017 at 5:03

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