Why does Sméagol say gollum when he's threatened? For example here:

'Leave me alone, gollum! You hurt me. O my poor hands, gollum!... I, we can't find it, gollum, gollum, no, nowhere..." Then he collapsed again. 'Gollum, Gollum,' he whimpered with his face to the ground.

  • 1
    Not sure of its validity as an answer but I always thought Gollum was a split personality so he may have been trying to bring Gollum to the forefront of his mind to protect him from the pain. Of course that lovely scene from the movie may not have ever occurred in the books.
    – Revenant
    Commented Feb 1, 2019 at 1:13

1 Answer 1


It's a word made to represent an inarticulate sound of gurgling. From LotR:

He took to thieving, and going about muttering to himself, and gurgling in his throat. So they [his relatives] called him Gollum, and cursed him, and told him to go far away.

And from The Hobbit:

"Bless us and splash us, my precioussss! I guess it's a choice feast; at least a tasty morsel it'd make us, gollum!" And when he said gollum he made a horrible swallowing noise in his throat. That is how he got his name, though he always called himself 'my precious.'

It became both his name and a mannerism. I always picture it as sort of a chocked gargling noise...if that helps any!

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    he must have been a troubled thing as he uses it mostly when scared. Commented Feb 1, 2019 at 1:45

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