There is some discussion on the origins of the name Baggins in this question. However, it only revolves around whether or not it is related to Bilbo being a thief, and I am interested in something else, not discussed there.

I always wondered whether Tolkien had ever commented on whether his invention of the name "Baggins" was affected by the French word bague, which means ring, there being a ring of some importance in the story of Bilbo Baggins.

Is there any mentions of this in his letters, biography, interviews?

  • 4
    Wade duplicate question ≠ bad question on SFF.SE. Our dupe policy is based on accepted answers which are the same, not on merely on questions which are the same. So, "What's that book about little people saving the world by throwing some antique into a volcano?" would be a dupe of a question (with an accepted answer) of "What was the trilogy Tolkien published after The Hobbit? So please do not delete your question if a dupe! Although editing to align title and body, per @Valorum's input welcome.
    – Lexible
    Aug 14, 2021 at 20:27
  • @Lexible OK, that's good to know. Although in this case the point for me was that my answer was not answered in the other question, and was distinct from it. But it is definitely true that the title was phrased badly and should have been fixed.
    – Wade
    Aug 14, 2021 at 20:50

1 Answer 1


Tolkien wrote in Letters 297

It is [..] idle to compare chance-similarities between names made from 'Elvish tongues' and words in exterior 'real' languages, especially if this is supposed to have any bearing on the meaning or ideas in my story. To take a frequent case: there is no linguistic connexion, and therefore no connexion in significance, between Sauron a contemporary form of an older *θaurond- derivative of an adjectival *θaurā (from a base √THAW) 'detestable', and the Greek σαύρα 'a lizard'.
The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, 297 Drafts for a Letter to 'Mr Rang', Aug 1967

So, all relations between names in the Legendarium and 'real' words have no bearing on the meaning of the names or the characters to which they refer.

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    Thank you, that's interesting info. However, I didn't ask if he chose it for this purpose, but whether he ever commented on this coincidence.
    – Wade
    Aug 25, 2021 at 11:27
  • Not all of them. Many names are directly from Norse or Old English.
    – OrangeDog
    Aug 25, 2021 at 13:03

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