√(G)LOS root. “snow, whiteness”
In Tolkien’s writing the root √(G)LOS is mostly used for “snow” but also for “white”. The earliest indications of this root are words from the Gnomish Lexicon of the 1910s such as G. gloss “white, clear white”, G. glost “whiteness” and (possibly) G. glui “snow” (GL/40), indicating an (unattested) early root *ᴱ√LOSO of similar meaning. The (plural) adjective ᴱQ. losse “white” appears in the ᴱQ. Oilima Markirya poem of the late 1920s (MC/213), indicating this root spread to other branches of the Elvish languages.
The first clear mention of this root is in the The Etymologies of the 1930s where ᴹ√GOLOS is given as the basis for ᴹQ. olos(se) and N. gloss “snow, fallen snow” (Ety/GOLÓS). In later writings the root √LOS appears several times as the basis for snow words (PE17/26, 69, 160-161; RGEO/61). The last mention of this root is in notes on The Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor from the late 1960s, where Tolkien gave the root as √(G)LOS with the underlying meaning “white”, with two distinct Sindarin derivatives S. loss “snow” [noun] and S. gloss “snow white” [adj.] (VT42/18). Given this l/gl variation in Sindarin, likely the strengthened form √GLOS was a sporadic, Sindarin-only innovation.
References ✧ PE17/26, 69, 160-161; RGEO/61; SA/los; VT42/18
ᴹ√GOLOS root. “*snow, white”
References ✧ Ety/GOLÓS, LOT(H)