√KHER root. “possess”
The basic root for rulership was √KHER for most of Tolkien’s life. The root appeared as ᴱ√HERE “rule, have power” in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s, and in this period already had the derivative ᴱQ. heru “lord” and ᴱQ. heri “lady” (QL/40), words that retained the same form and meaning throughout Tolkien’s life. Gnomish derivatives from this period include G. herma “protection, lordship, sway”, G. hermon “lord”, G. hîr “care, anxiety; heed”, and G. hiril “queen†, princess” (GL/49).
In The Etymologies of the 1930s these last two Gnomish words became N. hîr “master” and N. hiril “lady” as derivatives of ᴹ√KHER “rule, govern, possess”; the words ᴹQ. heru/ᴹQ. heri reappeared as well (Ety/KHER). All four of these words reappeared frequently in Tolkien’s later writing, though S. hîr was more typically glossed “lord” (PM/210; SD/129; VT41/9; Let/382; UT/318). The root √KHER itself reappeared in a 1954 letter to Naomi Mitchison with the gloss “possess” (Let/178).
Reference ✧ Let/178 ✧ kher- “possess”
ᴹ√KHER root. “rule, govern, possess”
References ✧ Ety/BARAS, BES, KHER, NIL
ᴱ√HERE root. “rule, have power”
References ✧ LT1/248; LT1A/Valahíru; QL/40