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S. besain [mb-] n. “the Lady, breadgiver” (Category: Noble, Nobleman)

S. besain [mb-], n. “the Lady, breadgiver” (Category: Noble, Nobleman)

In notes from the 1950s Tolkien said word besain was a title for noble Elf ladies as the provider of lembas, the equivalent of (and probably an adaption from) Q. massánië, literally “bread giver [giving]” (PM/404). It was likely coined based on the historical developments of this name: *mbassānye > (m)bessenı̯ > bessein > besain. Christopher Tolkien noted that his father wrote oneth “*giving” above -ain, indicating an alternate form, which Christopher Tolkien wrote as *besoneth (PM/405). However, I think it is likelier the alternate would be *basoneth = S. bas “bread” + oneth “giving”, because in this alternate form there would be no reason for the initial element bas- to undergo i-affection.

References ✧ PM/404-405