√PAL root. “wide, broad, extended”
This root was well established in Tolkien’s mind, but its meaning shifted gradually over time. It first appeared as ᴱ√PALA “flatness” in the Qenya Lexicon of the 1910s with derivatives like ᴱQ. palume “plain”, ᴱQ. palo “plane surface, plain, the flat”, and ᴱQ. Paluren “the Wide World” (elsewhere ᴱQ. Palúrien), but also ᴱQ. palwa- “make wander” and ᴱQ. palāva “wandering” (QL/71). The Gnomish name G. Bladorwen “the Wide Earth” points to an actual root of *ᴱ√BALA, as do words like G. bladwen “plain” and G. blant “flat” (GL/23). However, the words G. paltha “blade (of swords, knives, oars, etc.); wide flat leaf; page of book” and G. plados “oar” seem to be derived directly from ᴱ√PALA, though the verb G. palta- “beat” [sic., rather than expected paltha-] hints that this variant of the root may mean “beat” rather than “flat” (GL/63-64); see the entry for ᴹ√PALAP “*beat” for further discussion.
In The Etymologies of the 1930s this root appeared as ᴹ√PAL¹ “wide (open)”, still serving as the basis for the name ᴹQ. Palúrien along with other derivatives like ᴹQ. palar “flat field, ‘wang’, plain” and ᴹQ. palme/N. palath “surface” (Ety/PAL). A later addition to the entry was ᴹQ. palan “far” and ᴹQ. palantir “far-seeing stone”. The root √PAL remained the basis for Q. palan “far” in Tolkien’s later writings, and appeared with the glosses “broad, wide” (PE17/65) and “wide, extended” (VT47/8). The latter gloss appeared in notes from the late 1960s having to do with Eldarin Hands, Fingers and Numerals, where Tolkien indicated the root had two extended forms palat- and palan, and that its meaning was “originally also with the implication that the area was more or less flat and even, without hindrance to movement, or view”, and so serving as the basis for the words Q. palta/S. plad “palm, flat of the hand” (VT47/8-9). Thus even in Tolkien’s later writings, it seems the root retained the sense “flatness”.
References ✧ PE17/65, 171; VT47/8
ᴹ√PAL¹ root. “wide (open)”
Reference ✧ Ety/PAL ✧ PAL “wide (open)”
ᴱ√PALA root. “flatness”
References ✧ LT1A/Palúrien; QL/71