Origin of the word Hobbit - reference on Vox.com

I am not a Tolkien Guy, but respect the love, so wanted to share this in case Tolkien Dopers hadn’t seen it:

Here is the link to a weekly round-up of events related to books and publishing: https://www.vox.com/culture/2017/9/23/16345048/hobbit-80th-anniversary-jrr-tolkein-etymology

Included in the column:

Is this commonly known to fans or is this new? Interesting to fans or meh?

It’s right there in the books. I can see how someone uninterested in linguistics might gloss over it, but anyone who is interested would have noticed it.

Unless that article goes on to say that the word “hobbit” actually was used in genuine, pre-Tolkien folklore?

This covers the limited prior use of the word Hobbit. Hobbit (word) - Wikipedia

Tolkien Talked somewhere about Hob being a diminutive term.

I’m sure JRRT encountered the term at some point in his readings of old folklore, and half-remembered it when he went on to write his book. As What Exit aptly points out, he did NOT claim to have coined it himself.

And we hardcore students of JRRT (I’m definitely one of them, even if I’m a D- student) are aware of it. I won’t try to address what I think JRRT fans do or don’t know. :wink:

I think you sell yourself short, QtM. IIRC it was you who, when some innocent asked about the origin of the elves, reeled off a three (long) paragraph answer finishing it off with, “I’m at work right now. I’ll give a better answer when I’m home and have access to my reference materials.”

I, for one, gave up on HOME about halfway through the first book.