A MAN’S WORD-HORDE

Last night, while studying the single best book on Tolkien I have ever read, I discovered that the term Word-Hoard was originally, in some uses, Word-Horde. (Derived from ancient Czech, “hord” or Polish “horda.”)

Now Word-Hoard is one of my very favorite Anglo-Saxon/Olde English terms and to me the implication here is that not only was a man’s Word Hoard an innumerable treasure by which he cunningly manipulated the world (buying favors and gains and influence with his word-hoard), it was also (at least by implication with the word Horde) a vast and unstoppable army or a “huge swarm” (of people).

This adds an incredible layer of meaning and metaphor. For it means that a man’s Word-Hoard is not just a static treasure that he accumluates and “hoards” over time, but that it is actually an active and living force, a Horde that he sends out into the world, like a swarm or an army, to conquer the world.

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