Asked • 10/03/19

The origin of Tolkien's use of the term "hobbit"?

In a footnote on page 29 of *The Lay of Aotrou & Itroun* Verlyn Flieger notes> the word *korigans* appears in the 1891 compendium of folklore known as *The Denham Tracts* (Vol. II, p. 79) where it is in the same word-list as the first recorded use of the word *hobbits*, another term which Tolkien put to good use in his own work.However, in the *Letters*, Tolkien says> the etymology [of *hobbit*]: 'Invented by J.R.R. Tolkien'(this in letter 316, to the editor of the Oxford English Dictionary)And in letter 25 says > I have no waking recollection [...] of any Hobbit bogey in print by 1904and that> hobbit-names [are] from Obvious Sources proper to their kindIs this an issue of the origin of the term versus the origin of the creature, or is something else at play here? How did the term 'hobbit' originate, and how did the idea of the 'halfling' originate, especially with respect to Tolkien?

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