First Pass for the Food Words!

Word Fans, I have done it!  All the way from “cellar” to “tobacco-jar“, I have scanned for all the food words, common and uncommon, and entered them into the concordance.  I’m certain to have missed some, and I am humbly ready to call this my First Pass.  Alert Readers who put me wise to food words I have missed will have a verse written in their honor in the style of the Tra-la-la-lalley Elves.

Let it be noted that I have already had a good argument with myself over “supplies”, and have decided that it’s not a food word.  It is used in “food-supplies”, which is counted separately, and in all other instances can indicate “bandages” as well as it stands for “food”.

Next I will make some lovely graphs of food words.  I’m interested in their frequency and location in the text; I also have an idea in the back of my mind to do a deeper analysis including a negative valence for those times that food words indicate a lack of food.

As I made this first pass, I also took the chance to improve my file of the text.  I’ve eliminated many of the phrase-breaks which left only one-word phrases, fussed with punctuation breaks, and started keeping an eye out for use or non-use of a marked subjunctive.


While one meaning of “carrion” is specifically rotting flesh that is unfit to eat, adjectivally it indicates beings which eat or use that same rotting flesh.  One bird’s squick is another bird’s squee…  How interesting that it is a common word.

  • 15.002 and far off there are many carrion birds
  • 15.019 and carrion birds are with them hoping for battle


“carrion, n. and adj.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, September 2016. Web. 4 October 2016.


There are rather over a gross of instances of the word “good” in The Hobbit, but for now we will focus on just one form, “goods”.  OED tells us that “good” as

III. A particular thing that is good or beneficial.

is rare in the singular, and that the usual use is in the plural form with a plural verb – “goods are” – although with a singular verb, as a collective noun, is acceptable although rare – “goods is”.

In fact the entire entry for “Good” is absolutely fascinating and a long, long rabbit hole down which to fall.  Goods can be commodities, livestock, acts of piety, and in our case, food.

  • 07.068 Or were you carrying lots of goods?
  • 09.018 and other goods,
  • 09.019 and other goods came up the rivers,
  • 10.009 and others they would fill with goods
  • 14.025 and goods
  • 14.042 but great store of goods he sent ahead by water.
  • 15.050 The price of the goods



“good, adj., n., adv., and int.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, September 2016. Web. 4 October 2016.


The first time we encountered this word, it applied to a tactile sensation, not gustatory, so I skimmed right past it, but now – bitterness we can taste.  That’s a food word to me!

  • 04.002 It was getting bitter cold up here,
  • 12.020 in size but provided with a bitter sword
  • 12.070 that your success has made you some bitter enemies?’
  • 13.051 A bitter easterly breeze blew with a threat of oncoming winter.
  • 14.034 and bitter words were shouted from many sides;
  • 14.038 for the night was bitter
  • 17.050 and bitter.
  • 18.018 This is a bitter adventure,


The container to hold liquids to be carried through the air and the container to hold air to be floated upon the water are the same word.  In these two uses, the former meaning applies.

  • 12.014 and vessels filled with a wealth that could not be guessed.
  • 14.011 Every vessel

“vessel, n.1.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, June 2016. Web. 4 July 2016.


“Crack” carries many different meanings in this work.  As I scan for food words past the thrush chapter, I can’t resist adding this sound word to our concordance.  Remember to separate sound-meanings of the words from crevice-meanings in your work.  I apologize – I seem to have been behyphenated.

  • 01.064 Chip the glasses and crack the plates!
  • 01.123 and cracking
  • 04.002 and the crack of stone.
  • 04.014 He dreamed that a crack
  • 04.015 A crack had opened at the back of the cave,
  • 04.016 and carried through the crack,
  • 04.017 The crack closed with a snap,
  • 04.019 Clap! Snap! the black crack!
  • 04.021 Swish, smack! Whip crack!
  • 04.023 and cracked their whips behind.
  • 05.129 he only just missed cracking his skull
  • 05.146 through the crack.
  • 06.022 which was only open a crack,
  • 06.028 he had nipped inside the crack,
  • 06.040 in a fearful confusion of slipping, rattling, cracking slabs
  • 06.052 like old gentlemen gone cracked
  • 06.078 till hair smells and skins crack,
  • 06.079 the lower branches cracked.
  • 07.067 a crack at the back of the cave opened;
  • 07.075 – and slipped inside the crack
  • 11.014 like a dark crack
  • 11.030 At that very moment he heard a sharp crack
  • 11.030 Crack!
  • 11.030 Crack!
  • 11.030 Crack!
  • 11.032 There was a loud crack.
  • 11.038 Long straight cracks appeared
  • 12.029 in through the crack they had left
  • 12.031 until dawn came pale through the crack of the door.
  • 12.101 the walls cracked