Hyphen Usage

Moria Orc-defiler
Doesn’t this imply that he defiles orcs from Moria? There are others that war with orcs from Moria, skirmish with them, sap them… Orc syrup?

: Zubon

10 thoughts on “Hyphen Usage”

  1. That’s precisely what it implies. You *really* don’t want to know the details. (On a related note – Beater and Biter? Not swords, that was a translation error. Again, the specifics are very NSFW.)

  2. there’s the funny response so I’ll give the /nerdhat one.

    And as a langui-phile* shame on you for not picking this up already!

    He’s not an orc defiler, he’s an orc-defiler. ;-} An orc who does defile! Though that does not preclude him from defiling orcs.

    *(yes I made that up, have fun!)

  3. I guess you would have a field day with the German translation if you find that already funny… :)

  4. My first impression was that yes, “orc-defiler” does, quite specifically, mean “one who defiles orcs”. Having read the usage outline for the hyphen at


    however, I am not so sure. I don’t think it’s clear either way.

    If I was writing a story in which there was a character who was an orc who defiled things (god forbid) and I was insane enough to try and construct a generic term for him, I think I’d go for “orcish defiler”, although that risks him being thought of as a defiler who’s a bit like, but not actually, an orc. I definitely wouldn’t go for the hyphenate, though.

    1. Well IIRC Tolkien does specifically have the habit of using “Thing-” as a direct substitute for where we’d use “Thingish” or i.e. “having origin among the Things”.

      I still can’t reconcile that with Zub’s warg-riders example, so it looks like he did catch Turbine in an inconsistency there.

  5. There are also Moria Warg-riders. These are riders of Moria wargs, not Moria wargs that ride [something].

  6. A Moria orc-defiler would indeed be a defiler of orcs, by my reading, and not an orc who defiles generally. However he could be a defiler of orcs who just happens to live in Moria – he shouldn’t have to restrict himself to just defiling Moria orcs.

  7. Considering that the defiler’s role is to give other orcs and bad guys green morale luvving, maybe it -is- aptly hyphenated…

  8. Confusion stems form the fact that there’s no established adjectival form of Moria (that I’m aware of. If we could say ‘Morian Orc-defiler’ instead, it would go a lot easier.

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