Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Word of the Day -- Halfling

Halfling is another name for J. R. R. Tolkien's Hobbit which can be a fictional race sometimes found in fantasy novels and games. In many settings, they are similar to humans except about half the size. Dungeons & Dragons began using the name halfling as an alternative to hobbit for legal reasons.

Originally, "halfling" was the Scots word hauflin, pre-dating The Hobbit and Dungeons & Dragons. It meant an awkward rustic teenager, who is neither man nor boy, and so half of both. Another word for halfling is "hobbledehoy" or "hobby". Some fantasy stories use halfling to describe a person born of a human parent and a parent of another race, often a human female and an elf. Terry Brooks describes characters such as Shea Ohmsford from his Shannara series as a halfling of elf–human parentage. This kind of character is elsewhere called a half-elf and is distinct from the common fantasy race known as halflings. In Jack Vance's Lyonesse series of novels, "halfling" is a generic term for beings such as fairies, trolls and ogres, who are composed of both magical and earthly substances.

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