The one ring animated

"I will give you a name...and I shall call you Sting."
Bilbo Baggins [1]

Sting was an Elven shortsword made in Gondolin during the First Age. After wielding it during the Quest for Erebor, Bilbo Baggins had it engraved with the Sindarin text, Maegnas aen estar nin dagnir in yngyl im. Translated into English, it reads, "Sting is my name; I am the spider's bane." The Appendix of The Silmarillion defines the element maeg in Sindarin as meaning "sharp" or "piercing". During the Third Age, it was wielded by Bilbo BagginsFrodo Baggins, and Samwise Gamgee.



Sting, as seen in the Peter Jackson films

Sting was an ancient Elvish blade made by weapon-smiths in Gondolin. When Orcs or goblins were within an undetermined radius of it, the blade glowed blue, alerting the wielder and others who could see it to their presence. It had been lost during the Fall of Gondolin, the same battle in which Turgon fell and Glamdring was taken. It appeared as a curved blade with a silver loop or spiral design on it, later runes were added to it by Bilbo after his adventures. These runes seem to have been written by the Elves, as they are of Sindarin words.

In The Hobbit, Bilbo and his dwarven companions found Sting in a Troll-hoard alongside two other elven blades: Glamdring and Orcrist. Though just a dagger by standard of elves, Sting made a perfect short-sword for a Hobbit, although it was still rather small. Bilbo initially chose to wear it "inside his breeches"[2] and was still able to travel and even run without any apparent inconvenience. The sword got its name when Baggins was ambushed by large spiders and one of them said it stung to be struck with. Bilbo felt inspired by this.

Just before his nephew embarked on his quest to Mordor from Rivendell, Bilbo gave Sting to Frodo. Sam then took the weapon from his (seemingly dead) master and used it to good effect against Shelob on the borders of Mordor. After the defeat of Sauron at the end of the Third Age, Frodo entrusted Sting to Sam and it became an heirloom of the Gamgee family.

Gollum, who disliked anything made by the Elves, was afraid of Sting. This fear aided Bilbo when he confronted Gollum in the Cave at the base of the Misty Mountains in The Hobbit. It also helped Frodo and Sam subdue Gollum in The Lord of the Rings. Orcs also had an instinctive fear of these weapons and hated any who carried them.

As is fitting for a blade of Gondolin, Sting could easily cut through the webs of the offspring of Ungoliant, including the evil Shelob and the spiders of Mirkwood. Bilbo had named the weapon Sting after he had "stung" one of them with it. In The Hobbit when Bilbo wears the One Ring, and defends himself against a spider, he names the blade "Sting". The narrator describes the spider's lack of acquaintance with creatures with such stings, and evidently this was also Bilbo's presumption in naming it as such. Sting was like Glamdring and Orcrist in that "being the work of Elvish smiths in the Elder Days these swords shone with a cold light, if any Orcs were near at hand."[3] But only Sting was definitively described as glowing blue, or glittering with blue flame at its edges.

Following Frodo's departure to the Undying Lands it is unknown whether he took Sting with him or left it to Sam, like he did with the Red Book, in which case it would have landed in the possession of the Fairbairns.

Portrayal in adaptationsEdit

Peter Jackson's trilogiesEdit


"The blade glows blue when Orcs are close."

In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Gandalf uncovers the blade on the floor of the cave as he was about to leave and gives it to Bilbo, who is waiting outside. Sting is depicted as vaguely leaf-shaped, with gently curving edges (much like a Greek xiphos), such as Tolkien described in his book. In The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, engraved on the blade are Sindarin letters that read phonetically, Maegnas aen estar nin dagnir in yngyl im. Translated they read, Sting is my name; I am the spider's bane.[4] According to the appendix of The Silmarillion, the element maeg in Sindarin means 'sharp' or 'piercing', and the Etymologies section of The Lost Road and Other Writings gives the meaning of the element nass as 'point', so "Maegnas" is literally translated as "sharp-point".

Bilbo holding Sting for the first time after its discovery

In the books there is no mention that Bilbo had the blade inscribed, and the inscription is not present in the The Hobbit adaptation, but after Bilbo named the blade Sting he could have had it inscribed by the elves during the story of The Hobbit or after, or the elves could have inscribed it for him after he returned to live in Rivendell. This seems likely since the engraving is in Sindarin and the elves obviously would have had the best experience in reshaping a blade such as Sting.

Despite both Glamdring and Orcrist being elvish blades of similar make, Sting is the only blade shown to glow blue in the The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings films. 

Appearances in the Books and FilmsEdit

In the booksEdit

In the filmsEdit


FR Desolation - Bilbo
Bilbo and Sting in a French The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug poster
Bilbo BOT5A Poster 2
Bilbo and Sting in a The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies poster
Frodo holding Sting
Hobbit the desolation of smaug bilbo-XL-banner1-610x298
Bilbo and Sting in Mirkwood
Bilbo holding Sting in the movie The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Sting glowing in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Translations around the WorldEdit

Foreign Language Translated name
Afrikaans Steek
Albanian Djeg
Amharic ነደፈ
Arabic ستينغ
Armenian մազմզուկ
Azerbaijani Dişlək
Belarusian Cyrillic Джала
Bengali হুল
Bosnian Ubod
Bulgarian Cyrillic Стинг
Cambodian ទ្រនិច
Catalan Picada
Cebuano Mopaak
Chichewa Mbola
Chinese (Hong Kong) 刺針
Croatian Žalac
Czech Žihadlo
Danish Stik
Dutch Prik
Esperanto Pikilon
Estonian Nõelamine
Filipino Sigid
Finnish Piikki
French Dard
Frisian Stekke
German Stich
Greek Κεντρί (Kentri)
Gujarati સ્ટિંગ
Haitian Creole Pike
Hebrew עוקץ
Hindi डंक
Hmong Plev
Hungarian Fullánk
Icelandic Stunga
Indonesian Menyengat
Italian Pungolo
Japanese つらぬき丸
Kannada ಕುಟುಕು
Kazakh Стинг (Cyrillic) Stïng (Latin)
Korean 스팅
Kurdish Pêvedan (Kurmanji Kurdish)
Kyrgyz Cyrillic чагып алуу
Laotian ໄລແມງງອດ ?
Latin Stimulus
Latvian Dzēlums
Lithuanian Geluonis
Macedonian Cyrillic Стинг
Malay Sengat
Malayalam കുത്ത്
Maori Wero
Mongolian Cyrillic хатгах
Nepalese डंक
Norwegian Brodd
Pashto لیشه
Persian نیش
Portuguese (Brazil) Ferroada
Portuguese (Portugal) Ferrão
Polish Żądło
Punjabi ਸਟਿੰਗ
Romanian Țeapa (Înțepătura)
Russian Жало
Samoan Tui
Sanskrit ष्तिङ्
Serbian убод (Cyrillic) Ubod (Latin)
Sesotho Motsu
Sinhalese විෂ දළය
Shona Ruma
Slovenian Želo
Somalian Micida
Slovak Bodnutie
Spanish (Spain and Latin America) Dardo
Sudanese Nyeureud
Swahili Nyuki
Tajik Cyrillic газидан
Tamil ஸ்டிங்
Tatar стинг ?
Telugu స్టింగ్
Thai ดาบสติง
Turkish Acı
Ukrainian Cyrillic Стинг
Urdu ڈنک
Uzbek Стинг (Cyrillic) Caqmoq (Latin)
Vietnamese Mũi Đốt
Welsh Golyn
Xhosa Suzela
Yiddish שטעכן
Yoruba Ta
Yucatec Maya Picadura u


  1. The Hobbit, Chapter VIII: "Flies And Spiders"
  2. The Hobbit, Chapter V: "Riddles in the Dark"
  3. The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Chapter IV: "A Journey in the Dark"
  4. The Lord of the Rings: Weapons and Warfare, "Hobbits", pg. 43

External linkEdit