Eä (Quenya; IPA: [ˈe.a]) is what would become the term for the whole Universe of J.R.R. Tolkien's legendarium, as a realization of the vision of the Ainur. The name literally means "be" or "exist". Middle-earth was a continent on the planet the Elves named Arda (i.e. Earth), while Eä refers to the entire Universe containing Arda.
The Ainur, angelic beings from the Timeless Halls beyond Eä, referred to it as "the Little Kingdom". This refers to the fact that within the mind of Eru Ilúvatar (God, in Tolkien's legendarium), all of Tolkien’s star system is really just a tiny thing in comparison.
Eä was first spoken by Eru Ilúvatar with which he brought into actuality. Eru commanded that the Eä "be!", "[Let it] be!", and then it was. It may be assumed that everything outside Eä, including the Timeless Halls of Ilúvatar, had no material form.
Eä is a Quenya word that meant to be. Thus, Eä is the World that Is, as distinguished from the World that Is Not.
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