Definition of orc in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɔːk/


(In fantasy literature and games) a member of an imaginary race of human-like creatures, characterized as ugly, warlike, and malevolent.
Example sentences
  • It's one thing to cast orcs or some other imaginary monsters as being evil.
  • One orc says that something hurt the creature and is still lurking in the tunnels.
  • There is a debate between the orc parties, and two orcs from the Mordor party are killed in the dispute.



Pronunciation: /ˈɔːkɪʃ/
Example sentences
  • Only roaring electric guitars in orcish songs seem to work well.
  • Sir Kuiper used his influence to gain a concession in Pelgaryn as compensation for the losses he suffered from the orcish invasion.
  • As a teen, it was evil overlords and orcish hoards.


Late 16th century (denoting an ogre): perhaps from Latin orcus 'hell' or Italian orco 'demon, monster', influenced by obsolete orc 'ferocious sea creature' and by Old English orcneas 'monsters'. The current sense is due to the use of the word in Tolkien's fantasy adventures.

  • In J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings the orcs are ugly, malevolent, goblin-like creatures that attack in hordes and sometimes ride wolves. The word was not invented by Tolkien, and had been used by the Anglo-Saxons, to whom an orc was ‘a demon’. It had died out by ad 1000, but came back into English in the 17th century from Italian orco ‘man-eating giant’. The source in both cases was Orcus, the name of a Roman god of the underworld which was also the root of ogre (early 18th century). When Tolkien was writing in the 1930s orc had become rare, and he revived the word—as a noted scholar he would have been aware of the earlier Old English use.

Words that rhyme with orc

auk, baulk, Bork, caulk (US calk), chalk, cork, Dundalk, Falk, fork, gawk, hawk, Hawke, nork, outwalk, pork, squawk, stalk, stork, talk, torc, torque, walk, york

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: orc

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