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[awr-kuh] /ˈɔr kə/
the killer whale, Orcinus orca.
Origin of orca
1865-70; < New Latin, Latin; see orc Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for orca
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Historical Examples
  • Orcellus is a diminutive meaning a small cask; from orca, a cask.

  • "Here be no girls, Messer del' orca," I answered him in the same tone.

    The Shame of Motley Raphael Sabatini
  • Messer Ramiro del' orca should account to me for this vile deed.

    The Shame of Motley Raphael Sabatini
  • Ramiro del' orca is a traitor who is plotting the death of his overlord.

    The Shame of Motley Raphael Sabatini
  • I was inclined to the belief that this species was the orca, a whale-killing fish.

    Tales of Fishes Zane Grey
British Dictionary definitions for orca


noun (pl) orcas, orca
a killer whale
Word Origin
C20: Latin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for orca

"killer whale," introduced as a generic term for the species by 1841, from earlier use in scientific names, from Latin orca "cetacean, a kind of whale." Earlier in English, orc, ork "large whale" (c.1590), from French orque, had been used vaguely of sea monsters (see orc).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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