See more synonyms for orc on Thesaurus.com

Origin of orc

First recorded in 1510–20, orc is from the Latin word orca


  1. Officers' Reserve Corps.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for orc

Contemporary Examples of orc

Historical Examples of orc

  • The battle with the Orc is borrowed from the tale of Perseus.

  • One merely gathers, that Orc releases himself in order to marry the shadowy daughter of Urthona,—Ah!

    William Blake

    Irene Langridge

  • The prelude is the lament of a nameless shadowy female, who rises from out the breast of Orc.

    William Blake

    Irene Langridge

  • Orc is heard raging on Mount Atlas, where he is chained down with the chain of jealousy.

    William Blake

    Irene Langridge

  • But with the dawn of that morning Orc descended in fire, “and in the vineyards of red France appeared the light of his fury.”

    William Blake

    Algernon Charles Swinburne

British Dictionary definitions for orc


  1. any of various whales, such as the killer and grampus
  2. one of an imaginary race of evil goblins, esp in the fiction of J.R.R. Tolkien

Word Origin for orc

C16: via Latin orca, perhaps from Greek orux whale
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

Word Origin and History for orc

"ogre, devouring monster," Old English orcþyrs, orcneas (plural), perhaps from a Romanic source akin to ogre, and ultimately from Latin Orcus "Hell," a word of unknown origin. Revived by J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) as the name of a brutal race in Middle Earth.

But Orcs and Trolls spoke as they would, without love of words or things; and their language was actually more degraded and filthy than I have shown it. ["Return of the King," 1955]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper