[ awr-kuh ]
/ ˈɔr kə /


the killer whale, Orcinus orca.

Origin of orca

1865–70; < New Latin, Latin; see orc
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for orca

British Dictionary definitions for orca


/ (ˈɔːkə) /

noun plural orcas or orca

a killer whale

Word Origin for orca

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

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