orc in fantasy literature and games, a member of an imaginary race of human-like creatures, characterized as ugly, warlike, and malevolent. The word (denoting an ogre) is recorded from the late 16th century, 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. See also ogre.
orc †ferocious (sea-)monster; cetacean of the genus Orca. XVI. — F. orque or L. orca kind of whale — Gr. óruga, acc. of órux ORYX.
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