/awrk/, n.
1. any of several cetaceans, as a grampus.
2. a mythical monster, as an ogre.
[1510-20; < L orca]

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▪ mythological creature
      a mythical creature (such as a sea monster, a giant, or an ogre) of horrid form or aspect.

      The word orc in English has two distinct sources. Orc in reference to a vaguely cetacean sea monster is borrowed from one or more Romance words, such as the French orque or the Italian orca, all ultimately descended from the Latin orca, which probably denoted a small cetacean such as the killer whale. In Ludovico Ariosto (Ariosto, Ludovico)'s epic Orlando furioso, the heroine Angelica is set out as a victim for a man-eating orca, in a literary recasting of the Andromeda myth.

      A different word orc, alluding to a demon or ogre, appears in Old English glosses of about AD 800 and in the compound word orcnēas (“monsters”) in the poem Beowulf. As with the Italian orco (“ogre”) and the word ogre itself, it ultimately derives from the Latin Orcus, a god of the underworld. The Old English creatures were most likely the inspiration for the orcs that appear in J.R.R. Tolkien (Tolkien, J.R.R.)'s The Lord of the Rings.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • orc — ([^o]rk), n. [L. orca, a kind of whale: cf. F. orque.] 1. (Zo[ o]l.) Any of several cetaceans, especialy the {grampus} ({Grampus griseus}) of the dolphin family. [Written also {ork} and {orch}.] Milton. [1913 Webster] An island salt and bare, The …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • orc — s.m. (Rar) Infern. – Din germ. Orkus. Trimis de ionel bufu, 07.05.2004. Sursa: DEX 98  orc s. m. Trimis de siveco, 10.08.2004. Sursa: Dicţionar ortografic …   Dicționar Român

  • orc — (n.) ogre, devouring monster, O.E. orcþyrs, orcneas (plural), perhaps from a Romanic source akin to OGRE (Cf. ogre), and ultimately from L. Orcus Hell, a word of unknown origin. Revived by J.R.R. Tolkien (1892 1973) as the name of a brutal race… …   Etymology dictionary

  • orc — orc; ORC; …   English syllables

  • ORC — abbrev. Officers Reserve Corps …   English World dictionary

  • orc — [ôrk] n. [Fr orque < L orca, kind of whale, altered (infl. by orca, a large tub) < Gr oruga, acc. of oryx, a large fish] a killer whale or other cetacean identified by early writers as a “sea monster” …   English World dictionary

  • Orc — For other uses, see Orc (disambiguation). An orc (pronounced /ˈɔrk/) is one of a race of mythical human like creatures, generally described as fierce and combative, with grotesque features and often black, grey or greenish skin. This mythology… …   Wikipedia

  • Orc — Orque (créature) Pour les articles homonymes, voir Orque (homonymie). Un orque est une créature imaginaire, inspirée du gobelin des légendes germaniques. C est …   Wikipédia en Français

  • ORC — Die Abkürzung ORC steht für: Offshore Racing Congress, ein Bewertungssystem im Regattasport Organic Rankine Cycle, ein Betriebsverfahren für Dampfturbinen ohne Wasserdampf Orocue, ein Flughafen in Kolumbien (IATA Code) Regularkanoniker vom Hl.… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Orc — Die Abkürzung ORC steht für: Optical Character Recognition (engl. Optische Zeichenerkennung), s. Texterkennung Offshore Racing Congress, ein Bewertungssystem im Regattasport Organic Rankine Cycle, ein Betriebsverfahren für Dampfturbinen ohne… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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