"man-eating giant of fairy tales and popular legends," 1713, hogre (in a translation of a French version of the Arabian Nights), from French ogre, first used in Perrault's "Contes," 1697, and perhaps formed by him from a dialectal variant of Italian orco "demon, monster," from Latin Orcus "Hades," which is of unknown origin. In English, more literary than colloquial. The conjecture that it is from Byzantine Ogur "Hungarian" or some other version of that people's name (perhaps via confusion with the bloodthirsty Huns), lacks historical evidence. Related: Ogrish; ogreish; ogrishness; ogreishness.
updated on August 19, 2019