orc (n.)

"ogre, devouring monster," 1590s, perhaps a reborrowing of the same word that became Old English orcþyrs, orcneas (plural), which is perhaps from a Romanic source akin to ogre, and ultimately from Latin Orcus "Hell," a word of unknown origin. Also see Orca. Revived by J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973), who might have got it from Beowulf, 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]

updated on September 15, 2019