First attested in the 18th century, borrowed from French ogre, from Latin Orcus (“god of the underworld”), from Ancient Greek Ὄρκος (Órkos), the personified demon of oaths (ὅρκος (hórkos, “oath”)) who inflicts punishment upon perjurers. Doublet of orc.
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈəʊ.ɡə/
- (General American) enPR: ōʹgər, IPA(key): /ˈoʊ.ɡɚ/
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- Rhymes: -əʊɡə(ɹ)
ogre (plural ogres)
- (mythology) A type of brutish giant from folk tales that eats human flesh.
- 1828, Thomas Keightley, Fairy Mythology, volume II, page 237:
- And in the seventh tale of the third day of the same collection, when Corvetto had hidden himself under the Ogre's bed to steal his quilt, "he began to pull quite gently, when the Ogre awoke, and bid his wife not to pull the clothes that way, or she'd strip him, and he would get his death of cold." "Why, it's you that are stripping me," replied the Ogress, "and you have not left a stitch on me." "Where the devil is the quilt?" says the Ogre[.]
- (figuratively) A brutish man reminiscent of the mythical ogre.
From Old French ogre, from Latin Orcus (“the underworld; the god Pluto”), with metathesis. According to the Trésor de la langue française informatisé, first attested in the late 12th century meaning 'fierce non-Christian', and ca. 1300 meaning 'human-eating giant' (in fairy tales). Cognate with Old Spanish huerco (“the Devil”), Spanish huerco (“depressed man in the dark”), Italian orco (“ogre, orc”).
See also French lutin (“imp, pixie”), possibly from Old French netun (“marine monster”), derived from Latin Neptūnus, and also Old French gene (“mischievous fairy”) and Romanian zână (“fairy”), both inherited forms of Latin Diāna. A sermon by Merovingian French bishop St. Eligius (died 659) advises people against belief in Neptune, Diana, Orcus and Minerva.
All are borrowed.
- “ogre”, in Trésor de la langue française informatisé [Digitized Treasury of the French Language], 2012.
- Alternative form of