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Learned borrowing from Latin orīchalcum, itself a borrowing from Ancient Greek ὀρείχαλκος (oreíkhalkos), from dative singular of ὄρος (óros, mountain) + χαλκός (khalkós, copper).



orichalcum (uncountable)

  1. A valuable yellow metal known to the Ancient Greeks and Romans; now sometimes interpreted as referring to a natural alloy of gold and copper, and sometimes treated as a mythical substance.
    • 2008, Jonathan Black, A Secret History of the World, Quercus 2008, p. 162:
      Many walls were coated with metals – with brass, tin and a red [sic] metal, unknown to us, called orichalcum.



Borrowed from Ancient Greek ὀρείχαλκος (oreíkhalkos).



orichalcum n (genitive orichalcī); second declension

  1. yellow copper ore, or an alloy of gold and copper
  2. a mythical mineral
  3. (Late Latin, Medieval Latin, poetic) brass (or brass objects)
    • Vulgate Bible, Douay-Rheims Version, Revelation 1ː15
      et pedes eius similes orichalco sicut in camino ardenti et vox illius tamquam vox aquarum multarum


Second-declension noun (neuter).

Case Singular Plural
Nominative orichalcum orichalca
Genitive orichalcī orichalcōrum
Dative orichalcō orichalcīs
Accusative orichalcum orichalca
Ablative orichalcō orichalcīs
Vocative orichalcum orichalca


  • English: orichalcum
  • French: orichalque
  • Italian: oricalco


  • orichalcum in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • orichalcum in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • orichalcum in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré Latin-Français, Hachette
  • orichalcum in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898) Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • orichalcum in William Smith et al., editor (1890) A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, London: William Wayte. G. E. Marindin