warlock

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

  • warluck (uncommon, chiefly dialectal, largely obsolete)
  • warlow (obsolete)

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English warloghe, warlowe, warloȝe, from Old English wǣrloga (traitor, deceiver, literally truce-breaker), from wǣr (covenant, truce, pact, promise) (from Proto-Indo-European *wēr- (true); compare veritable) + loga (liar), from Proto-Germanic *lugô, related to Old English lēogan (whence English lie). The hard -ck ending originated in Scottish and Northern English, like the sense "male magic-user" (from the notion that such men were in league with the Devil). Cognate with Old High German wārlogo (truce-breaker, traitor).

A few writers have alternatively proposed that the word derives from Old Norse varðlokkur (caller of spirits),[1] but as the OED notes, this is implausible due to the extreme rarity of the Norse word and the fact that forms without hard -k, which are consistent with the Old English etymology (“traitor”), are attested earlier than forms with -k[2] (and forms with -ð- are not attested).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

warlock (plural warlocks)

  1. A male magic-user; a male witch.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Because of its etymology, the term is not much used by male witches themselves, who often identify as witches instead.[3][4][5]

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

Anagrams[edit]


Scots[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English warloghe, warlowe, warloȝe, from Old English wǣrloga (traitor, deceiver, literally truce-breaker), from wǣr (covenant, truce, pact, promise) (from Proto-Indo-European *wēr- (true); compare veritable) + loga (liar), from Proto-Germanic *lugô, related to Old English lēogan (whence English lie).

Adjective[edit]

warlock (not comparable)

  1. (frequently attributive) bewitched, magical, supernatural; malevolent, mischievous

Noun[edit]

warlock (plural warlocks)

  1. warlock; one who is thought to be in league with the powers of darkness and to have supernatural knowledge and means of bewitching and harming others
    • 1730, Edward Burt, Letters from a Gentleman in the North of Scotland:
      He was himself a warlock, or wizard, which they knew by his taking the witch's part.
  2. (derogatory) an old, ugly or misanthropic man; a mischievous or troublesome fellow

Derived terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]