warlock

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English[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). The ending in -ck 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 -k, consistent with the expected Old English etymology, are attested earlier than forms with -k.[2]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

warlock ‎(plural warlocks)

  1. A male magic-user; a male witch.
  2. (Can we verify(+) this sense?) A traitor or oath-breaker.
  3. (Can we verify(+) this sense?) The Devil, Satan; a demon.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Because of its etymology, the term is rarely used by male pagans themselves, who identify as witches instead.[3][4][5]

Translations[edit]

References[edit]