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Uruk runes used to write the Black Speech and other Orcish tongues.

Orcish was a collection of tribal dialects spoken among the Orcs. While the eldest Orcish tongues derived from the language of Angband and Melkorin of Utumno, later Orcish was largely influenced by the Black Speech of Mordor. Other tribal dialects, however, might be closer to Westron or the tongues of the Northrons, Easterlings, and Haradrim.

Written Orcish

While the more civilized and educated (often mannish rather than orcish) upper classes of Mordor or Dol Guldur relied on a mordorian , slightly modified, variant of the Tengwar to write in the Black Speech, in everyday life most orcs and other members of the military class who were literal used "Uruk runes", a number of related but quite distinct, slightly modified variants of the Cirth derived either from the Angerthas Moria or even the older Doriathrin Cirth. A far lesser known script, developed originally among the the goblin-tribes of the north, was the so called "Goblin letters", which were believed to have originally been simple pictograms, later arranged into a proper phonemic alphabet by some unknown goblin-sage or loremaster.

Orcish dialects

  • Bal-gûyâb - Gorgoroth Orcish
  • Cardolandren Orcish - heavily influenced by Dunael.
  • Daumaprap - barter dialect; Westron interspersed with loanwords from the Black speech and Easterling dialects.
  • Gûyûb - Angmarean Orcish
  • Guldur Orcish - closely related to mordorian Orcish, strongly influenced by the Black Speech but with some Rhovanian influence.
  • Ice-Orcish - archaic orcish, still very close to Angbandian-Orcish and Melkian.
  • Isengard dialect - heavily influenced by Dunlandish
  • Yûgflash - Núrnean Orcish
  • Lufûshflash - War-speech
  • Mirkwood Orcish - related to both northern Orcish and Guldur Orcish.
  • Morbeth or Murmog - the Black Speech
  • Mordorin or Zîflash - Mordorean Orcish or Mordor Common Speech, Westron with elements of the Black Speech and Nûradja.
  • Mosh-Gûyâb - middle-orcish or Hill-Orc-dialect.
  • Nalt-Gûyâb - high-orcish, or Mountain-Orc-dialect.
  • Nî-gûyâb - Mordor Orcish
  • Northern Orcish - degenerated Westron with Black Speech and Melkorin influences
  • Ûl-Gûyâb - low-orcish or lowland-orc dialect.

Orcish wordlist

Afûkhaush - Commander
Albai - Elves
ash - one, the one, "He" (reverent term for Sauron)
bag - rank
bag(h) - dung, feces, urine (also used as curse or profanity see "shrak" and "garn")
bagronk - cesspool, dung-pit
Bol - mighty, might
Bolg - wild, cruel
bolwag - curse
bûb - pig, warthog
bûbhosh - pig-guts (literally), great (informal figure of speech or phrase)
Bukra - large claw
Bûrdrasak - Orc liquor
Burgûl - shadow
Burz - black, dark, night
Burzum - darkness
htol- - to copulate with
Dagalush - imp, Orc child
Dog, Daug - soldier
Doraz - gate
Doryabu - adolescent
Drartûl - Sergeant
Dur - land, rule
Durub-atha - master craftsman
Durub - ruler, lord
Dush - sorcery, sorcerer
Dushgoi - Minas Morgûl
Fha, Fla - great
Fimbûl - great, giant, powerful
Foshnu - imp, Child
Gayutar - hunter
Garn - dung, feces (also used as curse or profanity)
Gazat - Dwarf
Ghâsh - fire
gimb - find
Gimba - finder, tracker
Glob - filth, fool
Goi - city
Gol - knowledge
Goll - shout, din
Golug - Noldor
Gong - lesser goblin
Gor, Gur - horrible
Goth - Master, Lord, Morgoth
Gothmog - voice of the Master
Gothsnaga - literally "slave lord", leader of a confederation or legion
Gothûl - lieutenant
Gru - female Orc
Gûl - ghost, wraith
Guyub, Guyab - tongue, language
Gurz - death, dead
Hai - tribe, people, race
Hank - broad
Hankshar - an Orcish broad sword
harri - go!
Ho La! - Hi!, Hello
Hoi - shouts
Hrizgthrakî - literally "pain bringer", slave overseer, slave master
Huka - squat
Hûr - master, chief
-i; -ai - Group, Plural ending (some dialects use other plural forms like Sindarin -rim)
Iarn, yarn - iron
Kapûl - goblin
Karg-Kragor - chieftain
Kopak - an Orcish club
Korlash, Korlagz - maw, jaw
Kra, Krah - claw
Kragash - fang, tooth warrior, soldier
Kragashard - Tooth-Sabre, Tooth-Sword
Kragnif - Tooth-Knife
Krag, Kragor - fang
Kri-krishur - chieftain
Krir - slash, slasher, troop leader
Krîtar - leader, Chief
Kû - old, ancient
Kûz - Halberd
Lag - Hill, Mountain
Lak - Bow
Laugash - Priest (lit."Law-one" or "law-man)
Lob - spider
Lug - tower, fortress
Lûgât - Vampire
Lugburz - Barad-dûr
Lurg - squad, pack
mat - die
Mikog - heal, Orc medicine
mog - voice, language
Mur - black
Murdur - Mordor
Nadak - fighter
Nar - not, no
Naz - hill
Nazburz - Dol Guldur
Nazg - ring
Nif, gnif - knife, dagger, blade
Oghor-Hai - Drúedain
Olog - troll
Ong - iron
Ongushar - iron mine
Orgabu - Bodyguard
pushdug - stinking, dung-filth
ra - claw
Rim, Grim, Ri - group, troop (plural Ending)
Rog - fast, guard
Ronk - pit, hole
Ruk, Rog - demon
Rum, Rûm, Grûm - skull
, Shard, Shar - sword, scimitar
Shauruk - literally "dread demon"; Sauron
S(h)aur - dread, terror, abhorrent
Shakhburz - Sauron
ska(r) - green
skara - green claw, wolf
Skara-Gûl - Fell Warg
Shagît - Arrow
Shara - human, man, mortal
Sharog - heal, Orc medicine
shataz - a brute
she - female
Shiruk - sergeant, captain, leaper
shrakh - literally "gathering" or "collection", but commonly used as profanity (though probably meaning "hustle","mass" or "Awkward" or simply "stuff, thing" but not, as often proposed, "dung, feces", except perhaps figuratively speaking)
shurr - urine
skai - gah! (Orcish curse; expression of anger or irritation)
Snaga - slave, lesser Orc
Srûtaru - Captain
straiull - Flintstone
Tark - Dúnadan, man of Gondor
Thrak - to bring, bringer, messenger
Thrug - murderer
Tûtûl - smith
Uglúk - murderer, killer, defeater
Uyâk - troop leader
ûk - all
Ûl - servant
Ûn - death
Uruk - great warrior Orc
Ushar - mine, hole
Wir - star
Warg - great wolf, wolf-demon
ya - when, now
Yîk - "Squeaker";a weak Lesser Orc or Snaga
yoi - boys
Zangur - Obsidian

See also


The few known orcish words suggest that, like the Black Speech, orcish, or at last the most common dialects, did not know the letters c, ch, e, j, q, s (except for the combinatios sk, sh and sn), v and x. C was usually substituted by k, ch by kh, j by y or i, q by ku, v by w or f, and x by ks, though it is not known if this was true for all of it´s dialects, as orcish used to be an umbrella term for a number of pidgins the opposite seems more likely, though the dialects of Mordor, Angmar and Dol Guldur probably were still pretty close to Black speech. It remains unknown if the sound e was omitted or substituted by ai or another syllable, it is also unclear if orcish knew the vowels f and ph or if these were regularly substituted by fh.

A lot of the "neo-orcish" used on this project is based, though often slightly modified, on Lugrekh's excellent "red hand orcish wordlist", which is in itself a compilation of Tolkien, MERP, and orcish from several other sources.