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Here is the list of names of orcs with approximate translation (based on “Etymologies” chapter of “The Lost Road and Other Writings”). Sources of the translations is often abbreviated. I saw some similar translations of some names but without any source, so they can be purely speculative, based on some titles/nicknames/etc., such translations are marked with strike-through. Few undoubtful interpretations are marked with bold. Most names of 1st Age orcs are considered to be in Elvish tongues, not in Black Speech, however their form is often not exactly the same as Sindarin/Noldorin/Quenya/Gnomish, so they are either their Westron adaptations or from Orcish dialects. Some names are even given in two variants: Orcish and Elvish/Gnomish. Nûrlâm treats some of Elvish names of evil creatures as Debased Black Speech, e.g. Sindarin word incorporated into Black Speech is “gûl” meaning “necromancy”, but translated together with genuine Black Speech “nazg” as “ring-wraiths” in “Nazgûl”.

Name Description / Occurrence Translation Etymology
Azog orc chieftain in The Hobbit (3rd Age) man-killer (LOS)
Balcmeg The Book of Lost Tales, Fall of Gondolin (1st Age). This name is in “Gnomish”1) language. His Qenya/Eldarin name was Malkamekte heart of evil (PE2) 15, p. 21) “gnomish” language: “(m)bal” (anguish), “balc” (cruel)
Westron “balc” (horrible)
Sindarin “bal” means “might”, “power”
Old English (Anglo-Saxon) “bealu” (evil, bale)
Boldog Orc captain of Angmar, The History of Middle-earth Volume III: The Lays of Beleriand, The Lay of Leithian poem. There were some other chieftain orcs named the same in the 1st Age. Tolkien suppose that it is a title, not the name, or name of all Maiar who became orc-formed torment‑slayer (LR3)),
cruel warrior
bol < Noldorin “baul” < ÑGWAL (torment)

dog < Noldorin “daug” (warrior, soldier)4) < NDAK (slay)
Bolg son of Azog, one of the main antagonists in The Hobbit (3rd Age) strong5)

bloodthirsty (LOS)
possibly a shortened form of Boldog, another version is the word from Mágol language invented by Tolkien but not connected to Middle-Earth and LOTR

could be also from Sindarin “beleg” (great, might, large, big) < Common Eldarin “(M)BEL(EK)” (strong), the same stem from which names Melkor (Mbelekōro) and Belegûr came

less likely could be from Quenya “polda” (big, strong), Early Quenya “poldor” (physical strength, might) < Etym. “POL(OD)” (physically strong)
Gazmog orc of Cirith Ungol (The War of the Ring) replaced by Shagrat hateful mouth

yawning tyrant
? GAS (yawn, gap, hole, mouth)
see Gothmog for “mog”
Ghash orc of Cirith Ungol (Sauron Defeated) replaced by Muzgash in LOTR6) fire BS7) “ghâsh”
Golfimbul orc chieftain from Mount Gram invaded Shire (The Hobbit, 3rd Age) the joke of inventing the game golf by throwing Golfimbul's head into the rabbit's hole.

“fimbul” is Old Norse for “great”

“golf” < ? GÓLOB-, Noldorin golf (branch)
Gorbag orc captain in Minars Morgul (LOTR) killed by Shagrat violent shit or violent torture,
tough shit (LOS),
brain-dung (HG8)),
chosen (EH)
bag is from bagronk from Orc-curse, possibly from WAGH (to stain, soil)

“GOR” means “violence, impetus, haste, vigor” (Etym.)

EH9) “gorb-” (choose) < KIL-², Quenya “cilmë”
Gorgol 1st Age (The History of Middle-earth Volume III: The Lays of Beleriand, The Lay of Leithian poem: Of Beren, son of Barahir & his escape) butcher (HOME III)10),
dreadful sorceror (EK),
violent triumphant
probably from Sindarin “gaur” + “gôl” (dreadful sorceror) (EK), more likely from “gor” + “gûl”, as standard Sindarin translation or “gaur” is “werewolf”

see Gorbag for “gor”

? “gol” possibly from GYEL-, GEL- (the call, triumph) or ÑGOL (wise) which blends with “gor” worse in meaning
Gothmog In LOTR III, The Return of King he was called Lieutenant of Minas Morgul, second in command of Nazgûl, but in Unfinished Tales this character was called Khamûl. In The Silmarillion this name refers to the lord of Balrogs. And in some draft to Silmarillion he is even called a “son of Melkor”. The name is in Sindarin. His name in Primitive Elvish is Gothombauk and Kosomot in Eldarin. In some draft not included in HOME, 3rd age Gothmog was suggested as name of Voice of Sauron, but was changed later. “The List of Names” of LR contradicts with Etymologies chapter and gives translation “Voice of Goth (Morgoth), an Orc-name”, the name Morgoth itself is translated as “mor” = “dark or black”, “Goth” = “Lord or Master” dread oppressor,
dread tyrant,
hateful warrior, strife-and-hatred (early works),
Master's voice (dismissed Orcish translation)
Etym: GOTH (dread, terror),
“MBAW” (oppress, force, compel)

The List of Names: in Orquin11) “goth” means “lord, master” and “mog” is “voice”

BOLT II: “mog” is “hate” in Gnomish, “moko” with same meaning in Qenya (spelled such in early works) and “goth” is “war”

“goth” also may be from “KOT” (enemy) as in Morgoth = “Black Foe”
Grishnákh 12) orc captain of Mordor, slain by Rohirrim (LOTR II) severed hand,
bloody hand (LOS, HG)
? grish < KIRIS, RIS (cut); compare with Sindarin “criss”

? nâkh < NAK (to bite) or MAGH (hand)
Khamûl see Gothmog, the commander in second of the Ringwraiths (Unfinished Tales, part 3, chapter 4). This name is possibly in some mannish language wraith of Khand (EK)

fury's way (HG)
probably from Khand + gûl (EK)

mûl < Quenya “malle” (street, road) < MBAL
Lagduf an orc of Cirith Ungol, killed by Morgul Orcs (LOTR III), gloomy sword, night blade,
knife-breaker (LOS),
breaking? (HG)
< LAG (sword)

? duf < DAB (allow, permit) or DUB (lie heavy), Noldorin “dofn” (gloomy) or DOGH, DÔ,DOMO (night, dark, gloom, faint, dim)
Lug13) Fall of Gondolin (The Book of Lost Tales) snake (PE 15, p. 28 and PE 13, p. 105) see Lugburz, but in BOLT it's possibly from LOK (serpent, dragon) as in “urulóke”
Lugdush an orc of Isengard, slain by Rohirrim (LOTR II) Tower sorcery see Lugburz, Dushgoi
Lughorn an orc of Isengard (LOTR II) tower-wolf,
tower beast (LOS, HG)
see Lugburz

? horn < Doriathrin “garm”, Quenya “harma” (wolf), Etym. “GHARAM”
Mauhúr an orc captain from Isengard (LOTR II) fierce warrior,
brave warrior (LOS),
revenge (HG)
Qenya “mahtar” (warrior) < MAK

Noldorin “hûr” (vigour, fiery spirit) < KHOR
Muzgash orc of Cirith Ungol killed by Morgul Orcs (LOTR III) evening fire,
hot fire (LOS),
hostile one (HG)
from “ghâsh” (fire)

? “muz” < Sindarin “moth”, Qenya “muske” (dusk)
Naglur-Danlo orc of Cirith Ungol (The War of the Ring)
Nûzu orc of Cirith Ungol (The War of the Ring), replaced by Shagram
Orcobal an orc leader in the Fall of Gondolin, not a BS name mighty orc, cruel orc Qenya “orko”, Sindarin “bâl” (divine power), “beleg” (mighty), Gnomish “balc” (cruel), see Balcmeg
Othrod an orc leader in the Fall of Gondolin, The Qenya/Eldarin form of his name was Osorot mountain-like ? OS- (about, around)

ÓROT (mountain)
Radbug an orc of Cirith Ungol killed by Shagrat calling (now) (LOS),
strider (HG)
? bug < Noldorin “baug” (tyrannous, cruel, oppressive) < Etym. “MBAW”
Shagram orc of Cirith Ungol (The War of the Ring) replaced by Shagrat in LOTR
Shagrat an orc captain of Cirith Ungol (LOTR III) demand ransom (LOS),
with intent (HG)
Sharkû the nickname of Saruman amongst the orcs, transformed into Sharkey by Hobbits (LOTR III) old man orcish
Snaga the name of many orcs, actually a rank in hierarchy (WJ) slave,
tied 14)
? SNAR (tie)
? Noldorin (archaic) “māgā” < SMAG (soil, stain)
Ufthak an orc of Cirith Ungol, captured by Shelob (LOTR III) scary face (LOS) uf < UGU (negative prefix), ÚLUG, ÚLGU (horrible, hideous)

thak < THÊ (a look, face)
Uglúk an Uruk-hai captain of Isengard slain by Eomer (LOTR III) frighten everybody (A. Nemirovsky),
slayer of all (LOS)
? Hurrian “ugil” (frighten)
? UGU (negative prefix)
? ÚLUG, ÚLGU (horrible, hideous)
Yagûl15) orc of Minas Morgul (mentioned in Sauron Defeated and The War of the Ring), replaced by Gorbag ? wraith,
grey wraith (HG)
? yag < YA (old) or YAY (mocking, scorn)

gûl is BS as in Nazgûl
Zaglûn orc of Minas Morgul (The War of the Ring), replaced by Yagûl and later by Gorbag ? zag < SAG (bitter, poison)

? lûn < Doriathrin & Ilkorin “luin” (pale), Noldorin “lhûn” (blue) < Etym. “LUG”[2], “LUY”

Sauron is the name in Sindarin. Morgoth is considered also as Sindarin word (a name give to Melkor by Fëanor) with translations “Black Foe” or “Dark Tyrant”. Chapter “The List of Names” of “The Lost Road and Other Writings” states that orcs called him the same but with meaning “Dark Lord”. But more frequently he was referred simply as “Goth” (“Master”). Probably this word was later used for Sauron also, specially when he started the cult of Morgoth and even call himself a “Morgoth returned”.

Table of possible Black Speech roots

So below is the list of possible Black Speech roots and their meaning in alphabetical order:

Word Translation Etymology
bag 1) torture
2) shit, dung, cess
1) Etym. “ÑGWAL” (torment)
2) Etym. “WAGH” (filth)
bal 1) might, (divine) power
2) cruel16)
1) Sindarin
2) see “bol”
bol torment, tormentor, cruel Noldorin “baul” < ÑGWAL (torment), compare with Sindarin “balch”
bug(?) ? Noldorin “baug” (tyrannous, cruel, oppressive) < Etym. “MBAW”
dog slayer, warrior Noldorin “daug” (warrior, soldier) < NDAK (slay)
duf ? gloomy Noldorin “dofn” < DUB
dush sorcery BS < “Dushgoi” < Valarin “dušamanûðân” (marred)
gaz ? mouth GAS (yawn, gap), Qenya “asse” (hole, mouth)
ghâsh17) fire BS < Valarin “igas” (heat) < “Aþâraigas” (appointed heat)
gol 1) ? triumphant
2) ? wise
1) GYEL-, GEL- (the call, triumph)
2) ÑGOL (wise), see gûl
gor(g) 1) violent
2) to butcher
GOR (violence, impetus, haste, vigor)
gorb ? choose KIL-², Quenya “cilmë”
goth 1) enemy, foe
2) dread
3) war
4) Master, Lord
1) KOT
2) GOTH (dread, terror)
3) Gnomish
4) AO, dismissed
gûl wraith BS < “Nazgûl” < Sindarin “gûl” (evil sorcery, necromancy)
< ÑGOL (wise, wisdom), Doriathrin “gôl” (wise, magical), “morgul” (dark sorcery)
in 1970s Tolkien changed his mind and separated ÑGOL (wisdom, lore) » Noldo from ÑGUL (dark, with sinister connotations) » Sindarin “gûl” (see PE 17)
horn ? wolf, beast Quenya “harma” (wolf) < GHARAM
hûr fierce, vigour Noldorin “hûr” (vigour, fiery spirit) < KHOR
lag sword LAG
lug 1) tower
2) snake
1) BS < “Lugbûrz”
2) LOK (serpent, dragon) as in “urulóke”
lûn ? pale, blue Doriathrin & Ilkorin “luin” (pale), Noldorin “lhûn” (blue) < LUG, LUY
mau(h) ? warrior Qenya “mahtar” (warrior) < MAK
mog 1) tyrant, oppressor
2) hateful, hatred
3) voice
1) MBAW (oppress, force, compel)
2) Gnomish “mog” (hate), Qenya “moko” (hate)
3) AO, dismissed
rod ? mountain Sindarin “orod”, “ôr” < ÓROT (mountain)
rog demon Sindarin < Noldorin “raug” < RUK
snaga slave BS
thak ? face THÊ (a look, face)
ug(l) frighten ? Hurrian “ugil” (frighten)
? UGU (negative prefix)
? ÚLUG, ÚLGU (horrible, hideous)
zag ? bitter, poison SAG (bitter, poison)


Black Speech word Translation Source Etymology
golug Noldo elf in AO, in Neo-Black Speech used for all elves UT18) ÑGOLOD, Noldorin “golodh” (one of the wise folk, Gnome19)).
If suffix -ug in “pushdug” means present active participle (“stinking”), then “golug” may be translated as “knowing”
gong “This might be thought to be a name for the Kaukareldar or ‘false-fairies’” (BOLT I, Chapter X: “The History of the Exiled Gnomes according to the earlier outlines”) BOLT I GL “one of a tribe of the Orcs, a goblin”
hai suffix appeared in various nations name, translated as “folk” by Tolkien, however it's not clear why he oppose “Uruk-hai” to regular “orcs” AO and BS, probably from Qenya “hos(se)”; compare with Adûnaic suffix “-lai” with same meaning
nazgûl Ring-wraith(s) LOTR nazg < Valarin “naškad” (ring)

gûl (phantom, shadow of dark magic, necromancer, evil spirit, servant of Sauron) < Sindarin, (evil) knowledge, magic, sorcery, necromancy < ÑGOL, wisdom
oghor Drúedain UT unknown, orcish word (AO); compare with Drúedain's self-name “drughu”
olog20) new breed of trolls tolerable to sunlight, used for all trolls now LOTR, Appendix F BS, possibly from ÚLUG > Ilkorin “olg” (hideous, horrible), “ulgundö” (monster); compare with Sindarin “torog” (troll)
shar(a), shark man, from “sharkû” (old man), a nickname of Saruman among the orcs, but it's not clear whether “shar” means “human” or any “male” person despite the race. Translation appears only in Tolkien's “Guide to the Names in the Lord of the Rings” (published posthumously in book “A Tolkien Compass”, 1975), in LOTR only “Sharkey” is used. LOTR unknown, DBS or orcish word;
compare with Dwarven name of Gandalf “Tharkûn” (Grey man, Staff-man), also spelled “Sharkûn” in WR
tark men of Númenórean descend (i.e. Gondor), often used for all men LOTR, Appendix F DBS or Orkish word, from Quenya “Tarcil” (high-man) < TUR (master, lord, mighty) + KHIL (follow) > Quenya “hildi”, mortal men were called “followers” being awaken after elves
uruk orcs LOTR ÓROK (goblin) > Quenya “orco”, “urco” > Sindarin “orch”
RUK (demon) > Sindarin “urug” (monster)

Other races like Hobbits or Dwarves do not have Black Speech names in Tolkien sources but were invented later by fans (like “gazat” for dwarves). Majority of researchers treat the name “Balrog” as Sindarin. However in chapter “The List of Names” of “The Lost Road and Other Writings” J.R.R. Tolkien states that “Balrog is said to be an Orc-word with no pure Qenya equivalent: 'borrowed Malaroko-'” which contradicts Etymologies chapter of the same book. Later “Malaroko” was replaced with “Valarauko” in Quenya.

Word Translation Etymology
balrog fire demon Sindarin, “Demon of might” from “bal” = (divine) power and “raug” = demon
Noldorin “baul” + “raug”
Etym: ÑGWAL (torment) + RUK (demon) = “cruel demon”


Black Speech Translation Etymology Source
Dushgoi Minas Morgul if it's a translation of Sindarin name, then “dush” = “morgul” = “(dark) sorcery” and “goi” = “minas” = “city, town with citadel or central watch tower”. “Dush” also could be from Valarin “dušamanûðân” (marred) WJ, WR, SD
Lugbúrz21) Barad-dûr from Sindarin “dark tower”, BS “burzum” (darkness), then “bûrz” means “dark” and “lug” means “tower”. In PE 17 Tolkien's translation “fortress, lock-up, prison” is given (spelled “lûg” there, but never so in real drafts for LOTR, only for name “Lûg” of Silmarillion). LOTR

Names like Mordor or Angmar are in Sindarin, not Black Speech.

in early draft Noldor elves were called Gnomes, in timescale of creating languages for Tolkien's world Gnomish precedes any other elvish languages like Quenya and Sindarin
Parma Eldalamberon journal
The Lost Road and Other Writings, Etymologies chapter
primarily about Orcs
The History of The Hobbit, Return to Bag End, p. 710
The Lord of the Rings
Black Speech
Horngoth Orkish
mentioned in the poem as “Gorgol the Butcher”, but this doesn't mean his name translates so, maybe it's his monicker
aka Angband Orcish, AO
also spelled as “Gríshnák” in earlier draft, “Treason of Isengard” (HOME 7)
appears as “lûg” in unedited “Name-list to the Fall of Gondolin”
perfectly fits passive participle suffix -aga
also spelled “Yagool”, see WJ
less likely
spelled also “ghash” and “gash”
Unfinished Tales
Elves were called Gnomes in early works
also spelled “olg” in PM
also spelled without diacritics in WJ
personal_names.txt · Last modified: 2020/12/27 21:53 by morgoth