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warlock

Printable Version Pronunciation: wawr-lahk Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: A male witch, sorcerer, wizard, or demon.

Notes: Here is a word you don't hear every day. Witch is used often enough as an insult to women, but the male variant of witch doesn't carry the same pejorative connotation as witch. The abstract noun expressing what warlocks are up to is warlockry "male witchcraft".

In Play: As suggested before, warlock is not a word you meet every day, unless you play video games; even there, warlocks are usually referred to as "wizards": "Warren is a warlock in Dungeons and Dragons and wields a mean Eldritch Blast." Elsewhere you would have to see real magic to think of warlocks: "Damian blew into the door lock, and the door opened as though he were a warlock!" (Well, it does rhyme with door lock.)

Word History: Today's word was warloghe in Middle English, from Old English wærloga "oath-breaker", comprising wær "pledge, oath" + -loga "liar", from leogan "to lie". Wær comes from Proto-Indo-European wer-o- "true, faithful" that we see in Latin verus "true", and Russian vera "belief, faith" and the feminine name Vera, which somehow found its way into English. On its own, it came through the old Germanic languages to English as very. The same word that turned up in Old English as leogan (Modern English lie "to tell an untruth"), retained the G in German lügen and Russian lgat', both meaning "to lie". (It's time now to thank Sara Goldman, whose witchcraft is coming up with verbs like today's magical Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword, alphaDictionary.com

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