Orcish (called Orc in the pre-WoW Warcraft RPG books) is the primary language of the orcs and is used throughout the Horde faction. All Horde characters understand Orcish speech, even without explicit lore reasons (such as the Forsaken and the blood elves). Orcish is written using a combination of Common alphabet and runes.
Orcish is a coarser language than Common, and many words lack the subtlety of Common. Orcs rely on context, repetition and volume to add emphasis or meaning. There are many orc dialects, examples include one spoken by the majority of the Horde, and another by orcs living near Durnholde. Even separate tribes had variations of dialect that differed so much that orcs could not understand each other unless they spoke the common tongue. The main form of the Orcish language used by all the tribes is known as common Orcish.
Orcish Primer (official translations)
Here are a few common orcish phrases and words, for which the translations have been officially confirmed by Blizzard:
- "Aka'Magosh" = "A blessing on you and yours" ( A greeting.)
- "Bin mog g'thazag cha" = "I will protect you"
- "Dabu" = "I obey"
- "Dae'mon" = "Twisted soul" ; appears to be used in the same way as Man'ari in Draenei.
- "Dranosh" = "Heart of Draenor"
- "Gar'mak" = "Anguish"
- "Gol'Kosh" = "By my axe"
- "Grombolar" = "Bowels of the giant"
- "Grommash" = "The Giant's Heart" 
- "Kagh!" = "Run!" /
- "Lak'tuk" = "Suffering"
- "Lo'Gosh" = "Ghost Wolf"
- "Lohn'goron" = "Hero's Sojourn" 
- "Lok-Narash" = "Arm yourselves"
- "Lok-Regar" = "Ready for orders" 
- "Lok'tar!" = "Victory!" (A war cry. Also a greeting while in combat.)
- "Lok'tar ogar" = "Victory or death" (A war cry) 
- "Lok'amon" = Traditional orcish song sung about starting a family.
- "Lok'tra" = Traditional orcish song sung about a battle.
- "Lok'vadnod" = Traditional orcish song sung about the life of a hero.
- "Mag'har" = "Uncorrupted" , brown-skinned orcs based in Garadar in Nagrand.
- "Mok'nathal" = "The Sons of Nath" (honorable title)
- "Nagrand" = "Land of Winds"
- "Oshu'Gun" = "Mountain of Spirits"
- "Swobu" = "As you command"
- "Throm-Ka" = "Well met" (A greeting.)
- "Trk'hsk" = "Bloodshed in battle" (some orcs in the Durnholde area use the word with a different meaning, namely "that sacrificed to the earth" in order to make crops grow.)
- "Zug-zug" or "Zug zug" = Acknowledgment and agreement; roughly the equivalent of "okay".
Most orcish names derive from words in their language that have some complex meaning or hidden significance to their families. Typically, this is the name of a favorite thing or relative. Family names don't exist; most orcs have last names related to some great deed of heroism or honor. However, in the case of truly incredible deeds, an orc might take on the last name of his father to ensure that the chronicle of that terrific deed lives on. The concept of honor is seen in every level of orc society, even in their naming practices. An orc’s first name is given early in life, often derived from a family name or the name of a great hero. The tribe bestows the second name after the orc reaches maturity, this name based upon some great deed. Such a practice gives rise to surnames such as Doomhammer, Elfkicker, Foe-ender, Skullsplitter, Thumper, and the like. This second name may be changed if a new one seems more appropriate.
- Male Names: Grom, Thrum, Drog, Gorrum, Harg, Thurg, Karg.
- Female Names: Groma, Hargu, Igrim, Agra, Dragga, Grima.
- Family Names: Doomhammer, Deadeye, Forebinder, Elfkiller, Skullsplitter, Axeripper, Tearshorn, Fistcrusher.
Untranslated Orcish phrases
- Gor'gaz - Fel orc camp in Hellfire Peninsula.
- Grangol'var - Shadow Council village in Terokkar Forest.
- Grom'gol - Horde camp in Stranglethorn Vale. Probably means "Giant's Axe" or "Giant Axe."
- Gor-dook - Warcraft II (phonetic spelling)
- Kor'kron - Thrall's elite guard, possibly means "Sons of the Horde".
- Kosh'harg - An orcish celebration.
- Mak'gora - Said by Garrosh Hellscream, believed to be a challenge.
- Mok'ra - "Greetings!." Or "Hello."
- Mok-thorin ka! - said by Commander Kolurg
- Mor'shan - Warsong Gulch base camp in the Barrens.
- Om'riggor - Orcish rite of adulthood.
- Valormok - Horde camp in Azshara.
- Zeth'Gor - Fel orc fort in Hellfire Peninsula.
- Zeth'kur - Former orcish port town.
- Zoram'gar - Horde camp in eastern Ashenvale. This may also be Zandali.
- Lok-regar ogull, on-dabu - Warcraft III (phonetic spelling)
Note that many orc locations are directly named for prominent orcs, including Bladefist Bay, Durotar, Garadar, Grommash Hold, Kargath, Kargathia Keep, Orgrimmar, and Thrallmar. Further, it can be noted that -ar or -mar seems to be a frequent suffix to denote a place named for another orc.
Orcish / Common Dictionary
- BUR - An aggressively passionate mating call.
- What can I do fer ye? - Beer sold here.
- Hi - A threatening war cry, especially when accompanied by a wave or bow.
- How are you? - Was your mother really a reptile?
- King's Honor, friend! - I'm starving!
Sample Words or Phrases (speculation)
This is the list of words created by the in-game language parser for the Orcish language, and is listed as language number one (word range 1-100) in the Language text file.
Note: The language algorithm used by the in-game "translator" merely makes the words look like Orcish. It does not actually translate words. Therefore, translated in-game speech isn't true Orcish.
|Number of letters in word||Word List|
|One-letter words||A, N, G, O, L|
|Two-letter words||Ha, Ko, No, Mu, Ag, Ka, Gi, Il|
|Three-letter words||Lok, Tar, Kaz, Ruk, Kek, Mog, Zug, Gul, Nuk, Aaz, Kil, Ogg|
|Four-letter words||Rega, Nogu, Tago, Uruk, Kagg, Zaga, Grom, Ogar, Gesh, Thok, Dogg, Maka, Maza|
|Five-letter words||Regas, Nogah, Kazum, Magan, No'bu, Golar, Throm, Zugas, Re'ka, No'ku, Ro'th|
|Six-letter words||Thrakk, Revash, Nakazz, Moguna, No'gor, Goth'a, Raznos, Ogerin, Gezzno, Thukad, Makogg, Aaz'no|
|Seven-letter words||Lok'Tar, Gul'rok, Kazreth, Tov'osh, Zil'Nok, Rath'is, Kil'azi|
|Eight-letter words||Throm'ka, Osh'Kava, Gul'nath, Kog'zela, Ragath'a, Zuggossh, Moth'aga|
|Nine-letter words||Tov'nokaz, Osh'kazil, No'throma, Gesh'nuka, Lok'mogul, Lok'bolar, Ruk'ka'ha|
|Ten-letter words||Regasnogah, Kazum'nobu, Throm'bola, Gesh'zugas, Maza'rotha, Ogerin'naz|
|Eleven-letter words||Thrakk'reva, Kaz'goth'no, No'gor'goth, Kil'azi'aga, Zug-zug'ama, Maza'thrakk|
|Twelve-letter words||Lokando'nash, Ul'gammathar, Golgonnashar, Dalggo'mazah|
|Thirteen-letter words||Khaz'rogg'ahn, Moth'kazoroth|
Word list (speculation)
- Grom'gol - Horde camp in Stranglethorn Vale. - Grom being an honor to Grom Hellscream (as well as an Orcish word for "giant"), and Gol probably (based on defined terms in primer) means "By my" or "Axe" so it could be speculated to mean "Grom's Axe", "Giant's Axe", "By Grom" and others.
- "Hall" - Used in the salutation "Thrall Hall!", probably means "honor" or something similar. Theory #2: It has no specific definition in the orcish language, it is instead used as a multi-purpose word that means glory to the horde/leader (Glory through their leader). The only reason it is Thrall Hall is because it flows naturally and is easy to say/remember (Kind of like why we use nicknames), compare the use of Thrall Hall! to Thrall Honor! or Thrall Hail!
- kek = Lol -When a Horde character says "lol" in Orcish, it displays as "kek" to Alliance characters. Since "lol" is used quite often in the game by many players this translation has become widely known, and many fans have accepted "kek" as kind of an official translation of "lol" into Orcish. However there are many other 3-letter combinations that produce the translation "kek"(Ex:It's, Elf, One), and "lol" isn't really a word in the English language, anyway. Kek's origin is from Starcraft's online service. The original version of the game did not support full Korean language, so the closest a Korean player could get to "Hahaha" in Korean was "Kekeke".
- Grommash has been officially translated as Giant's Heart. Grombolar has been officially translated as Bowels of the Giant. From this it can be inferred that Grom means giant, Mash means heart, and Bolar means bowels:
- "Bolar" = "Bowel(s)"
- "Grom" = "Giant"
- "Mash" = "Heart"
Word list (in-game?)
- Kazum = Hello, Smell, Human
- gi = On, Ew
- l = U, I
- ag = It, me
- ogg = You
- magan = Druid
- ragath'a = Alliance
- ruk = Cat, Won
- kil = Die, For
- g = A
- rega = Love
- uruk = Kill
- tago = Suck, Mine
- gezzno = Stupid
- mog = The
- nuk = Bad
- gul = Can
- gesh'zugas = Understand
- hi = Oh
- ha = my
- nakazz = Little
- no'bu = Thats
- zug = She, Her
- mu = He, Hi
- zil'nok = Goodbye
- ko = By, No
- lok = Bye, Run
- tar = Eww, Yes
- golar = Funny
- dogg = Hero
- re'ka = Silly, Dwarf, Night
- ro'th = Gnome, Horde
- kagg = Hate
- zugas = Leave
- noga = Your
- thrAkk = You're
Some more Orcish phrases (speculation)
Although no official translations have been released for them, here are some more Orcish phrases and their rough meanings based on the actions of the units in the RTS games when they say them:
- "Lok-Regar Ogull, On-Dabu." = "Ready for orders."
- "Mog Osh'kazil gul'rok il mog Ro'th zaga maza TOV'OSH" = "The Undercity belongs to the Horde once more! LOK'TAR!"
Orcish surnames are usually derived from great acts or merits a previous ancestor was lauded for, but some exceptional orcs earn their own surnames (Kilrogg Deadeye, Kargath Bladefist), and many prefer to use the names of their fathers (Thrall, Son of Durotan). Only the family leader can hold an eponymous title (For example, there can only be one Doomhammer or Deadeye at a time), and the rest of the clan identify themselves through their line of birth.
Two types of orc names appear to have arisen: two syllables separated by an apostrophe and a simple name shortened from a longer one. The two-syllable ones- Gul'dan, Drak'Thul, Dal'Rend - appear to have initially been only used for spellcaster, but was later exported (Gar'Thok was a Grunt colonel). The second type was highly cultural; only those with powers over the warrior could use their full name, such as Shamans and chieftains, or the orc's personal religious leader. For example Brox's full name was Broxigar, a term which he allowed only Tyrande and Krasus to use. Grom Hellscream's full name was Grommash, which Mannoroth used to address him as demonstration that Hellscream was his. This is very inconsistent, however, most of the known orcish names (such as Durotan, Orgrim, Nazgrel, Kargath) are never documented being used in short forms.
In the warcraft 2 cinematics, orcs randomly says words in orcish like "Moka", "titoo", "glode". These words, however, have never been heard in another blizzard game or translated.
"Orc" as a term defining language, has an apparent connection to DnD derived generic languages, which apparently can be found in DnD rule books.
To a degree, phoenetically some of the words resemble Tolkien's Black Speech, which makes sense, since that language was presumably the foundational influence for the sound of this one. It is, however, generally somewhat less guttural and (to use Tolkien's own adjective for the Black Speech) uncouth.
It also doesn't seem to really be an actual language as such; Blizzard apparently originally invented a few words with an "Orcish" sound to use as acknowledgement phrases when units were clicked on in the earlier Warcraft games, and thus to create consistency, these words were brought over to WoW. The translated vocabulary however is not large, and there is no real formal grammar. The "Orcish" that can be seen apparently being spoken by players in-game is the result of a hash table created by Blizzard, (as mentioned above) and the words produced by it are intentionally meaningless gibberish.
In addition, Orcish holds a certain interesting trait. Adjectives appear to come before nouns, similar to English and other Germanic languages. For example, "Grommash," as seen in the primer above, translates to "Giant's Heart". "Giant's" acts like an adjective, modifiying heart. The word "Grombolar," meaning "Bowels of the giant", shares this trait. This, of course, may vary from word to word like in many primitive languages; if this trait remains consistent with the releases of more words, it may add to a new understanding of the complexity of Orcish culture.