my guess is that during the time of the early, late and dark middle-ages...a lone traveller was accosted by an ugly hooligan and upon seeing said hooligan that he was so traumatized by his ugliness that the first words he said were an exasperation that went something like this:
and yet he lived to tell that tale and those listening may have mistaken his feared expression as a name for such a hideous beast...
(Free translation of some passages of one of Tolkien's letters to Naomi Mitchison ... #144 )
As far as I am concerned, the word is originally derived from old english "orc" (="demon"), but only because of its phonetic suitability.
(something about the orcs being based on the goblins of traditional stories, especially in George MacDonald's works... but he clearly states that orcs are his own invention)
(Elsewhere he says something about the name being used because of its similarity to sindarin orch (derived from PE *‘ROK))
(to be continued tomorrow g2g... I actually totally forgot what I wanted to say with this post )
__________________ Life is complex: it has both real and imaginary components.
In Tolkien works, the only differance I really found was that Orcs are usually used for the Orc-breed that walk abroad, and the Goblin-breed are usually referred to when talking about Orcs in the Mountains.
I know tolkien didn't invent elves they are from Norse mythology. They also had both normal elves and dark elves, though that isn't really relevant it's just something he used. But I don't know about orcs. It really does piss me off though that now in every other book or movie they are the terrifying monsters that the bad guys seem to have thousands of.(Seriously fantasy writers, I know that some of you are reading this, try coming up with a premice that isn't a complete rip-off. )
If I remember rightly, William Blake invented the word 'Orc' in the Book Of Urizen. I believe it was played upon as a positive creature by Blake, as it was free of inhibitions, yet it was still monstrous to look at.
"All morons hate it when you call them a moron." - Holden Caulfield