The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Approximately oo'rch1
Other Names
Yrch is a plural term. The singular form is orch.


About this entry:

  • Updated 21 May 2013
  • This entry is complete


An Elvish name for Orcs

In the Sindarin tongue, the word for an Orc or Goblin was orch. Sindarin formed plurals by systematically changing the vowel-sounds within a word (so, for example, amon 'hill', became emyn 'hills'; orod 'mountain' became ered 'mountains', and so on). The same rule applied to orch, so yrch represents the plural: 'Orcs'. By the end of the Third Age Sindarin was the language generally used by Elves of Silvan as well as Sindarin origin, and we hear the word yrch being used by Elves from both the major lands of the Silvan Elves, Lórien and the Woodland Realm of Mirkwood.



The 'ch' here should be pronounced as in German, so that the word ends with the same sound as Bach, rather than torch.

'oo' is close to the Sindarin vowel sound, but is not exactly correct. Tolkien suggests a sound similar that in the French word lune would match the Elves' pronunciation more closely. Note that in Gondor, 'y' was pronounced differently in Sindarin words, so that a native of that land would pronounce yrch more like 'eerch' than the 'oorch' given above.

For acknowledgements and references, see the Disclaimer & Bibliography page.

Website services kindly sponsored by Axiom Software Ltd.

Original content © copyright Mark Fisher 1998, 2001-2002, 2013. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.