late O.E., from O.N. elgr or O.E. elh, eolh, or possibly M.H.G. elch, all from P.Gmc. *elkh-, related to the general word for "deer" in Gk. and Balto-Slavic, from PIE *ol-/*el- "red, brown" (in animal and tree names) perhaps with reference to the reddish color (cf. Skt. harina- "deer," from hari- "reddish-brown"). Gk. alke and L. alces are Gmc. loan-words. Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks founded N.Y.C. 1868, originally a society of actors and writers.