8 Wintry Words to Defrost Your Vocabulary


[awr-kuh] /ˈɔr kə/
the killer whale, Orcinus orca.
1865-70; < New Latin, Latin; see orc Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for orcas
  • This formation allows them to use their powerful flukes to repel the orcas.
  • orcas often use complex hunting strategies to find and subdue their prey.
  • In addition, high intensity navy sonar has become a new source of distress for orcas.
  • orcas have been known to cooperate with humans in the hunting of whales.
  • Small sacrifices could also be given to orcas tobacco was strewn into the sea for them.
British Dictionary definitions for orcas


noun (pl) orcas, orca
a killer whale
Word Origin
C20: Latin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for orcas



"killer whale," introduced as a generic term for the species by 1841, from earlier use in scientific names, from Latin orca "cetacean, a kind of whale." Earlier in English, orc, ork "large whale" (c.1590), from French orque, had been used vaguely of sea monsters (see orc).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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