Black Speech and Orkish

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This page is about the language. For the MP skill, see Black Speech (Skill)

Black Speech and Orkish refer to various languages that are used by creatures in the service of Sauron. These harsh tongues are generally considered very unpleasant to the Free Peoples, and few among them ever learn them.

The Black Speech was devised by Sauron as a common language for all his servants. But this was not to be, for after his defeat in the Second Age this original Black Speech was forgotten by all but the Nazgûl. It survived in a debased form spoken by the Orcs of Mordor, and many Black Speech words remained in the vocabulary of Orcs in the Third Age. Bereft of a Dark Lord's rule, the Orcs splintered into tribes and settlements unfriendly to one another, each with their own variant of Orkish language. Orcs tend to make coarse, rudimentary dialects based on other languages, and despite the common Black Speech origin, these dialects became mutually unintelligible. Thus, Orcs often rely on crudely-spoken Westron for inter-tribal communication.[1]

Some form of Black Speech seems to still be in use in Angmar and Southern Mirkwood, as well as by at least some White Hand Orcs.[2][3][4]

Known Terms

See External Links for many more definitions and details. Note that little of the true Black Speech is known, and these words have varying degrees of authenticity. Different sources may have few words in common, and sometimes give different definitions to those they do share.

akul - frost, ice
áth - dog
balt - marsh, mud
bidroi - revenge
bishúk - moor
blog - blood
bloz - ash
Blogmal - Blood-mountain
búbhosh - great
bugdash - birth name
bugdatish - name-keeper
bugud - name
búrz, bûrz - dark
bûrzum - darkness
dalgum - garbage
dâg - child
dâr - house
dorr - swine
dru, drû - timber, wood (material)
durub - ruler
dush - sorcery
faltor - fane, temple
fashat - village
fil - cave, crack
fra - foot
frûm - spirit
fushaum - camp
gâm - disease, illness
gath - leaf
gazat - dwarf
ghâsh - fire, flame
gijak - blood
Ghâshfra - Fire-foot
Ghâsh-hai - Fire-folk
glob - filth
Globsnaga - Filth-slave
golug - Elf, Noldo
goth - lord, master
Gothbúrz - Dark Lord, the Master
grak - trap
grish - blood
gropor - valley
groth - grey
gûl - wraith
gurz, gúrz - death
hai - folk
hatur - hate
hîsht - ash
hon - look, see, watch
jarn - iron
jug - south
kala, kála - castle, fortress, stronghold
kâm - cleft
karn - red
krah - arm (body part)
Krahjarn - Iron-arm
lata - under
lind - east
lagúrz - broken
laug - dire
lug, lûg - fortress, prison, tower
mal - mountain
maudhul, maudhúl - camp
maufulug - barracks
matum - death
matúrz - dead, mortal
mau - warrior
mokal - marsh
mor - black
mur - door, room
murg - drear, grey
nakh - hand
nar - no, not
narbugud - nameless
nau - end
nink - white
núrzum - wrath
olog - troll (used by the Free Peoples to refer to a new breed of Gorthorog-kind)
Olog-hai - Troll-folk (used to refer to the new breed of Ologs specifically)
ong - iron
Ongbúrz - Dark-iron
porandaum - west
praush - spoil
pûlpum - drum
rashat - skull
ríp - skin
ronk - pit, pool
rukh - horror
sár - bitter
shakatrog - devastate
shâpol - cave
sharkû - old man, Saruman
shâtroful - cave
shakh - lord
shík - scream
skai - exclamation of contempt or disbelief
skoi - fly (insect)
skûm - smell, odour
slaiug, slaug - living
snaga - slave, weaker Orc
stazg - place
târ - high
tark, târk - Dúnadan, Gondorian, Man, Númenórean (used in the Army of Angmar to refer to Men in general)
Tarkríp - Man-flayer
tau - forest
thol - deep (noun)
thrâng - rage
thrug, thrûg - murderer
tum, tûm - smoke
-u - to (preposition)
urro - hate, revulsion
uruk - Orc (especially the kind known to the Free Peoples as Uruks)
Uruk-hai - Orc-folk (used to refer to Uruks specifically)
ushtar - army
utot - town
vadok - death
varg - ridge
vogál - little, upstart
vor, vôr, voraut - north
yûl - -less
zot - lord
zûr - wily


J.R.R. Tolkien translated very few Black Speech words. The only known example of pure Black Speech is the One Ring's inscription, and several translations have been given for a phrase of Third Age Mordor Black Speech. These have inspired fans to expand the lexicon with "neo-Black Speech". Some neo-Black Speech definitions and dictionaries match The Lord of the Rings Online's usage of the language better than others. Some of the words that fit LOTRO's usage are listed on this page.

External Links


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F, "The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age", "Of Other Races"
  2. Chapter 4: Marching Orders
  3. A Shadow on the Camp
  4. Book 2, Chapter 2: An Orc Messenger