From Middle English warloghe, warlowe, warloȝe, from Old English wǣrloga (“traitor, deceiver”, literally “truce-breaker”), from wǣr (“covenant, truce, pact, promise”) (from Proto-Indo-European *wēr- (“true”); compare veritable) + loga (“liar”), from Proto-Germanic *lugô, related to Old English lēogan (whence English lie). The ending in -ck originated in Scottish and Northern English, like the sense "male magic-user" (from the notion that such men were in league with the Devil). Cognate with Old High German wārlogo (“truce-breaker, traitor”).
A few writers have alternatively proposed that the word derives from Old Norse varðlokkur (“caller of spirits”), but as the OED notes, this is implausible due to the extreme rarity of the Norse word and the fact that forms without -k, consistent with the expected Old English etymology, are attested earlier than forms with -k.
warlock (plural warlocks)
- A male magic-user; a male witch.
- (Can we verify(+) this sense?) A traitor or oath-breaker.
- (Can we verify(+) this sense?) The Devil, Satan; a demon.
- Because of its etymology, the term is rarely used by male pagans themselves, who identify as witches instead.