Is this true - Found conflicting info

I found conflicting information on this… @Francisco do you know?

Warlock is considered a bad word in Wicca, and Witch is used as a gender neutral term. The etymology of Warock can be traced back to the Old English word, wǣrloga, which means Oath-breaker or Deceiver.


I wondered the same thing at one point but gave up because of the same reason… too much conflicting information!! :sweat_smile:

The Oxford dictionary says it comes from Old English wǣrloga meaning ‘traitor, scoundrel, monster’.

I found an account by someone who went deeper into researching it. Nicholas Johnson on Medium.

In short, he says that Warlock became a synonymous with ‘magician’ or ‘sorcerer’ or ‘male witch’ after the emergence of Hollywood and pop culture.


Before that, Christian authors used the word and meant a traitor to Christianity or to Jesus. ✞

Another version says that it simply means oath-bound, one who has taken a sacred oath of service or one who officiates over sacred oaths such as weddings. Incidentally this is the same etymology from which we get wedlock.

Yet another Old Norse source could be Varth-Lokkr, (one who locks or enclose) meaning someone who binds spirits.

In summary, there’s no straight answer. The word “witch” is gender neutral and has been as long as it has been in the English language. So that’s good enough for me!


you must remember the that once upon a time, witches were traditionally only female. When it became known that men were performing the same rituals as women, the biblical term of “oath-breaker, deceiver” became the call-name of male practitioners of the craft. In those days men were considered the head of all families and society as a whole, women were nothing more than chattel or property. So society simply transferred the name for Judas (a purported traitor) to those men to incur a stigma since the “witch” as most frequently known as a female.
Bottom line,is it is all based on the times and societal norms of those eras.


Very interesting to see how the terms developed over time! :astonished: Words and languages are fascinating for having different meanings depending on the period or even just different regions/cultures within a time period!

It makes me wonder what words we use now that will have totally different meanings or contexts in the future :crystal_ball::grin: