What is the female equivalent of a "warlock"? It seems that other male-only words for paranormal practitioners have female equivalents:

  • 2
    Certainly in common use witches and warlocks are considered to be the female and male counterparts of each other. This has been kind of "common knowledge" for 30-40 years, at least. But of course there are dozens of different schemes for classifying mystical individuals (many created in the past 10-15 years), and so there are no doubt other categorizations that claim "warlock" as well.
    – Hot Licks
    Oct 22, 2015 at 18:03
  • 2
    A wizard is not necessarily male, and a witch is not necessarily female. Even in contexts where these terms are gender-restricted, there is no guarantee that they are considered equivalent: often they are depicted rather differently.
    – herisson
    Jun 4, 2016 at 5:58
  • And in some circles, warlock has the connotation of one who operates outside of normal conventions, or with less restraint than most.
    – Davo
    Jun 14, 2017 at 13:14

2 Answers 2


According to the Merriam Dictionary, Warlock is the equivalent to a witch.

Also, the e-Study Guide for Rock and Roll: A Social History by Paul Friedlander traces the word back to an Old English origin where the word meant "oathbreaker" or "deceiver", but Early Modern Scots popularized a new meaning of the word which was the male equivalent of witch.

The book also states that 'Witch' can be used for either male or females but it is more often used for females, but this means that technically you could use Warlock for females.

  • 1
    So what is the female equivalent of "wizard" then?
    – terminex9
    Oct 22, 2015 at 18:35
  • 5
    There isn't a female equivalent. The word wizard simply means a person who is skilled in magic. Thus, a female could potentially carry the title wizard. Oct 22, 2015 at 18:39
  • Indeed. My upvote.
    – user140086
    Oct 22, 2015 at 19:37

Male/Female Gender Specific/Restricted

  1. Warlock/Witch
  2. Sorcerer/Sorceress
  3. Enchanter/Enchantress
  4. Priest/Priestess
  5. Master/Mistress
  6. King/Queen
  7. Lord/Lady
  8. Wizard/Wizardess

Generics/Gender Neutrals

  1. Elder: Old Scandinavian Language roots; Literally "Old One" from Uldor and related later variations.

  2. Philosopher: Greek for Lover of wisdom

  3. Doctor: Latin for Teacher.

  4. Scientist: Coined by William Whewell; Cambridge University, to replace other terms such as Natural Philosopher in 1834.

The female equivalent/counterpart of a Warlock is a Witch. This is demonstrated in such sources as John Dryden, who was an English poet, literary critic, translator, and playwright in the 1600's.

  1. He is the source of the later erroneous claims that Warlock and Witch are Scottish terms alone or come from Scottish dialects. From a quote that comes about in 1673:

Warluck (how John Dryden in the 1600's spelled Warlock) in Scotland is applied to a man whom the vulgar suppose to be conversant with spirits, as a woman who carries on the same commerce is called a witch:

Confirmation can be found in the 1755 C.E. Original Edition "A Dictionary of the English Language" Page 2243. Its also cited in the Scottish Dictionaries.

Older references for both including but not limited to such as how the words come from Old Saxon from the 800's and earlier. Basic Etymology is easy to figure out if you can set aside modern nonsense.

The origin of the masculine word Warlock is a combination of two words old forms of Wâr, also spelled Wer and Vir meaning man; as in a male being, with Lok also spelled luk meaning bind, braid, tie and fasten.

In short, Warlock means a Binding Man and was used to gloss words like Exorcist. from all the old sources it becomes clear a Warlock was specifically male, and associated with both a judge that officiated over binding oaths and considered a "binder of spirits."

The so called "Oath Breaker" claims are distortions based on glossed definitions by association, not meaning; hence such dictionaries as the OED and Merriam Dictionary.

This was a reference to the word Warlog which was pronounced and later spelled Warlow. Again War means Man and Log in this case is the word meaning Law. So it means Law Man. It was used as a reference to the Pharisees in the Heliand (830-840 C.E.). The plural of the word was Warlogan, only later reduced as a plural under the form of Warloga.

(cross reference the word Byrloga meaning Town (Byre) Laws (loga) as the source of our modern word Bylaws).

This is simply a case of taking a native language meaning, and applying it to a foreign title and then defining it by such associations with either the previous or the former.

Witch is from Vetch, also spelled Veche and Wecha from the earlier form of Wicc (pronounced Wech) and Vikka, having ultimately the same sense of binding, braiding, tying and fastening. Others associated it as Slavic Veche meaning council and speak wile some also associate it with the same root of the words Watch and Witness from Wacc (pronounced Watch) and Witna.

As Wicc is used in Old English, it was a singular in Old Saxon, while the plural form was Wiccan only later reduced to Wicca as a plural. Because of its association with meaning a speaker or spokeswoman, it became used as a gloss for an Oracle as it would then have the same sense of speaking.

Wicce/Wicca are still feminine words in Old Saxon. Its a dialectical factors when there is variations and also simple scribal errors of the past.

The source of the claim that "wicce is feminine and wicca is masculine only came about by speculation of such writers as by Lewis Spence (1920) and demonstrated ignorance of several word sources in his books, such as 'An Encyclopaedia of Occultism.'

The word Wizard is a late addition to this mix. Wizard as Wise-ard was a reduction of the word Wisan-ard meaning Wise One's Art. It was created as a term for a philosophy/alchemist (Medieval Scientists). It came to be used increasingly as a gloss word for Mage (Sage) as Wizardry was used as a gloss for Magic (religion and arts of the Magi).

It is not till well after the 1700's C.E. we see most of the random misnomers and definitions by associations occurring the most. You have to to always cross reference all references and those references to be certain of the accuracy or errors.

Treating the OED for example as being the final "authority" is not doing proper research. doing a 5 minute search and thinking its good enough is not good enough.

Some reference sources should also include for you research such as:

  1. The Heliand: Usually called an epic poem in Old Saxon, written in the first half of the 9th century (830-840). It is in reality a Catholic Alagory pertaining to the New Testament. It is a derived from Old Saxon helian meaning healing, and thus the spelling in question means healer, not savior. Such simple discrepancies are indicative of not rendering something as it means but as one who did these translations chose to willfully reapply to suit their own preferences. a. Its importance is simple. In it we have the word often claimed to be the source or Warlock in the form of Warlogan. b. The meaning of Warlogan is a plural of Warlog (War = man, and Log =Law) thus lawmen and law man. c. The plural as Waerloga only occurs after the 14th century but the spelling of Warlock as Verlok, Varlok, Werloc, etc. occur in the same period the Heliand and later written works were being composed. d. From the Sagas of Iceland to works in Old Danish and Dutch which include authors such as Saxo Grammaticus of the 1100’s. e. This is reinforced by such as the modern work German Literature Between Faiths, edited by Peter Meister. It is confirmed by this source also that Warlogan is a plural, means Lawmen, and was applied to the members of the Sanhedrin as a gloss for titles such as Pharisees and Sadducees.
  2. Beowulf: Literally Bee Hunter as a term for a Bear. Its value is many concepts are expressed and pronunciation through taking a course in Old Saxon can teach one how such was pronounced properly. a. Its importance is because it retains examples of many of the old practices of the times and terms like Wyrda, Wyrd, Log, Logan, etc. Learning the proper meaning of these then allows one to challenge the usual nonsense of obvious bad interpretations meant to mislead later readers. b. No one knows for certain the date of its creation, only that it references locations that were known as early as the 500 C.E. and believed to have been written down at least by the 700’s though many conclude it was done at a much later date, causing the date to usually be wrote as between 700-1000 C.E.
  3. Domboc by King Alfred: Domboc Means Doom Book. Doom in this sense means Judgment as it is a collection of law codes. a. Written in 893, some 50 to 60 years later than the Heliand, it is where we see the first spelling of Witch as Wicc for the singular, Wiccan for the plural, and its references are to Old Latin terms and concepts, since Wicc was taken from Old Latin Vica meaning to speak, and so was applied in the sense of female Oracles.
  4. Homilies of Aelfric: Also written in the 10th century here we see the word for witches as a plural continued as a female title exclusively. It’s in a line that has such as: a. Ne sceal se cristena befrinan tha fulan wiccan be his gesundfulnysse: translated literally as “no shall the Christian befriend the foul witches by his “sound-fullness.” It is usually and falsely translated to become misleading as “A Christian should not consult foul witches concerning his prosperity.” b. Translators can be extremely lazy at times. Sound fullness is a term meaning what we might say today as clear intention or doing something fully aware of what they are doing as in being of “sound mind.”

Added update:

Wicc (pronounced Wech) is often confused with Wic that comes from Wik as in Old Norse Vik and is were we get our word Week. The plural of Wic is Wican for Weeks. This means move/travel. When Wican pronounced Week'an was applied to people it meant movers and travels. it basically was applied to nomadic and semi-nomadic people as well as their once known former camp ground (Wiks) and why this also comes up in various names for towns and villages in Europe.

Wicc has its roots also in Old Latin Vica also being the source Old Slavic Veche (Veech) where it retained the meaning to speak, talk, tell, call and councilor, because Vica in Latin is pronounced as "Vi-cha" which is often used as a term for a representative or mediator (in the feminine originally) demonstrated in the word Vicar, one who speaks on behalf of another.

The Oracle of Delphi being female is also at times glossed as a Witch because oracle and witch both have to do with speaking and mediating.

Compare how linguistically Lucifer in English is applied with the form lucifer with a small L when Catholic Priests during mass refer to the Christ as the bringer of light to the world. Lucifer is pronounced Loo-chee-fer).

With Warlock from Warlog it also has shared roots in Old Latin in Vir-lex (veer-lex) and also means lawman or as Vir-lexi "man of laws."

  • 1
    What are the references for this answer?
    – herisson
    Aug 17, 2016 at 3:33
  • Couldn't be more correct to me!
    – user190075
    Aug 17, 2016 at 4:28
  • You might want to be careful with some of you 'equivalences', master and mistress while being technically equal, have completely different connotations and now-a-days people would use master in referring to a woman. Also, the Victorians did occasionally use the word philosophress. Aug 17, 2016 at 8:36
  • Your only compliant is about "now-a-days" ? I reject your statement on the factor that you .factually have nothing that presents a real issue. Master and Mistress are not "Technically Equal" they are Equal. You are using reference to slang based in sexual relations of a Mistress referring to extra marital female lover of a married man, I would suggest you look into the cause for it being used. Otherwise you have nothing substantial to demonstrate anything I presented s erroneous. Cheers. Jun 28, 2017 at 12:23

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