Ogres were monstrous and destructive creatures of legend and folklore. In fact, it is doubtful whether Ogres ever existed in Middle-earth. Tolkien mentions them only once, in The Hobbit, during Bilbo's Riddle-game with Gollum. In his attempt to solve Gollum's fifth riddle, Bilbo '...sat in the dark thinking of all the horrible names of all the giants and ogres he had ever heard told of in tales...' Since no ogre is ever again mentioned in the works on Middle-earth that Tolkien published during his lifetime, it is entirely possible that they were a mythical race even to the inhabitants of Middle-earth. It is also possible that Ogre is just another name for the Trolls, as is true in many mythologies.
Ogres were used by J.R.R. Tolkien in early drafts of Middle-earth as a name for one of the monsters bred by Melkor. In posthumous publications, ogres appear in:
- The Creatures of the Earth, J.R.R. Tolkien (published in Parma Eldalamberon, issue 14): "Hongwir (Ogres of the north) and Sarqindi (Ogres of the south): cannibal giants of lesser size."
- The Book of Lost Tales Part 1: "Úvanimor [bred by Melkor] who are monsters, giants, and ogres"
Another mention (of much later date) of ogres by Tolkien is in his analysis of the name Ettendales in Guide to the Names in The Lord of the Rings: "This is meant to be a Common Speech (not Elvish) name, though it contains an obsolete element eten 'troll, ogre'."