Word Meanings in Harry Potter
#1
MuggleNotes
From Julia Houston,

Allusions, puns, histories, hidden meanings and backstories to help see just how clever Rowling is when she's writing the Harry Potter books.

Animagus = animal + mage

Avada Kedavra..."abracadabra" meets "I want a cadaver." Also means "may it be destroyed" in Aramaic.

Bellatrix is the Female Warrior star, pale yellow, that makes the left shoulder of Orion.

Boggart is a phonetic rendering of the Irish term "baggart," meaning "threat."

Beauxbatons means "lovely wands" in French.

Cho is Japanese for "butterfly."

Crucio (as in Cruciatus Curse) is a variation on "crucify." Or, if you like, "Crucio" is Latin for "to torture."

Diagon Alley...Diagonally

Draco is Latin for "dragon," or just "snake."

Dumbledore means "Bumblebee" in Old English.

Durmstrang is a play on the German term "sturm und drang," which mean "storm and strife," and has been used to describe gothic and angst-ridden literature and art. It's also the basis of my favorite Broadway musical line ever, from Little Shop of Horrors: "Shang-a-lang, feel the sturm und drang in the air."

Dursley is town near where Rowling was born.

Draw up a chair. Wizards often create chairs from thin air by drawing them with their wands.

Ennervate...remove an "n" and it means "to weaken."

Fawkes, Guy -- organized a futile but well-meaning revolt on the English Parliment Building in 1605 in an attempt to end Catholic persecution.

Floo Powder = flue powder

Grimmuld Place...grim old place

Gilderoy is "gilded king." The name also belongs to a famous handsome highwayman

Hedwig is the patron saint of orphaned children.

Hogsmeade may be a play on "hog's mead." Mead is a type of beer sweatened with honey, and "hogs" may be a reference to Hogwarts.

Knight Bus is a pun for the "night bus," a term for the bus lines that run all night in London.

Knockturn Alley...nocturnally, or "by night."

Luna is a name for the moon, based on the Roman goddess of the moon. It also means "silver" in alchemy.

Lupin is Latin for "wolf."

Malfoy, "bad faith," i.e., maleficus, meaning "evil-doer" and a number of other "mals": malcontent, malodorous, malicious...

Minerva is the spinster goddess of war and/or wisdom, associated with both owls and snakes (the latter on her famous shield). She is associated with reason and purity and stands as a patron of arts, crafts and agriculture.

Mirror of Erised, which is "desire" spelled backwords.

Morsmordre -- put the words together "mors" (death) "modere" (bite) = death biter...death eater.

Mrs. Norris is one of Rowling's favorite Jane Austin characters.

Nagini is based on "naga," meaning "snake" in Sanskrit.

Nicholas Flamel actually existed and is perhaps history's most famous alchemist. He spent his life trying to create the Philosopher's Stone, which, when left in the moonlight with another object, would turn it into gold. Basically, since it could then control the make-up of anything, it would also also unlock motality.

Parseltongue. Okay, this is a bit of a stretch, but to "parse" a sentence means to break it down to its grammatical components -- to split it up. So this is a way of saying "parsed-tongue," or "forked tongue."

Patronus as in "patron," and Latin for "protector."

Parvati is a Hindu Goddess and wife to Hindu God Siva the Destroyer.

Pensieve = "pensive" + "sieve."

Remembrall is a blend of "remember" and "all" as well as "remember" and "ball."

Remus is one of two brothers (the other is Romulus, who eventually killed him) raised by a she-wolf and went on to found Rome.

Ronan is an Irish saint and a term for a "Samurai for hire."

Sibyls are mythological prophets who spoke of the future whether they were asked about it or not.

Sirius is another name for the Dog Star, the brightest star in the heavens. We get the expression "dog days of summer" frlom this star, as it shines brightest in the hot summer months.

Skeeter as in 'skeeter, or "mosquito."

Slytherin...slither in

Umbridge...umbrage. Veritaserum. "Veritas" is Latin for "truth."

Voldemort, a name with quite a bit of meaning. "Mort" = "death," so Lord of Death, Thief of Death, Guard of Death. There's also a medieval legend of the wizard Voldermortist who tried to destroy Merlin by bewitching and bribing others.

Weird Sisters. This name is used to describe the three witches in Macbeth.
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#2
That is very interesting. You must be very smart!Blush
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#3
Nice work. I got a fair few of them and the general gist of several more but there were quite a lot I hadn't picked up on.

thanks!
Bought it. Off a man down the pub. Think he was quite glad to be rid of it t'be honest.
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#4
Quote:Originally posted by SFfilmfan
Ronan is an Irish saint and a term for a "Samurai for hire."


Just to be nit-picky, a samurai would never be "for hire". A "ronin" would be a masterless samurai, one who's master had been killed, died or forced to commit seppuku (ritual suicide). In such a case, generally the samurai would also commit seppuku, or be adopted in by another lord (which was rare). If they did neither of these, they would become masterless, or ronin. They might form a gang, and they might become a mercenary, but they would not be considered samurai.

Samurai means, "to serve". If they serve no one, they are no longer samurai.
All your base are belong to us.

It could be that the purpose of my life is only to serve as a warning to others.
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#5
Quote:Originally posted by SFfilmfan

Knockturn Alley...nocturnally, or "by night."

Mirror of Erised, which is "desire" spelled backwords.

Morsmordre -- put the words together "mors" (death) "modere" (bite) = death biter...death eater.

Sibyls are mythological prophets who spoke of the future whether they were asked about it or not.


Those connections are really interesting, especially the four I quoted above. "Desire" spelled backwards... cool! :tongue:
"Ron," said Hermione in a dignified voice, "You are the most insensitive wart I have ever had the misfortune to meet."
Pg.458-459 OoP
:crown: Weasley is our King! :crown:
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#6
I picked up on most of those... but the ones I hadn't were Diagon Alley/ diagonally and Knockturn Alley/nocturnally. Wow... I had looked up a lot of the Latin and stuff, and I missed those two. Smile
Part the mists and look beyond... there you will find Avalon.
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#7
I liked the Hedwig one... Smile
Steamed Kitties Smile
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#8
Quote:Originally posted by Orangeblossom
I picked up on most of those... but the ones I hadn't were Diagon Alley/ diagonally and Knockturn Alley/nocturnally. Wow... I had looked up a lot of the Latin and stuff, and I missed those two. Smile


I got the diagonally / Diagon alley thing from the first book. Can't believe I never picked up on nocturnally / Knockturn alley afterwards :tongue:


-MagicBumblebee
Bought it. Off a man down the pub. Think he was quite glad to be rid of it t'be honest.
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