The Akashic Record

Being a Compendium of Lore, Onomatology, Miscellanea, and Pareidolia

Relating to the Universe of Harry Potter

With Commentary Esoteric and Exoteric

Compiled by Petréa Mitchell

This is the downloadable form of the Akashic Record. To get the latest version of this reference, go to:

Spoiler level: End of book 3


Abbott, Hannah (PS ch. 7): A Hufflepuff, same year as Harry.

Etym: The Middle English spelling of abbot, just the thing to go along with the Fat Friar.

Abergavenny: A town in Wales where the Knight Bus dropped off a Madam Marsh.

Acid Pops: A magical candy capable of actually burning a hole through one's tongue.

Adalbert Waffling: Etym: No etymology found. Name of a bishop of Hamburg-Bremen, and a Lombard king of Italy.

Adrian Pucey: Etym: From Latin Hadrianus "of the Adriatic", name of an emperor and several popes.

Adventures of Martin Miggs, The Mad Muggle, The: A comic book series that Ron reads.

Agrippa (PS ch. 6): Henrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim, at various times the secretary to Charles V, physician to Louis of Savoy, theologian, military entrepreneur, philosopher, orator, public advocate (discharged for defending an accused witch) and expert on occultism. His De occulta philosophia was one of the biggest influences on the Renaissance concept of magic, particularly Kabalism, and his writings and fame made him a figure in early versions of the Faust legend.

Featured in the Famous Witches and Wizards series of trading cards.

akashic record: A New Age concept derived from Hindu occultism. An alternate dimension or invisible energy in which psychic vibrations of every object and event, past, present, and future, are stored, thus providing a mechanism for clairvoyance. I chose this name because all the good relevant ones were taken, and in the faint hope that perhaps I have managed to make a forward reference.

Alberic Grunnion: Etym: A Germanic name, formed from from oelf "elf" + riic "power".

Albus Dumbledore: Etym: From a root meaning "white". Cognate to Albion, a poetic term for Britain, usually translated as "White Isle".

Algie (PS ch. 7): Neville Longbottom's great-uncle who was forever trying to get Neville's magic to manifest itself.

Etym: Of Norman-French origin, meaning "with whiskers" or "mustaches".

Alicia Spinnet: Etym: Ultimately from Old German athal "noble" + haidu "kind, sort" (the equivalent to Modern English -hood).

Alohomora: Incantation for an unlocking charm.

Etym: Possibly Hawai`ian aloha "hello, goodbye", plus something I can't identify.

Ancient Runes: An elective subject at Hogwarts, which Hermione is taking.

Ancient Runes Made Easy: A book Hermione was reading to prepare for taking Ancient Runes.

Angelina Johnson: Etym: "Little angel"; also a tree of tropical America, a genus of Leguminosae, with showy purple flowers.

Angus Fleet: Etym: As a name, probably from Old Irish AEngus "one choice". Also a breed of cattle, a 9th century saint, and a minor mythical hero.

Animagus: A wizard who can transform at will (along with their clothes and anything they may be carrying) into a characteristic animal form. The Ministry of Magic maintains a registry of Animagi, but unregistered ones abound. Animagi revealed so far are James Potter, Peter Pettigrew, Sirius Black and, the only registered one mentioned here, Professor McGonagall.

Etym: I'm guessing this is not "animal mage" but "spirit mage", from Latin anima.

Anti-Cheating Spell: Used on the quills the Hogwarts student use for their written exams. Probable mechanism: the pen senses when it's about to be used to write information obtained illicitly. Maybe if the student doesn't think they're cheating...

Aparecium: Incantation to be used with a Revealer.

Etym: The closest thing I can find is apertum, Latin for "open, uncovered, accessible".

Apparate: To perform an Apparation.

Apparation: The act of teleporting from one place to another. The grounds of Hogwarts are enchanted to make Apparation impossible there.

Aragog: A giant, intelligent, spiderlike creature raised by Hagrid in his school days. Aragog now lives in the Forbidden Forest with his wife Mosag and their happy brood of scuttling flesh-eating spawn.

Etym: May be related to Gog and Magog, which among other things are the names of two giants in English legend, with ara- for "arachnid".

Argus Filch: Etym: A figure from Greek myth with a hundred eyes, killed by Hermes, after which his eyes were transferred to the tail of the peacock. By extension, a vigilant person.

Argyllshire: A hilly and remote section of Scotland. The Fat Lady hid in a map of it after being attacked by Sirius Black.

Arithmancy: An elective subject at Hogwarts which Hermione is now taking, taught by Professor Vector.

Armando Dippet: Etym: From Old German harja "host, army" + mana "man".

Arsenius Jigger: Etym: Arsenious means "of or relating to arsenic".

Arthur Weasley: Etym: From the name of the legendary king. Various Celtic derivations have been proposed, but most likely from a Roman gens named Artorius.

asphodel: In poetic use, the narcissus; ancient references are to the genus Asphodelus. An ingredient for the Draught of Living Death.

Azkaban: A prison for users of dark magic, staffed by dementors.

Etym: Origin unknown. Invented?


Babbling Curse: Details unknown; Lockhart claimed to have cured a Transylvanian villager of it.

Bagshot, Bathilda (PS ch. 5): Author of A History of Magic.

Etym: A type of ammunition. Looking at this whole name, it appears the history of magic must have been pretty, um, exciting...

Bandon Banshee: Allegedly banished by Gilderoy Lockhart. A banshee is a wailing or singing demonic spirit; Bandon is a town in County Cork, Ireland.

banshee: see Bandon Banshee.

Bane [Banes or Bain]:

Etym: Bunch of choices here: from a nickname meaning "bones"; a Welsh patronymic meaning "anvil"; Gaelic for "white, fair"; Middle English meaning "welcoming, friendly"; or Middle English/Old French meaning "bath". Or perhaps the character name is just from the modern English word.

Baruffio (PS ch. 10): A wizard infamous for misspeaking a charm and conjuring up a buffalo.

Etym: No etymology.

basilisk: A mythical creature supposed to spring from an egg laid by a rooster and incubated by a serpent or toad. Basilisks are usually depicted as snakelike, sometimes with a crown (its name derives from the Greek for "king") and are capable of turning any living thing to stone by looking at them.

The one which had been lurking in the Chamber of Secrets at Hogwarts is additionally in danger from the crowing of roosters, and generates an aura that sends spiders fleeing.

Bathilda Bagshot: Etym: OED has an entry for batilde, an obsolete form of a word meaning "embattled".

Bayliss, Hetty (CoS ch. 5): A Muggle who spotted the flying Ford Anglia.

Etym: From Late Latin baiulus "carrier, porter", cognate to bailiff.

Beater: A member of a Quidditch team who deflects Bludgers away from their teammates (and, ideally, toward the opponents).

beechwood: Various trees of the genus Fagus, all tall, wide-spreading, and preferring temperate climes. The wood is durable under water, and used for cabinetry, tool handles, and shipping containers. Also cultivated as a shade tree.

Beginner's Guide to Transformation, A: The first-year textbook for Transfiguration.

Belch Powder: Something that can be gotten in Hogsmeade, probably from Zonko's Joke Shop.

Bell, Katie (PS ch. 12): A Chaser on the Gryffindor Quidditch team.

Etym: Does in fact come from Middle English for "bell".

Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans: Jellybean-like magical candies of any flavor imaginable... including the ones you don't want to imagine.

bezoar: This term has been applied to various substances believed to be universal antidotes, but most commonly to a concretion formed around foreign matter in the gut of certain ruminants. Originally these were taken from the wild goat and antelope of Persia, which are also known as the bezoar goat and bezoar antelope.

bicorn: A creature from early French and English literature, it subsisted by devouring virtuous husbands. Powdered bicorn horn is one of the ingredients of the Polyjuice Potion.

Bilius (PoA ch. 6): One of Neville's uncles. He died a day after seeing a Grim.

Etym: Probably a variation of bilious.

Bill Weasley [William]:

Etym: From Old German vilja "will" + helma "helmet".

Binky (PoA ch. 8): Lavender Brown's rabbit, killed by a fox.

Binns, (first name unknown): The teacher of the History of Magic classes at Hogwarts, and unusual among history teachers for being as dead as his lectures.

Etym: From the Old English name Binna, of uncertain origin, or a word for an open manger, stall, or hollow place.

Black, Sirius: Harry's godfather, one of James Potter's school friends, imprisoned in Azkaban for killing Peter Pettigrew and twelve Muggles, now escaped and on the run until such time as the authorities can be presented with sufficient evidence that Pettigrew is in fact alive and responsible for the murders. Sirius is also an unregistered Animagus, taking the form of a large black dog.

Etym: Just means black. As a side note, though, some instances of this surname come from Old English blac, the equivalent of French blanc... meaning "white"!

Black Malfoy, Narcissa: Etym: See below.

Blaise Zabini: Etym: Full etymology unknown but cognate to Blasius, the name of the patron saint of wool-workers and sufferers of throat diseases. Once very popular in England, a major wool producer. ECN: "The only relic of the trade in Romsey, Hants (once a wool staple), is an inn called the Bishop Blaise."

Bletchley (PS ch. 11): The Keeper for the Slytherin Quidditch team in Harry's first year.

Blood-Sucking Bugbear: What Hagrid thought might be killing his roosters. A bugbear in popular legend is a monster in the shape of bear said to devour naughty children.

Bloody Baron: The house ghost of Slytherin.

Bludger: A small, hard ball used in Quidditch. Bludgers fly around the field of play attempting to knock players off their brooms.

Etym: Undoubtedly from bludgeon. OED has an entry for bludger, actually, but in the interest of preserving our G rating we must move on.

bluebell fire: A magically conjured blue fire that can be carried around in a jar.

Body-Bind: A curse that paralyzes the target completely. Incantation: Petrificatus Totalus.

boggart: In these books, a creature that assumes the appearance of whatever a person looking at it fears most. Can be banished with a humorous mental image and the incantation Riddikulus.

Bole (PoA ch. 15): A Beater on the Slytherin Quidditch team.

Etym: Something of a cylindrical shape, such as the trunk of a tree or a pillar. As a name, an anglicized form of Ó Baoighill, possibly from words meaning "rash pledge", or derived from the placename Boyville.

Bones, (first names unknown) (PS ch. 4): The last name of a wizard couple killed by Voldemort.

Etym: Derived via Yiddish from Italian bona "good".

Bones, Susan (PS ch. 7): A Hufflepuff, in the same year as Harry.

Etym: See above.

Bonfire Night: November 5th, in England the commemoration of the Gunpowder Plot. Typically involves lots of fireworks.

boomslang: Dispholidus typus.

Boot, Terry (PS ch. 8): A Ravenclaw, the same year as Harry, and a member of Dumbledore's Army.

Etym: From Middle English for "boot" or Dutch for "boat".

Borgin and Burkes: A shop in Knockturn Alley specializing in the ingredients of dark magic; Evil backwards-R Us.

Etym: No info on Borgin, but perhaps it's supposed to sound like Borgia. The name Burke comes from Old High German burg "fortification". A likelier source for the store's name, however, is the 19th-century murderer and grave-robber William Burke.

Borgin, Mr. (CoS ch. 4): One of the founders of Borgin and Burkes, still working there, or else a descendant.

Etym: See above.

Break with a Banshee: One of Gilderoy Lockhart's books.

Brockelhurst, Mandy (PS ch. 8): A Ravenclaw, the same year as Harry.

Etym: Placename, after a wooded hill that was home to badgers. Brock on its own has been a word for various small animals, including badgers.

Broken Balls: When Fortunes Turn Foul: A book on divination at Flourish and Blotts.

brooms: The flying broom is an ancient and venerable mode of wizard transportation, and an indispensable part of Quidditch. Types of brooms include the Cleansweep Five, Cleansweep Seven, Comet Two Sixty, Firebolt, Nimbus Two Thousand, Nimbus Two Thousand and One, Silver Arrow, and Shooting Star.

Brown, Lavender (PS ch. 8): A Gryffindor, the same year as Harry.

Etym: Really means "brown".

Buckbeak: A hippogriff falsely accused of being dangerous, now on the run with Sirius Black.

Etym: Probably invented.

budgie: A small yellow bird, very popular as a pet in Britain at one time, less common these days.

bugbear: see Blood-Sucking Bugbear.

Bulstrode, Millicent (PS ch. 8): A Slytherin, the same year as Harry.

Etym: A place name, from Old English burh "fortress, town" or bula "bull" + strood "brushwood".

Burning Day: The day on which a phoenix renews itself.

Burrow, The: The house of the Weasley family.

butterbeer: A popular drink at the Three Broomsticks.


Cadmus Peverell: Etym: The legendary founder of Thebes. OED also includes Cadmean victory, "a victory involving one's own ruin".

Cadogan, Sir: A knight whose portrait was temporarily moved to guard the Gryffindor dormitory when the Fat Lady was frightened off.

Etym: From the Old Welsh name Cadoc, which is possibly related to a word meaning "battle".

Caput Draconis: The first password to the Gryffindor tower when Harry arrives at Hogwarts.

Etym: Latin for "dragon's head".

Care of Magical Creatures: An elective class at Hogwarts, taught by Professor Kettleburn until Harry's third year, when Hagrid took over. Harry, Ron, and Hermione are all enrolled in it.

Cassandra Vablatsky: Etym: In Greek legend, Cassandra was given the gift of prophecy by the god Apollo, who loved her, and then cursed by him when she rejected him. The curse was that no one would ever believe her predictions.

Cauldron Cakes: A type of wizard candy, probably something akin to a cupcake.

Cedric Diggory: Etym: ECN: "This now not uncommon name seems to have been invented by Sir Walter Scott for one of the characters in Ivanhoe, `Cedric the Saxon'. It was probably a mistake of Scott's for Cerdic, the name of the traditional founder of the West Saxon kingdom." Which may in turn be from the Welsh name Caradawg, meaning "amiable".

Celestina Warbeck: Etym: This was the term for a late-18th-century keyboard instrument developed from the armonica. The word is from Latin caelestis "heavenly".

centaur: A mythical creature with the body of a horse, and the top half of a human attached where the neck would be. Rowling's centaurs are largely peaceful but wish to keep to themselves. A group of them lives in the Forbidden Forest.

Chamber of Secrets: An enormous magical cavern, rumored to have been constructed by Salazar Slytherin, concealed beneath Hogwarts for nearly eight centuries, even when a modern girls' bathroom was built over the entrance, until Tom Riddle figured out how to open it and pin the blame on Hagrid.

Chameleon Ghoul: Mentioned in passing, presumably a type of ghoul with some natural ability to disguise itself.

Chang, Cho: A Ravenclaw, a year ahead of Harry, and Seeker for the Ravenclaw Quidditch team.

Etym: No reliable info.

Charing Cross Road: A major road in London. The Leaky Cauldron is apparently located along or near it.

Charlie Weasley [Charles]:

Etym: From ceorl, Old English for "a man".

Charm to Cure Reluctant Reversers, A: Page 12 of the Handbook of Do-It-Yourself Broomcare.

Charms: One of the basic subjects that all students at Hogwarts have to study, taught by Professor Flitwick. A general term for all sorts of minor spells of instantaneous effect.

Charm Your Own Cheese: One of Molly Weasley's cookbooks.

Chaser: One of the three players on a Quidditch team who pass the Quaffle between them and attempt to throw it through one of the goal hoops. A goal is worth 10 points.

Cheering Charm: A charm to elevate someone's mood.

chipolata: A type of sausage.

Cho Chang: Etym: No reliable info on the meaning of the name. It was the family name of a couple of Korean artists of the Yi dynasty.

Chocoballs: A candy available at Honeydukes.

Chocolate Frogs: A wizard candy, undistinguished except for the line of Famous Witches and Wizards trading cards that come with them.

Christmas pudding: A rich fruit pudding, typically splashed with brandy and set alight just before serving. Hiding a silver coin in it is also traditional.

Chudley Cannons: A professional Quidditch team. Chudley itself appears to be fictional, unless it's an alternate spelling of Chudleigh.

Circe: An enchantress who figures in the Odyssey. She transformed Odysseus's crew into pigs. Featured on a Famous Witches and Wizards trading card.

Cleansweep Five: A type of flying broom.

Cleansweep Seven: A type of flying broom.

Clearwater, Penelope (CoS ch. 14): Percy Weasley's girlfriend, a Ravenclaw prefect.

Etym: Pretty much what it looks like, and like her first name, a symbol of purity. Just the girl for Percy...

Cliodna: A druid featured on a Famous Witches and Wizards trading card.

Cockroach Cluster: A candy available at Honeydukes.

Etym: Likely from a product of the same name mentioned in the Monty Python "Crunchy Frog" sketch (series 1, episode 6).

Cokeworth: Location of the Railview Hotel.

Colin Creevey: Etym: Anglicization of Gaelic Cailean, which may be from coileán, meaning "young dog, youth" and by extension "cadet".

Comet Two Sixty: A brand of flying broom.

Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures: Part of the Ministry of Magic. "Disposal" usually consists of killing the animal.

Committee on Experimental Charms: Part of the Ministry of Magic.

Common Welsh Green: A type of dragon native to the British Isles.

Confundus Charm: A spell that can be used to temporarily make a person believe something they would otherwise disbelieve.

Confusing Concoction: A type of potion Harry had to make for his final exam in his third year.

conk: British slang for "nose".

Cornelius Fudge: Etym: St. Cornelius was pope from 251 to 253, and is noted for taking a liberal attitude toward Christians who had renounced their faith under duress. He was succeeded by St. Lucius.

Cornish pixies: Small electric-blue creatures; not terribly dangerous, although they seem to have a talent for vandalism.

Crabbe, Vincent: One of Draco Malfoy's cronies.

Etym: From a nickname for someone with an odd gait, like a crab, or a cantankerous person, as a shortening of crabapple.

Creevey, Colin: A Gryffindor, a year behind Harry; Harry's first papparazzo.

Etym: Anglicized form of Gaelic Ó Craoibhe, from a name meaning "curly(-headed)" or "prolific". Thomas Creevey (1768-1838) was a politician and placeman, remembered because some of his journals and correspondence were published in 1903 and 1905.

crinolines: Clothing made with crinoline, a stiff fabric made of horsehair that was used primarily in the 19th century. At first it was used in hats and shoes, and later to make dresses, petticoats, and other things as a substitute for stiffened muslin.

Crockford, Doris (PS ch. 5): A particularly effusive fan of Harry's that he met in The Leaky Cauldron.

Etym: From the placename Crockford Bridge; further etymology is uncertain and probably not relevant. Also the name of a London gambling club, and the colloquial designation of a reference work produced by the Anglican Church.

Crookshanks: Hermione's unusually intelligent cat.

Etym: Means "crooked legs".

curses: Spells that injure or impede the target. Some require only a wand and a quick incantation, but stronger ones require the caster to maintain line-of-sight and keep up the incantation for the full time of effect. The terms jinx and hex appear to be equivalent, and are used in curse names for alliterative effect.

Curses and Countercurses: A book seen in Diagon Alley.

Curse of the Bogies: Something Professor Quirrell mentioned in class. Bogie has varied meanings, a lot of them overlapping with boggart.


Daily Prophet: A daily newspaper, the primary news source for most British wizards.

Dark Force Defense League: An organization of which Gilderoy Lockhart is an honorary member.

Dark Forces, The: A Guide to Self-Protection: The first-year textbook for Defense Against the Dark Arts.

Davies (PoA ch. 14): Captain of the Ravenclaw Quidditch team.

Etym: From the Hebrew name David, meaning "beloved". Sarah Emily Davies (1830-1921) was a pioneer in the movement to allow women into colleges, and was the founder of Girton College, Cambridge.

Davy Gudgeon [David]:

Etym: Hebrew, meaning "beloved". St. David is the patron saint of Wales.

Dean Thomas: Etym: From Middle English dene "valley", or deen, a borrowing of a word that ultimately meant "a leader of ten men".

deathday: The date on which a ghost comes into being, or the anniversary of that date. Like a birthday, a cause for celebration.

Death Omens: What to Do When You Know the Worst is Coming: A book in Flourish and Blotts.

Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Wizardry: A law dating from 1875 which disallows student wizards from using magic outside of school.

Dedalus Diggle: Etym: Alternate spelling of Daedalus, of course.

Defense Against the Dark Arts: A required subject for all Hogwarts students, but by far the most hazardous class to teach. Teachers so far:

Harry's first year: Professor Quirrell
Second year: Gilderoy Lockhart
Third year: Remus Lupin (with a bit of substitute teaching from Professor Snape, who is thus the only person we've seen fully survive the job so far)

Deflating Draft: The antidote to a Swelling Solution.

Delaney-Podmore, Sir Patrick (CoS ch. 8): The head of the Headless Hunt.

Etym: Delaney may be from a French root meaning "wool" or "alder grove", or the Gaelic patronymic Ó Dubhshláine, composed of the elements dubh "black" + slán "challenge, defiance".

Podmore is of uncertain origin, possibly from Middle English pod or pad "frog" + more "fen, marsh".

Deletrius: An incantation to banish a summoned creature.

Etym: An alteration of deleterious, maybe.

dementor: A corpselike, possibly undead creature that feeds on emotions, draining away a person's will to live. Usually swathed in a cloak, their faces are seen only by people about to receive a dementor's kiss. Dementors are the guards of Azkaban.

Etym: Invention from demented, as in cause to be.

dementor's kiss: How a dementor sucks out a person's soul, leaving them in a permanent vegetative state.

de Mimsy-Porpington: see Mimsy-Porpington.

Dennis (PS ch. 3): Part of Dudley Dursley's gang.

Etym: Derived from Dionysius, though the exact etymology is uncertain. St. Denis is a patron saint of France, who according to legend was martyred by decapitation. He is portrayed in art as a headless living figure.

Department of Magical Catastrophes: Another arm of the Ministry of Magic.

Derek (PoA ch. 11): A Hogwarts student, two years behind Harry, house unknown.

Derrick (PoA ch. 15): A Beater on the Slytherin Quidditch team.

Etym: Related to Theoderic, "people-rule". As a common noun, from the surname of a noted hangman at Tyburn, circa 1600.

Dervish and Banges: A toy shop in Hogsmeade.

Etym: Dervish is from Arabic darwiish, meaning a member of a Sufi fraternity, and is also used in fantasy to mean a whirling supernatural being. Banges would be an alteration of bangs.

Devil's Snare: A magical plant which grabs hold of anyone within range. (What it plans to do with them next has not been recorded.) It recoils from bright light.

Devon: A region of the UK which is home to the Flamels.

Diagon Alley: A wizard shopping district somewhere in London, accessible from The Leaky Cauldron and the Floo Network. Establishments therein include Eeylops Owl Emporium, Flourish and Blotts, Gringotts, Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions, Gambol and Japes, Florean Fortescue's ice cream parlor, Magical Menagerie, Quality Quidditch Supplies,and Ollivander's.

Diggle, Dedalus: A wizard who, according to Professor McGonagall, "never had much sense". Harry met him at The Leaky Cauldron.

Etym: Probably from the word dighel, meaning secret or obscure, though the proper etymology of the surname is different.

Diggory, Cedric: A Hufflepuff, two years ahead of Harry, the captain and Seeker of the Hufflepuff Quidditch team.

Etym: Goes back to the medieval romance of Sir Degaré, and is probably from French égaré "strayed, lost".

Dippet, Armando (CoS ch. 13): The headmaster of Hogwarts in Tom Riddle's time, probably Dumbledore's immediate predecessor.

Etym: Variation of Theobald, from the Germanic personal name *þeudo "people, race" + bald "bold, brave".

Disarming Charm: A spell that knocks an opponent's wand out of their grip. Incantation: Expelliarmus.

Dissendium: The password to open the secret passage from Hogwarts to Honeydukes.

Etym: Latin, "dissension, discord".

dittany: OED lists a number of possible plants but, for our purposes, probably Origanum dictamnus aka Dictamnus creticus, once alleged to have medicinal virtues.

Divination: An elective subject at Hogwarts, taught, in a loose sense of the word, by Professor Trelawney.

Dobby: A house-elf formerly in the employ of Lucius Malfoy.

Etym: Word for a household sprite or apparition, particularly a brownie. See house-elf for more.

Doris Crockford: Etym: The name of a sea nymph in Greek myth, origin unknown. Noted as a given name only as far back as 1819.

Draco Malfoy: Etym: Latin for "dragon", though the direct source for Mr. Malfoy's name is probably the Athenian ruler who gave us the word draconian.

dragons: Many dragon species are still found in the wild throughout Europe. All appear to be are variations on the typical European dragon, with wings and fiery breath. Specific varieties mentioned so far are the Common Welsh Green, Hebridean Black, and Norwegian Ridgeback.

Although captive dragon breeding is now outlawed, dragons are still useful to wizards in many ways. Their heartstrings are used in wands, their dung is used as compost for magical plants, and Albus Dumbledore alone has invented twelve uses for their blood.

Dragon Breeding for Pleasure and Profit: One of Hagrid's collection of dragon books.

Dragon Keeper's Guide, A: Another of Hagrid's collection of dragon books.

Dragon Species of Great Britain and Ireland: Yet another of Hagrid's collection of dragon books.

Draught of Living Death: An extremely powerful sleeping potion.

Dr. Filibuster's Fabulous Wet-Start, No-Heat Fireworks: Magical fireworks available at Gambol and Japes.

Drooble's Best Blowing Gum: A wizard candy. Probably best to steer clear of it, because...

Etym: One of a number of variations on the French word for "trouble".

Dudley Dursley: Etym: From an Old English placename, composed of the name Dudda + leeah "wood, clearing", and maybe a pun on him being a bit of a dud as a human being.

Dumbledore, Albus: A bowling and chamber music aficionado, a gourmet of candies, and the headmaster of Hogwarts. Has been known to dabble in projects useful to wizard society, such as discovering the 12 current uses for dragon's blood, and defeating the dark wizard Grindelwald. Said to be an ex-Gryffindor.

Etym: Old word for a bumblebee, from dumble "stupid, dull, slow" + dor "insect that makes a loud humming noise".

Dundee: A city in northern Scotland.

Dursley, Dudley: Harry's cousin, a fine young lad who knows how to get the best out of life, at least from people who are swayed by screaming tantrums.

Etym: Stated by Rowling to be from the place name, which for the record is from the Old English given name Deeorsige + leeah "wood, clearing".

Dursley, Marge: Harry's aunt-in-law, Vernon Dursley's sister, dog fancier, occasional babysitter, and dispenser of time-honored wisdom on the subject of breeding.

Etym: See above.

Dursley, Petunia: Harry's aunt, Lily Potter's sister, who selflessly gave up several cubic feet of storage space to house her weird nephew.

Etym: See above.

Dursley, Vernon: A respectable businessman, the director of Grunnings, a doting father, and really not at all to blame for his nephew being a freak.

Etym: See above.


eagle owl: A type of owl found across Eurasia; the largest of the European owls. Draco Malfoy has one.

ebony: Wood from several tree species in the genus Diospyros, favored for its durability, hardness, and ability to take high polish. In India it was used for drinking cups for its supposed ability to neutralize poison. Use these days is mainly decorative.

Eeylops Owl Emporium: A store in Diagon Alley, where Harry got Hedwig.

Elfric the Eager (PS ch. 16): The leader of a notable historical uprising.

Etym: From the Old English words for "elf" and "ruler".

Elixir of Life: A formula that extends the lifespan indefinitely, made possible with a Philosopher's Stone.

Emeric the Evil: Some historical personage who could be confused with Uric the Oddball.

Etym: From an Old German root Im- or Em-, of unknown meaning, + ric "ruler". Also, emerick is an obsolete alternate form of emery.

Emeric Switch: Etym: See above.

Emma Dobbs: Etym: A hypocoristic form of various Old German names combined with ermin/irmin "whole, universal".

Enchantment in Baking: A cookbook in Molly Weasley's collection.

Encyclopedia of Toadstools: A book at Flourish and Blotts.

Engorgement Charm: A spell to increase the size of something.

Enid (PS ch. 7): Neville Longbottom's great-aunt.

Etym: Celtic name of uncertain derivation. In Arthurian legend, the wife of Geraint, noted as an example of long-suffering patience.

Entrancing Enchantments: Not defined explicitly, but would seem to be spells to produce infatuation.

Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi: The inscription on the Mirror of Erised, describing soed ti tahw.

Ernie Macmillan [Ernest] (CoS ch. 11):

Etym: From Old German Ernust "vigor, earnestness".

Ernie Prang [Ernest]:

Etym: See above.

Errol (CoS ch. 3): The Weasleys' owl.

Etym: From Latin errare "to wander". Hints also of Errol Flynn.

Eton: The most exclusive secondary school in England; Justin Finch-Fletchley still picked Hogwarts over it.

Evening Prophet: An evening newspaper, probably an alternate edition of the Daily Prophet.

Expecto Patronum: Incantation to summon a Patronus.

Etym: From Latin exspecto "I expect" (literally "look forward to") and patronus, "patron, defender".

Expelliarmus: The incantation for the Disarming Charm.

Etym: Derived somehow from Latin expellere "drive out, drive away".

Exploding Snap: A wizard card game.


Famous Witches and Wizards: A series of trading cards packaged with Chocolate Frogs. Featured people include Agrippa, Circe, Cliodna, Albus Dumbledore, Nicholas Flamel, Alberic Grunnion, Hengist of Woodcroft, Merlin, Morgana, and Paracelsus.

Fang: Hagrid's dog, a boarhound.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: A first-year textbook. Also available in a Muggle edition.

Fat Friar: The house ghost of Hufflepuff.

Fat Lady: The painting that guards the Gryffindor dormitory.

Fawcett (CoS ch. 12): A Ravenclaw who came to Lockhart's dueling club.

Etym: From the placename Fawcet or Facit, both from Old English fah "(brightly) colored, variegated, flowery" + side "slope".

Fawkes: Dumbledore's phoenix friend, and the donor of the feathers in both Harry's and Voldemort's wands.

Etym: From Guy Fawkes, the mastermind of the Gunpowder Plot.

Ferula: An incantation to conjure up some sort of magical splint.

Etym: Probably from ferrule, a ring or cap put on a shaft to keep it from splitting. Ferula is an actual word, but means an instrument such as a flat piece of wood used to punish children.

Fidelius Charm: A spell that conceals a piece of information inside a living soul-- a Secret-Keeper.

Figg, Mrs. (PS ch. 2): A neighbor of the Dursleys who looks after Harry occasionally.

Etym: The name is properly derived from fig, but my guess is that if there is any meaning to it, Rowling is thinking more along the lines of the surname Figgis, from a nickname for a trustworthy or reliable person.

Filch, Argus: The caretaker of Hogwarts and terror of curfew-breakers-- all the harder for him as he's a Squib.

Etym: Probably just the English word... thus, Argus Filch is on the lookout for all who might steal. (Doesn't do a very good job of it, does he?)

Finch-Fletchley, Justin (PS ch. 7): A Hufflepuff, the same year as Harry.

Etym: Finch means what it looks like, and I've no idea about the other part.

Finite Incantatem: An incantation that halts all ongoing spells in the vicinity.

Etym: Latin, "end spellcasting".

Finnigan, Seamus (PS ch. 7): A Gryffindor, the same year as Harry. His mother was a witch, and didn't tell his Muggle father until after they were married.

Etym: From the Gaelic name Fionn, meaning "white".

Firebolt: The absolutely most advanced broom yet created by modern magical technology.

Firenze: A centaur who lives in the Forbidden Forest.

Etym: The modern Italian name for Florence.

Fizzing Whizbee: A type of wizard candy available at Honeydukes.

Flamel, Nicholas (PS ch. 6): A 665-year-old alchemist and opera lover, a friend of Dumbledore's, and the creator of the only Philosopher's Stone known to be in existence.

Etym: The name of an actual historical alchemist. The Spell Binder has a lengthy article on him.

Flamel, Perenelle (PS ch. 13): Nicholas Flamel's wife, a mere 658 years old.

Fleet, Angus (CoS ch. 5): A Muggle resident of Peebles who spotted Harry and Ron in the flying Ford Anglia.

Etym: As a last name, from Old English fleot "stream, estuary, creek" or Middle English flete "swift".

Fleetwood's High-Finish Handle Polish: Part of Harry's broomstick maintenance kit.

Etym: Fleet... wood... get it?

Flesh-Eating Slug Repellent: Something to keep Flesh-Eating Slugs out of cabbages, apparently.

Fletcher, Mundungus (CoS ch. 3): The target of a raid by the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office.

Etym: An arrowsmith, from Old French fleche "arrow".

Flint, Marcus (PS ch. 11): A Slytherin, five years ahead of Harry. Chaser and captain of the Slytherin Quidditch team during Harry's first year.

Etym: Name for someone who lived near a notable outcrop of flint, or nickname for a hard-hearted individual.

Flitwick: The Charms teacher at Hogwarts, a former dueling champion who has since moved on to the far more exciting and dangerous career of teaching adolescents to handle supernatural forces.

Etym: A town in Bedfordshire; no etymology found, though.

flobberworm: The most uninspiring magical creature in existence. A flobberworm subsists on a diet of lettuce and does nothing else.

Floo powder: A substance that allows one to travel from fireplace to fireplace by throwing some into a fire and speaking the intended destination.

Etym: Probably a pun on flew or flue or both.

Florean Fortescue: Etym: From Latin florianus "flowery, blooming". Florian is the name of a 4th century saint invoked against fire and drought.

Flourish and Blotts: A bookstore in Diagon Alley, the place where Hogwarts students buy their textbooks.

Etym: A flourish, in penmanship, is an added decoration. To blot is to dry wet ink by pressing something absorbent (like a blotting-paper) onto it, to absorb the excess and keep it from smudging. When writing with a fountain pen or quill, one would sign with a flourish and then blot it.

Fluffy: A cerberid dog acquired by Hagrid and put to work guarding the Philosopher's Stone.

fluxweed: An ingredient of the Polyjuice Potion. Invented, as far as I can tell.

Forbidden Forest: The woods adjoining Hogwarts and Hogsmeade, home to all sorts of magical creatures, including centaurs, Aragog, and possibly a werewolf or two.

Ford Anglia: A cousin to the Ford Prefect which was produced in England from 1959 to 1967 and then was simplified to become the Ford Popular. Arthur Weasley got hold of one and performed a few minor adjustments to it such as allowing it to fly and become invisible at will. Since being crashed into the Whomping Willow, the car has turned feral and been living in the Forbidden Forest.

Forgetfulness Potion: The final exam for Harry's first year of Potions.

Fortescue, Florean (PoA ch. 4): The proprietor of an ice cream parlor in Diagon Alley, who for some reason knows an awful lot about the history of witch-burning.

Etym: From Old French fort "strong, brave" + escu "shield". Thus, a powerful protection against burning.

Fowl or Foul? A Study of Hippogriff Brutality: A book Ron consulted in Buckbeak's defense.

Fred Weasley [Frederick]:

Etym: From Old German frithu "peace" + ric "ruler". The name of lots and lots of German kings.

Freezing Charm: Some kind of paralysis-inducing spell.

Frog Spawn Soap: Something available at Zonko's Joke Shop.

From Egg to Inferno: Another of Hagrid's collection of books on dragon-rearing.

Fubster, Colonel (PoA ch. 2): A retired friend of Harry's Aunt Marge who sometimes looks after Marge's dogs.

Fudge, Cornelius: The current Minister of Magic, although apparently unable to handle the job without constant advice from Dumbledore. If political events in the books match actual history, Fudge is a Tory (in fact, he bears a suspicious resemblance to one particular Tory) who is due to be replaced sometime in book 6 or 7 when Labour takes over the government.

Etym: Of all the meanings available, I think we should look at "false" or "clumsily forged".

Fudge Flies: A candy available at Honeydukes.


Gadding with Ghouls: One of Gilderoy Lockhart's books.

Galleon: A gold coin, equivalent to 17 Sickles or 493 Knuts.

Etym: Probably from the meaning "a great prize or catch", referring to the capture of Spanish galleons by English privateers.

Gambol and Japes: The joke shop in Diagon Alley.

Etym: Gambol as in to play, jape as in joke.

garlic: Rumored to be the source of the smell coming from Professor Quirrell's turban. Garlic has been credited with numerous medical powers, and the ability to ward off vampires.

George Weasley: Etym: The patron saint of England, whose dragon-killing exploits, said to have happened in Libya, may be a transfer of the Perseus myth. The name is from Greek for "farmer".

ghosts: The spirits of the dead which linger for some reason. Hogwarts has about 20 ghosts in residence, including the Bloody Baron, the Fat Friar, the Grey Lady, Nearly Headless Nick, Moaning Myrtle, Peeves, and Professor Binns.

ghoul: A malignant spirit sometimes associated with grave-robbing; one haunts the attic of The Burrow.

Gilderoy Lockhart: Etym: The name of a famous robber, whose victims included Cardinal Richelieu and Oliver Cromwell.

Gilderoy Lockhart's Guide to Household Pests: Yet another of Gilderoy Lockhart's books.

Ginny Weasley (Ginevra):

Etym: A variant of the name we know best as Guenivere, originally from a Celtic root meaning "white, shining".

Gladys Gudgeon: Etym: From Welsh Gwladys, of unknown etymology. Folk etymology favors a formation from Claudia.

gnomes: In these books, burrowing pests that tear up wizard gardens. Plaster statues of gnomes are fulfill roughly the same function in British gardens as plastic flamingoes do in American ones.

goblins: The bankers of the wizard world. As a species which specializes in handling money, they are required to be short, ugly, and unpleasant in accordance with the long tradition enshrined in the Secret Protocols of the Elders of Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Gobstones: A wizard variation of marbles in which the marbles can spit a foul-smelling liquid in a player's face.

Godric Gryffindor: Etym: From Old English god, which may mean "good", + ric "ruler".

Godric's Hollow: Where Harry's parents were living when they were killed by Voldemort. A fictional place.

Golden Snitch: A tiny, winged ball used in Quidditch. It flies around the field of play attempting to not get caught by the Seekers. Catching the Snitch earns 150 points for the catching team and ends the game.

Gordon (PS ch. 3): A member of Dudley Dursley's gang.

Goshawk, Miranda (PS ch. 5): Author of the Standard Book of Spells series.

Etym: Astur palumbarius and relatives, primarily short-winged, forest-dwelling accipters. All the other textbook authors named have names clearly relating to the subject of their books, but I'm at a loss to explain this one. A pun on a real-world author's name, perhaps?

governors, board of: Some sort of oversight board for Hogwarts. Lucius Malfoy is a member.

Goyle, Gregory: The slightly stupider of Draco Malfoy's cronies.

Etym: A deep trench or ravine. Or maybe intended to make us think of gargoyle.

Granger, Hermione: One of Harry's two best friends, and the smartest student in the school; a fighter for truth, justice, and getting those lazy slobs around her to do some real studying.

Etym: A word for a farm bailiff, responsible for overseeing the collection of rent. In the US, the Granger movement fought on behalf of farmers against the monopolistic grain transport practices of the railroads after the Civil War.

great grey owl: A large owl distributed all around the northern hemisphere.

Great Hall: The biggest indoor space in the Hogwarts castle; where the students and staff usually dine. The ceiling is enchanted to look like the sky outdoors.

Great Humberto, The (PS ch. 3): A stage magician (well, one assumes...) whose TV show on Monday nights is one of Dudley Dursley's favorites.

Great Wizarding Events of the Twentieth Century: A book Hermione read to catch up on wizard culture.

Great Wizards of the Twentieth Century: One of the books in the Hogwarts library.

greenhouse one: The only greenhouse first-year Herbology students are allowed into.

greenhouse three: A place with much more interesting plants than greenhouse one.

Gregory Goyle: Etym: See below for one meaning. In common usage, has meant "a gallant" (c. 1599), "a hangman" (17th century), and a children's game. My money's on the hangman...

Gregory the Smarmy (PS ch. 9): A statue that conceals a secret passage out of Hogwarts.

Etym: As a name, from a Greek word meaning "to be watchful".

Grey Lady: The house ghost of Ravenclaw.

Grim: A death omen in the form of a huge black dog. Though it should also be noted that there is a "Church Grim", said to guard graveyards from witches and the Devil.

Grindelwald (PS ch. 6): A dark wizard defeated by Dumbledore in 1945, likely on or before May 7th. (The mess in the Pacific was presumably still the work of mere Muggles.)

Etym: Grindel means "fierce, angry" and wald is German for "forest". Grindelwald is also the name of a place in south central Switzerland.

grindylow: A malignant creature that lurks in water, waiting to strangle the unwary. From Yorkshire folklore, where it is said to prefer deep pools of stagnant water for its resting place and children fr its victims.

Gringotts: The British wizards' bank, run by goblins and based in Diagon Alley.

Griphook (PS ch. 5): A goblin working at Gringotts.

Etym: Probably invented.

Grunnings: The drill-making firm of which Vernon Dursley is the director.

Grunnion, Alberic (PS ch. 6): A person featured on a Famous Witches and Wizards trading card. No further info found.

Gryffindor, Godric: Etym: Invented. The griffon (or gryphon) is a symbol of bravery and guardianship.

Gryffindor House: The house that Harry belongs to; it selects for bravery and leadership qualities. The house ghost is Nearly Headless Nick, and the head of the house is Professor McGonagall. Badge: Gules, a lion rampant to sinister Or.

Gudgeon, Davy (PoA ch. 10): A former Hogwarts student who nearly lost an eye to the Whomping Willow.

Gudgeon, Gladys (CoS ch. 7): A big fan of Lockhart's.

Etym: Nickname deriving from a fish (Gobio gobio), which originally may have been used with reference to a greedy or credulous person. Also, various meanings referring to pins or sockets at pivot points.


haggis: A traditional Scottish dish consisting of sheep innards stuffed with oatmeal.

Hagrid, Rubeus: The Keeper of the Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts, a giant of a man with a heart to match, especially when it comes to exotic and dangerous animals (cf. Norbert and Fluffy). Wand (supposedly destroyed, but strongly hinted to be hidden in his umbrella): oak, bendy, 16".

Etym: According to Rowling, "If you were hagrid-- it's a dialect word-- you'd had a bad night. Hagrid is a big drinker-- he's had a lot of bad nights."

Hair-Raising Potion: Something that includes rat tails as an ingredient.

Handbook of Do-It-Yourself Broomcare: A book Hermione gave to Harry.

Handbook of Hippogriff Psychology: A book Ron consulted to defend Buckbeak.

Hand of Glory: An item associated with dark magic since medieval times. Usually said to be the hand of a thief or murderer hanged at midnight, modified to allow candles to be socketed in its fingertips. In this series, it provides light only to the holder.

Hannah Abbott: Etym: From Hebrew for "He (God) has favored me". In the Bible, the mother of Samuel, and in the Talmud, a prophetess; her prayer exemplifies successful petitions to God.

Harry Potter: Etym: Stated by Rowling on numerous occasions to just be her favorite male name.

Head Boy: A seventh-year student chosen for leadership and scholastic abilities who shares the prefects' duties.

Head Girl: A seventh-year student chosen for leadership and scholastic abilities who shares the prefects' duties.

Head Hockey: A pastime of the Headless Hunt.

Headless Hunt: A mass of headless ghosts who won't let Nearly Headless Nick join them.

Head Polo: Another pastime of the Headless Hunt.

Hebridean Black: A type of dragon native to the British Isles.

Hedwig: Harry's owl, named after someone he read about in A History of Magic.

Etym: Stated by Rowling to be a medieval saint, which would be St. Hedwig of Andechs. Another possibility is the devout but not canonized medieval woman who was crowned "king" of Poland at the age of 9, strongly supported religion and scholarship, and caused the restoration of the university of Kraków, which became the Jagiellonian University. (Here's the English root page.)

Helga Hufflepuff: Etym: From Norse, meaning "holy". Also an alternate name for St. Olga (890-969), the first recorded female ruler in Russa, the first Russian royal to adopt Christianity, and the first Russian Orthodox saint.

Hengist of Woodcroft (PS ch. 6): Was featured on a Famous Witches and Wizards trading card. Might be an actual historical person, but I haven't found any info on him.

Hetty Bayliss [Henrietta]:

Etym: Feminine of Henry from Old German haimi "house, home" + ric "ruler".

Herbology: A required course at Hogwarts, taught by Professor Sprout.

Hermes (CoS ch. 3): Percy's owl, a screech owl, bought for him when he became a prefect.

Etym: The Greek name for the messenger of the gods, also the god of thieves, children, and travellers.

Hermione Granger: Etym: A derivative of Hermes. Used by Shakespeare in A Winter's Tale as the name of a queen falsely accused of adultery, who dies of the shock when the evidence in her favor is disregarded.

Hiccup Sweet: Something available at Zonko's Joke Shop.

Higgs, Terence (PS ch. 12): The Seeker for the Slytherin Quidditch team in Harry's first year, replaced by Draco Malfoy later on.

Etym: From the medieval given name Hicke, a form of Richard, whose etymology is uncertain; may be riic "ruler" + heard "hard".

hinkypunk: A one-legged creature which lures travelers to their death in bogs.

Etym: Usually spelled Hinky-Punk, this is a local equivalent to the will-o'-the-wisp on the Somerset-Devon border.

hippogriff: A mythical creature with the head, wings, and legs of an eagle and the hindquarters of a horse. In these books, a proud and demanding creature that requires a person to show respect before they can approach it.

History of Magic: A required course at Hogwarts, taught by Professor Binns.

Hit Wizards: The toughest portion of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.

Hogsmeade: The only entirely non-Muggle settlement in the British Isles, located near Hogwarts. Local businesses and features include the Three Broomsticks, the Shrieking Shack, Honeydukes, Dervish and Banges, and Zonko's Joke Shop.

Etym: -meade in English placenames refers to a piece of grassland; thus, it's the meadow near Hogwarts. Interesting that the school appears to have preceded the village (unless both were named after some other local feature).

Hogwarts: The school for young wizards in the British Isles, housed in a massive castle with 142 shifting staircases, living paintings, numerous ghosts, and pretty much everything else that would have made your school the least bit interesting.

Hogwarts Express: The train that runs from King's Cross to Hogwarts at the beginning of the school year, and back at the end.

Hogwarts, a History: One of the books Hermione read to get ready for the start of school.

Holidays with Hags: One of Gilderoy Lockhart's books.

holly: Shrubs and trees of the genus Ilex, reputed to have protective powers. Harry's wand probably was made with English holly (I. aquifolium).

Etym: Rowling has given her reason for using it as its association with life and also with the word holy. Unfortunately, the second part is folk etymology; the word holly goes back to an Indo-European stem meaning "to prick". (Hollyhock, on the other hand, evolved from holy hock.)

Home Life and Social Habits of British Muggles: The textbook for the Muggle Studies class.

Homorphus Charm: The spell with which Lockhart claims to have cured the Wagga Wagga Werewolf. He probably made it up-- it appears the Wolfsbane Potion is the only effective countermeasure.

Honeydukes: The candy store in Hogsmeade.

Etym: No info; also invented?

Hooch, Madam: The flying instructor at Hogwarts, and usually the referee for inter-house Quidditch games.

Etym: No etymology. There was a minor Dutch painter named Pieter de Hooch, or Hoogh, or Hooghe (1629-1684).

Hopkirk, Mafalda (CoS ch. 2): Someone in the Improper Use of Magic Office.

Etym: From Hopekirk, named from Northern Middle English hop(e) "valley among hills" + kirk "church". A former Hufflepuff?

Hornby, Olive (CoS ch. 16): A girl who particularly tormented Moaning Myrtle and was haunted by Myrtle for it until the day she (Olive) died what seems like an awfully early death.

Etym: Name of several places in northern England, from the Old Norse name Horni "horn" + býr "farm, settlement".

Horseback Head-Juggling: Another pastime of the Headless Hunt.

house-elf: A magical creature, bound to a specific wizard family or place, which does housekeeping tasks. If a house-elf's employer hands a piece of clothing to them, the elf is considered dismissed.

House-elves are based on brownies, mostly benevolent spirits said to inhabit particular houses or farmsteads and do chores when no one is looking. One can leave bread or a bowl of milk or cream out for the brownie to show thanks, but making any more extravagant gifts will offend it, which will turn to mischief. If a suit of clothes is made for a brownie, it will put them on and disappear.

Hover Charm: A spell used to make something float in the air. Apparently detectable from a distance (unless someone from the Improper Use of Magic Office just happened to be nearby).

Howler: An angry voice recording which plays at full volume when opened, sent by parents to give public rebukes to their children at school; a nastygram.

Hufflepuff, Helga: One of the four founders of Hogwarts.

Etym: See below.

Hufflepuff House: One of the four houses of Hogwarts, it emphasizes hard work, goodness, and self-sacrifice. The house of the saints. Badge: Or, a brock rampant reguardant, at best guess, anyway. House colors are supposed to be black and gold. The house ghost is the Fat Friar.

Etym: Invented; along the lines of "huff and puff".

Humberto: see The Great Humberto.

Hurling Hex: A malignant spell which can be cast on a broomstick.


Ice Mice: A type of wizard candy.

Impervius: An incantation that makes a surface repel water.

Etym: Altered spelling of impervious.

Important Modern Magical Discoveries: A book in the Hogwarts library.

Improper Use of Magic Office: The arm of the Ministry of Magic which, among other things, keeps tabs on any students who try to use magic outside of school.

incantations: The verbal components of spells. Incantations come in a variety of languages. Oddly, modern-language spells which contain verbs are in the imperative (the command form) but the Latin ones are in the indicative (that is, descriptive of action). There may be a deep reason for this, but it's probably just because Rowling was never forced to take Latin. I was, and by golly I'm going to get some use out of it. Imperative forms are provided for the curious.

Inner Eye: A term for clairvoyant ability.

InterCity 125: An engine widely used on Britain's commuter railways.

Inter-House Championship: The competition between the Hogwarts houses to see which can accumulate the most points by the end of the year.

Intermediate Transfiguration: The textbook for the third-year Transfiguration class.

International Confederation of Warlocks: Some sort of multinational professional association.

International Federation of Warlocks: Probably a typo for the International Confederation of Warlocks, or vice versa.

Invisible Book of Invisibility: The most problematic book ever to blight the stockroom of Flourish and Blotts until the arrival of The Monster Book of Monsters.

Invisibility Booster: Something that can make a flying car invisible, at least to Muggles.

invisibility cloak: An extremely rare magical item which makes the wearer(s) totally invisible to normal sight, though it is penetrable with any kind of magical sight. Harry's father left one to him.


James Potter: Etym: A variation of Jacob, from Hebrew âqoob, whose meaning is not clear. Folk etymology gives a meaning of "he seized the heel" or "he supplanted". St. James the disciple, along with St. John, are sometimes called boanerges, Greek for "sons of thunder", for their fiery zeal.

Jelly Slugs: A type of wizard candy available at Honeydukes.

Jigger, Arsenius (PS ch. 5): Author of Magical Drafts and Potions.

Etym: 1.5 fluid ounces; a measurement used for alcoholic drinks. So, a poisoned drink. Jeez, it's like everything associated with potions has to be evil and nasty.

Johnson, Angelina (PS ch. 12): A Chaser on the Gryffindor Quidditch team.

Etym: Patronymic form of John, which is from the Hebrew name Johanan "Jehovah has favored".

Jordan, Lee (PS ch. 7): A Gryffindor and a close friend of Fred and George Weasley. The announcer at inter-House Quidditch matches.

Etym: As a personal name, from an Old Norse or Old German root meaning "land". As the river, from the Hebrew for "flowing down".

Justin Finch-Fletchley: Etym: From Latin justus "just", the name of two Byzantine emperors and a saint; also brings to mind the emperor Justinian.


kappa: A creature from Japanese mythology which lurks in rivers and lakes, waiting to kill unwary passers-by. In these books, the kappa kills by strangulation; in the mythological form, it goes after swimmers by pulling their livers out through their bottoms. Kappas are confined to wilderness waters, so there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to think about this if your bottom is exposed to water in an urban setting.

Katie Bell [Katherine]:

Etym: St. Katherine or Catherine of Alexandria was a scholarly woman who was imprisoned for converting the wife and soldiers of the emperor Maxentius. He is said to then have dispatched his philosophers to convince her by logical arguments to denounce her faith, only to find that she instead converted them. Later she was martyred, and a particular instrument of torture associated with this is known as "St. Katherine's Wheel". The etymology of this name is unknown.

Keeper: The player on a Quidditch team who attempts to keep the Quaffle from going through any of the goal hoops.

kelpie: A malicious water creature able to assume a number of shapes, but usually appearing as a horse, which takes delight in the drowning of passers-by.

Kent: The home of the Wailing Widow.

Kettleburn (PoA ch. 5): The former Care of Magical Creatures teacher.

Etym: Means pretty much what it looks like.

King's Cross: A major train station in London, and the point of origin for the Hogwarts Express.

knickerbocker glory: A confection similar to a large ice cream sundae with all the attendant toppings, sauces, etc., traditionally served in a very tall glass.

Knight Bus: A bus summonable by any wizard in dire need of transportation which can take them anywhere they want to go on land.

Knockturn Alley: The evil twin of Diagon Alley, location of Borgin and Burkes.

Etym: Say it out loud...

knotgrass: Polygonum aviculare, and one of the ingredients for the Polyjuice Potion. Herbal lore says an infusion of knotgrass is supposd to stunt one's growth.

Knut: 1/493 of a Galleon, 1/29 of a Sickle.

Etym: Not sure, maybe just a variation of nut, the coins being brownish and all.

Kwikspell: A correspondence course in basic magic that Filch apparently tried.


lacewing flies: An ingredient for the Polyjuice Potion. This could refer to anything in the order Neuroptera, particularly in the family Chrysopidae (green lacewings) or Hemerobiidae (brown lacewings).

Lavender Brown: Etym: Lavandula vera, used for perfumes. The flower signifies distrust.

Leaky Cauldron, The: A wizards' pub located somewhere in London, along Charing Cross Road; the primary entrance to Diagon Alley.

Lee Jordan: Etym: The sheltered side of something, or dregs. As a name, from Old English leeah "meadow".

leeches: An ingredient for the Polyjuice Potion. The type of leech needed for magic is probably the European medicinal leech, Hirudo medicinalis.

Leg-Locker Curse: A spell that paralyzes the legs. Incantation: Locomotor Mortis.

Licorice Wands: A wizard candy, undoubtedly very tasty if you happen to like licorice.

Lily Potter: Etym: As a personal name, probably derives from a pet form of Elizabeth. In the plant world, anything in the genus Lilium. Different types of lily have different meanings; if a specific one is intended, it's probably "purity and sweetness", the white lily. Outside possibilities are "majesty", for the imperial lily, or "return of happiness", the lily of the valley.

Lisa Turpin: Etym: Another nickname from Elizabeth, which is from Hebrew Elisheba, "my God (is) satisfaction".

Little Whinging: The town in Surrey in which the Dursleys live. Does not appear to be a real town.

Lockhart, Gilderoy: A best-selling author, honorary member of the Dark Force Defense League, five-time winner of the Witch Weekly Most Charming Smile Award, and the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher in Harry's second year. Owing to a bungled Memory Charm, he is now confined to St. Mungo's Hospital, and unlikely to write anything more unless it's Psessions with Psychologists.

Favorite color: lilac. Ideal birthday gift: harmony between magic and non-magic peoples. Secret ambition: Rid the world of evil and market his own line of hair-care products.

Etym: EB has an entry for John Gibson Lockhart (1794-1854) a Scottish writer, best remembered for his Life of Sir Walter Scott, "one of the great biographies in English". Appropriate for a thief of biographies.

Locomotor Mortis: Incantation for the Leg-Locker Curse.

Etym: Latin, "appendage" and "death".

Longbottom, Neville: A Gryffindor, same year as Harry, with the worst memory in his class.

Etym: Place name from western Yorkshire, from Middle English for "long valley".

Lucius Malfoy: Etym: From Latin lux, light; possibly intended as a reference to Lucifer, "light-bearer". The name of three popes, including the patron saint of Copenhagen, who succeeded St. Cornelius and continued his policies... does this mean we'll be seeing a new Minister of Magic? EB also gives this as an obsolete form of luscious, but let's not go there.

Lumos: An incantation to make one's wand glow.

Etym: Pseudo-Latin/Greek for "light".

Lupin, Remus J.: The Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher in Harry's third year. Removed after he was revealed to be a werewolf, due to some parents having small-minded knee-jerk prejudices against allowing their children into close proximity with someone who can turn into a man-eating monster. Lupin was also one of James Potter's close friends during their school days.

Etym: A variation on lupine.


MacDougal, Morag (PS ch. 7): A Hogwarts student of the same year as Harry, house unknown.

Etym: From the Gaelic name Dubhghall, from dubh "black" + gall "stranger".

Macmillan, Ernie (CoS ch. 11): A Hufflepuff, year unknown.

Etym: Anglicized form of Mac Maoláin, from a diminutive form of maol, meaning "bald, tonsured" and in a transferred sense, a devotee of a saint.

Macnair, Walden (PoA ch. 16): The executioner for the Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures.

Etym: HH has three possibilities, the most interesting being an anglicization of Mac an Mhaoir, "son of the steward, keeper". "The principal Irish family of this name held the hereditary post of Keeper of the Book of Armagh at Ballymoyer (Gaelic Baile an Mhaoir `town of the keeper')."

Mafalda Hopkirk: Etym: No etymology on this one, but it's the name of the socially concerned title character of a Portuguese comic strip.

Magical Drafts and Potions: A first-year textbook for Hogwarts students.

Magical Law Enforcement Squad: Pretty much what it sounds like-- the wizard SWAT team.

Magical Me: Gilderoy Lockhart's most recent (and probably last) book of his exploits.

Magical Menagerie: The general pet store in Diagon Alley.

Magical Theory: A first-year textbook for Hogwarts students.

Magnolia Crescent: A street near the Dursleys' home.

mahogany: A tropical hardwood from several trees of the family Meliaceae, most often the West Indies mahogany, used mainly in furniture and paneling.

Malcolm (PS ch. 3): Part of Dudley Dursley's gang.

Etym: From Gaelic maol-Columb, "servant or disciple of Columb". Columb is the Gaelic form of the Latin Columba "dove", and was the name of a saint known as "the apostle of the Picts". Malcolm was also the name of several Scottish kings.

Malfoy, Draco: A Slytherin, the same year as Harry, who generously offered to introduce Harry to the "in" crowd and has not yet gotten over being snubbed. In Harry's second year and later, the Seeker for the Slytherin Quidditch team.

Etym: Stated by Rowling to be an invented name, from the French mal + foy or foi. Could be taken to mean "bad faith" as in a lack of faith or a false promise, or "faith in evil".

Malfoy, Lucius: Draco's father, a stalwart of the pure-blood faction, member of the board of governors of Hogwarts, and conoisseur of interesting magical items of dubious provenance.

Etym: See above.

Malfoy, Narcissa: Draco's mother.

Etym: See above.

Malkin, Madam (PS ch. 5): Proprietor of Robes for All Occasions in Diagon Alley.

Etym: As a surname, derived either from the medieval female given name Malle, or the Yiddish name Malke, from the Hebrew word malka "queen". OED also gives it as a name for a woman of the lower classes in various proverbial expressions; the name of a female spectre or demon; dialectual name for a cat; or an effeminate man. If I had to guess, I'd go with the female spectre.

mandrake: In these books, a plant which resembles a humanoid with a normal-looking plant growing out of its head. The scream of a mature mandrake can kill, while that of a young one will still stun a person. Mandrakes can be used to restore a person who has been paralyzed by a basilisk.

The real mandrake is any of the six species of the genus Mandragora, alleged to have all sorts of magical powers, and said to produce the scream when pulled from the ground.

Mandrake Restorative Draught: The potion made from mandrakes which can cure a person who has been paralyzed by a basilisk.

Mandy Brockelhurst [Amanda]:

Etym: Latin for "fit to be loved", also translated as "beloved".

manticore: A mythological creature with the body of a lion, the head of a man, sharp quills like a porcupine, and the tail of a scorpion.

maple: Any tree of the genus Acer, comprising the sugar maple, several varieties that provide a dense, hard wood used in furniture, and many ornamental trees.

Marauders, the: What James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew called themselves at school.

Marauder's Map: A magical map created by Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs, which shows all of Hogwarts, the locations of all people therein, and instructions for opening the various secret passages out of the school.

Marcus Flint: Etym: Probably derived from Mars. If this name is meant as a historical reference, then it's got to be Marcus Antonius aka Mark Antony.

Marge (Marjorie) Dursley (PS ch. 2):

Etym: From a French form of Margaret, derived from the Greek for "pearl". St. Margaret is the patron saint of Scotland.

Mars: Stemming from its association with the Roman god of war, Mars is often associated with conflict and death in astrology.

Marsh, Madam (PoA ch. 3): A passenger on the Knight Bus.

Etym: Derived from the Old English word for same.

Marvolo Riddle, Tom: Etym: Probably invented to make the anagram come out right.

Masons (CoS ch. 1): A builder (contractor) and his wife that the Dursleys had over for dinner in an attempt to get a large drill order out of them.

Etym: What it looks like; the surname derives from being an occupational name for a stonemason.

McGonagall, Minerva: Head of Gryffindor House, and the Transfiguration instructor.

Etym: Patronymic from the name Congal, composed of the Old Celtic words for "high" and "valor", appropriate for a Gryffindor. However, the professor is actually named for a Scottish poet reputed to be the worst ever to, er, grace the English language.

McGuffin, Jim (PS ch. 6): A TV weatherman.

Etym: Name etymology is probably not relevant. The name was used as a term by Alfred Hitchcock to mean an object that is significant to a plot. Okay, that's probably not relevant here either.

McKinnon (PS ch. 4): The last name of a wizard couple killed by Voldemort.

Etym: Anglicized form of Mac Fhionghuin, from the name meaning "fair born" or "beloved son".

Medal for Magical Merit: Tom Riddle was awarded one during his days at Hogwarts.

Medieval Assembly of European Wizards: Something the History of Magic class was assigned to write a yard-long essay about.

Memory Charm: A spell that causes the target to forget about something. Incantation: Obliviate.

Merlin (PS ch. 6): The best-known wizard in English folklore, and also apparently in the British wizard community, as evidenced by the Order of Merlin.

Millicent Bulstrode: Etym: From the Old German name Amalasuintha, composed of amal "work" + swintha "strong".

Mimsy-Porpington, Sir Nicholas de: Aka Nearly Headless Nick, the house ghost of Gryffindor. He celebrated his 500th deathday on Halloween, 1992. If this count includes the shift to the Gregorian calendar, it means he died on October 20th or 21st, 1492.

Etym: Mimsy was a word invented by Lewis Carroll for his poem "Jabberwocky", and has been defined as "prim, prudish, contemptible". No idea about Porpington.

Minerva McGonagall: Etym: Probably of Etruscan origin, this is the Roman equivalent to Athena, the goddess of wisdom and valor.

Minister of Magic: The head of the Ministry of Magic.

Ministry of Magic: A secret Cabinet-level department of the UK government, charged with providing civil services to wizard-dom. The current Minister of Magic is Cornelius Fudge.

Subentities of the Ministry seen so far are:

Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures
Committee on Experimental Charms
Department of Magical Catastrophes
Improper Use of Magic Office
Magical Law Enforcement Squad
Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office

Miranda Goshawk: Etym: Invented by Shakespeare, from Latin for "worthy to be admired".

Miriam Strout: Etym: Probably, like Mary, from the Hebrew for "wished-for child", though the alternative merî, "rebellion" has been posited.

Mirror of Erised: A magical device which entraps its viewer by showing them impossible scenes of what thay most desire, entrapping the viewer to stare blankly at it for hours. Muggles have managed to build a crude version of this.

Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office: The department of the Ministry of Magic which enforces laws on enchanting certain proscribed objects and tries to keep enchanted objects of all sorts away from Muggles.

Moaning Myrtle: The ghost of a Hogwarts student who haunts a stall in the first-floor girls' bathroom. She was killed by Tom Riddle when he first opened the Chamber of Secrets.

Etym: Myrtle refers to various shrubs of the genus Myrtus.

Mobiliarbus: An incantation to levitate a tree.

Etym: Probably supposed to be Latin, "moving tree". "Tree" is in fact arbor.

Mobilicorpus: An incantation to levitate a body.

Etym: Latin, "moving body".

Modern Magical History: A book in the Hogwarts library.

Molly Weasley: Etym: A form of Mary, from a Hebrew name probably meaning "wished-for child".

monkshood: see wolfsbane.

Monster Book of Monsters, The: The textbook for the Care of Magical Creatures class.

Montague (PoA ch. 15): A Chaser on the Slytherin Quidditch team.

Etym: From a place name in La Manche, from Old French mont "hill" + agu "pointed", or an Anglicized form of Mac Taidhg, from a name meaning "poet, philosopher". Also the family name of the late-medieval Earls of Salisbury.

Moon (PS ch. 7): A student in the same year as Harry, house unknown.

Etym: Several possibilities: the French town Moyon; Anglo-Norman French moun "monk"; Cornish mon "thin"; or a diminutive of the Gaelic word for "early, timely".

Moony: Remus Lupin's nickname during his school days.

Morag MacDougal: Etym: Gaelic, a diminutive of mor(a), meaning "the sun".

Morgana (PS ch. 6): A sorceress who, in some versions of the Arthurian legend, was Arthur's sister and helped bring about his downfall. Featured in the Famous Witches and Wizards trading card series.

Mortlake (CoS ch. 14): A wizard raided by the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office who turned out to be law-abiding except for the presence of "some extremely odd ferrets".

Mosag (CoS ch. 16): Aragog's wife, procured for him by Hagrid.

Etym: No etymology.

Most Charming Smile Award: Awarded by Witch Weekly five times to Gilderoy Lockhart.

Moste Potente Potions: A book in the Restricted Section of the Hogwarts library; contains the formula for the Polyjuice Potion.

mountain troll: The variety of troll that got loose in Hogwarts on Halloween; apparently one of the lesser varieties.

Mr. Paws (PS ch. 3): One of Mrs. Figg's cats.

Mrs. Skower's All-Purpose Magical Mess Remover: Pretty much what it claims to be.

Etym: Skower is an invented variation on scour.

Mudblood: Extreme pejorative for someone with any non-magical ancestry. Users of this word contrast themselves as pure-bloods.

Muggle: 1) A person who is not part of, or was not raised in, the wizard society. 2) A person with no magical powers.

Etym: Stated by Rowling to be invented from the British slang meaning of mug, "a dupe". Coincidentally an actual archaic English word, as has been discussed at length elsewhere.

Muggle Protection Act: A proposed new law (possibly passed by now).

Muggle Studies: An optional class at Hogwarts.

Mugwump: Albus Dumbledore is a (or the) supreme one.

Etym: Not sure of the meaning in this context, but it was 18th/19th century slang for a person disinterested in party politics, an independent thinker, or, alternatively, a major "boss". The term originates from a Natick Indian word for a major chief.

Mundungus Fletcher: Etym: Offal, refuse, or bad-smelling tobacco, from Spanish mondongo, meaning "black pudding" or "tripe".


Narcissa Malfoy: Etym: The feminine form of Narcissus, the figure from Greek legend who gave his name to a flower after pining away from falling in love with his reflection. The flower signifies egotism or self-esteem.

Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Tests: The highest-level graduation exams that Hogwarts offers; equivalent to the "A-level" (advanced level) exams in real British schools.

Nearly Headless Nick: The students' nickname for Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington.

Nettles, Madam Z., of Topsham: A witch quoted by the Kwikspell ad copy.

nettle wine: Believe it or not, somebody out there actually makes this...

Neville Longbottom: Etym: From a two French towns of the same name, or an Anglicized form of Ó Niadh, from a name meaning "warrior". The name of various earls; also the first Lord Latimer of the village of Snape. The Battle of Neville's Cross, October 17, 1346, was a notable English victory over the Scots, who were allied with France against the English.

N.E.W.T.s: Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Tests.

Newt Scamander [Newton]:

Etym: From Old English neowe "new" + tun "enclosure, settlement".

newts, double-ended: Creatures available at the Magical Menagerie. The reader is left to speculate on which end they have two of.

Nicholas Flamel: Etym: See below.

Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington:

Etym: St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra circa 300, is the patron saint of sailors, pawnbrokers, wolves, and scholars, especially schoolboys.

Nimbus Two Thousand: The (once) most advanced broom yet created by modern magical technology.

Nimbus Two Thousand and One: The (previously) new most advanced broom yet created by modern magical technology.

Norbert: A Norwegian Ridgeback hatched by Hagrid, raised in secret to the age of a month or two, then spirited away to Romania to finish growing up in the wild and probably enter a lifetime of psychotherapy.

Etym: St. Norbert of Xanten (1080-1134), was the founder of the Premonstratensians (or Norbertines, or White Canons), a monk-like order.

Norfolk: A rather flat, boring sector of England, I am told. I can't even find a decent Web site on it...

Norris, Mrs.: Filch's cat and assistant in spotting trespassers.

Etym: Named for a sneaky, spiteful character in the Jane Austen novel Mansfield Park.

Norwegian Ridgeback: A species of dragon, sporting mildly poisonous fangs in addition to the usual features. Its eggs are large and black.

Nose-Biting Teacup: A gag item from Zonko's Joke Shop.

Notable Magical Names of Our Time: A book in the Hogwarts libary.

Nott (PS ch. 7): A student in the same year as Harry. House unknown.

Etym: From a Middle English nickname meaning "bald".

Nox: An incantation that cancels out Lumos.

Etym: Latin, "night".

Numerology and Gramatica: A textbook for one of Hermione's classes in her third year.


oak: Any of the trees or shrubs in the genus Quercus, notably some hardy, long-lived timber trees whose lumber is used in structural members, furniture, millwork, and cooperage.

Obliviate: The incantation for a Memory Charm.

Etym: Just the English word.

Ogden's Old Firewhisky: A favorite of Gilderoy Lockhart.

Etym: Place in Yorkshire, from Old English aac "oak" + denu "valley"; probably just picked for alliterative value.

Olive Hornby: Etym: Olea europaea or Olea sativa. ECN: "In the Roman martyrology there is a St. Oliva, a virgin of Anagni of unknown date, and also a St. Oliva, venerated in the place so named and the patroness of olive-trees, which looks suspiciously as though she started life as a tutelary goddess."

Oliver Wood: Etym: With a small o, an olive tree. The name is more likely from the Old German Alfihar, "elf-host".

Ollivander, Mr.: Proprietor of a wand shop in Diagon Alley. According to its sign, his family have been "Makers of Fine Wands since 382 BC".

Etym: OED thinks this is an error for olivaster, meaning "olive-colored" or "having an olive complexion".

One Minute Feasts -- It's Magic!: A cookbook in Molly Weasley's collection.

One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi: A first-year textbook for Herbology.

Order of Merlin: An award given by the Ministry of Magic; the highest honor available to a British wizard.

There is a real-life Order of Merlin, but it's nothing like the fictional one. It's given by the International Brotherhood of Magicians for 25 years of membership.

Order of Suspension: Issued by the governors of Hogwarts to temporarily remove Dumbledore.

Ordinary Wizarding Levels: Exams to demonstrate basic competence in a subject at graduation, equivalent to "O-levels" (ordinary levels) in British schools.

Ottery St. Catchpole: The fictional village where The Burrow is located.

Ouagadougou: The capital of Burkina Faso, where Gilderoy Lockhart claims to have halted a series of supernatural attacks.

owls: Popular as familiars, owls are also the basis of the wizard postal system, able to find anyone, anywhere, to deliver their mail.

O.W.L.s: Ordinary Wizarding Levels.

Owlery: The place where the Hogwarts-owned owls, and sometimes student ones, roost when not delivering mail.


Padfoot: Sirius Black's nickname during his school days.

Etym: A term originating around Leeds for a sheep-sized creature, sometimes in the form of a dog, said to haunt people who would shortly die.

Padma Patil: Etym: In Sanskrit, means the lotus, the symbol of enlightenment, and has various related meanings. In present-day usage, also the main channel of the Ganges River.

Pansy Parkinson: Etym: Viola tricolor aka heartsease. Signifies "thoughts", and the common name is derived from the French for "thought".

Paracelsus (PS ch. 6): The pseudonym of Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim (1493-1541), physician and alchemist, who established the role of chemistry in medicine, and was one of the first advocates of an empirical approach that became modern scientific method.

Parkinson, Pansy (PS ch. 7): A Slytherin in the same year as Harry.

Etym: From a diminutive of Peter.

Parselmouth: One who has the automatic ability to speak Parseltongue.

Etym: According to Rowling, it's an old word for someone who has a mouth-related deformity.

Parseltongue: The language of snakes.

Parvati Patil: Etym: EB: "The benevolent aspect of Shakti." Depending on which thread of Hinduism you follow, Shakti is either (a) the wife of Shiva, (b) a wife of Shiva, (c) the feminine, creative aspect of Shiva, (d) a personification of positive energy in general, or (e) all of the above but it doesn't matter since all definable things are illusion anyway.

Patil, Padma: A Ravenclaw, in the same year as Harry.

Etym: See below.

Patil, Parvati: A Gryffindor, same year as Harry.

Etym: From the Pictish peit "portion (of land)" and Gaelic tulach "hill". Alternatively, also a surname of Indian origin.

Patrick Delaney-Podmore: Etym: The name of the patron saint of Ireland, whose original name was Sucat. This name comes from Latin patricius, "nobleman". Also a Scottish variant of partridge.

Patronus Charm: A spell that invokes a guardian spirit to protect the caster; the primary means of defense against dementors. An essential component of the spell is focusing on a happy thought-- the happier the thought, the stronger the Patronus. Incantation: Expecto Patronum.

Peebles: A town on the England-Scotland border.

Peeves the Poltergeist: An obnoxious ghost inhabiting Hogwarts, teasing the students and irritating the staff and other ghosts. Controllable only by the teachers and the Bloody Baron.

Etym: Invented, as far as I can tell, from peeve.

Penelope Clearwater: Etym: The wife of Ulysses. When he was thought to be dead, she held off suitors by saying she must first finish weaving a shroud for Laertes. Each night, she would undo the weaving she had done that day, thus delaying them indefinitely. She has come to symbolize the chaste and faithful wife.

Pepper Imps: A magical candy which causes the eater to breathe smoke.

Peppermint Toad: A wizard candy.

Percy Weasley: Etym: A family name that dates back to William de Perci, a comrade of William the Conqueror.

Perenelle Flamel: Etym: I seem to recall this is a name for some kind of flower, but can't find any info. Anyone?

Perkins (CoS ch. 3): Along with Arthur Weasley, the staff of the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office.

Etym: From another variation of Peter, from the Greek for "stone".

Perks, Sally-Anne (PS ch. 7): A student of unknown house, in the same year as Harry.

Etym: Variation of park, which in the Middle Ages meant a large enclosed area used for game hunting.

Peskipiski Pesternomi: An incantation that Lockhart claimed would drive off Cornish pixies.

Etym: At a guess, mangled English: pesky-piskey pester-no-me. Piskey is a dialectual variant of pixie.

Peter Pettigrew: Etym: From the Greek petros "stone", a translation of the Aramaic Cephas.

Petrificatus Totalus: The incantation for the Body-Bind.

Etym: Latin-ish back-formation from petrify and total.

Pettigrew, Peter: One of James Potter's school friends, he became an Animagus with an animal form of a rat, which in retrospect really should have seen as some kind of warning. He later turned to the dark side and betrayed the Potters to Voldemort. When that unexpectedly resulted in Voldemort's fall, he faked his own death, cut off a finger to leave evidence framing Sirius Black for it, and took up a new life as Scabbers until Black hunted him down.

Etym: From Old French petit "little" and cru "growth", a nickname for a small man, or an old form of "pedigree".

Petunia Dursley: Etym: From petun, "tobacco"; the flower is in the tobacco family.

Philosopher's Stone: A substance representing the ideal combination of the essences of all elements, sought by alchemists down the ages, thought to make it possible to do all sorts of magical things. In these books, an actual stone which can be used to make the Elixir of Life.

phoenix: A mythical bird which lives 500 years and then dies, only to be reborn in a magical fire. Rowling's variant symbolizes love or loyalty. Phoenix feathers are used as wand cores, and phoenix tears have healing powers.

Phyllida Spore: Etym: Probably from Greek phyllos, meaning "leaf".

Piers Polkiss: Etym: A French variation of Peter.

Pigwidgeon: Ron's owl, given to him by Sirius Black and named by Ginny Weasley.

Etym: May be an alternate form of Pigwiggin, a fairy knight favored by Queen Mab, the wife of Oberon. Also, an archaic Scottish epithet.

Pince: The librarian at Hogwarts.

Etym: Variation of Pinch, a nickname for a chirpy person. Really.

Platform 9 3/4: The platform for the Hogwarts Express at King's Cross Station.

Pocket Sneakoscope: A magical device that spins and flashes when someone untrustworthy is present.

Podmore: see Delaney-Podmore.

Polkiss, Piers (PS ch. 2): Dudley Dursley's best friend and chief accomplice in tormenting Harry.

Etym: No etymology.

Polyjuice Potion: With the addition of a hair or other bit of someone, allows the drinker to take on the form of that person for one hour. Cannot be used for animal transformations.

Pomfrey, Poppy: The nurse at Hogwarts, for whom treating broken arms, catatonia, poison, and the like is a typical day's work.

Etym: Welsh name from the given name Humphrey, from the Germanic huun "bear cub" + frid "peace". (Alternately, OEW translates it as "peace through force".) St. Humphrey was a 9th century bishop of Therouanne.

Poppy Pomfrey: Etym: Various flowers of the genus Papaver. Signifies consolation or oblivion. Also, in the UK, worn to commemorate veterans of the World Wars.

Potions: A standard class at Hogwarts; taught by Professor Snape.

Potter, Harry: An orphaned wizard, unique among even his magically talented classmates in that dark forces really are constantly attacking him and causing him to miss class. Wand: 11", supple, holly and phoenix feather.

Etym: Stated by Rowling to be a name she just liked.

Potter, James: Harry's father, killed by Voldemort. In school, he was a Gryffindor and became Head Boy. He was also an Animagus, taking on the form of a stag. Wand: 11", pliable, mahogany.

Potter, Lily: Harry's mother, killed protecting Harry from Voldemort. She came from a Muggle family, was a Gryffindor and became Head Girl when she was at Hogwarts. Wand: 10 1/4", swishy, willow.

Prang, Ernie (PoA ch. 4): The driver of the Knight Bus.

Etym: Various meanings relating to crashing.

Predicting the Unpredictable: Insulating Yourself Against Shocks: A book in Flourish and Blotts.

prefect: A fifth-year or later student appointed by the teachers to take some responsibility for other students. There appears to be at least one prefect for each of the Hogwarts houses.

Prefects Who Gained Power: An engrossing book Percy picked up in Diagon Alley.

Prewetts (PS ch. 5): Wizards killed by Voldemort.

Etym: Diminutive form of a name from Middle English prou(s) "brave", "valiant".

Privet Drive: The street in Little Whinging where the Dursleys live. Privet is commonly used in hedges-- very much a feature of dull, conformist suburbia.

Prod, Warlock D. J., of Didsbury (CoS ch. 8): A satisfied Kwikspell customer.

Prongs: James Potter's nickname among his school buddies.

Pucey, Adrian (PS ch. 11): A Chaser for the Slytherin Quidditch team.

Etym: From a town in Berkshire.

puffer fish: Any of the ninety or so fishes of the family Tetradontidae. Their eyes are an ingredient in a Swelling Solution.

Pumpkin Pasties: A wizard candy, probably some kind of pastry with pumpkin filling.

pure-blood: Term for a wizard with no discernable Muggle or nonhuman ancestry. Used only by wizards who feel this sort of eugenic superiority gives them a divine right to rule others and operate outside the rules (as opposed to the actual divine right of Gryffindors to rule others and operate outside the rules).

Put-Outer: A magical device that can supress lights.


Quaffle: A large ball used for scoring in Quidditch.

Quality Quidditch Supplies: A store in Diagon Alley.

Quentin Trimble: Etym: From Latin for "fifth"; also the name for a type of French linen around the end of the 17th century.

Quidditch: The most popular sport in the wizarding world, combining, on the one hand, the fast-moving team action of soccer or basketball with, on the other hand, the injury rate of rugby and the vehicular technology arms race of Formula One.

Briefly, a game takes place on brooms between two teams, each consisting of three Chasers, two Beaters, a Keeper, and a Seeker, using three types of ball: a Quaffle, two Bludgers, and the Golden Snitch. For a full treatment of the subject, see Quidditch Through the Ages or

Quidditch Through the Ages: The definitive work on the history of Quidditch, available in a Muggle edition.

Quirrell: The last name of the teacher of Defense Against the Dark Arts in Harry's first year; revealed as a servant of Voldemort and killed in a confrontation with Harry.

Etym: Nickname for a troublemaker, from Middle English/Old French querel, meaning "complaint, accusation".


Railview Hotel: A place where the Dursleys attempted to hide themselves and Harry from the Hogwarts owls.

Ravenclaw House: One of the four houses of Hogwarts, extolling the virtues of wisdom and friendship. Its symbol is an eagle, and its colors are blue and silver. Attempting to combine this with the versions of its badge appearing in the movie and on merchandise gives Azure, an eagle displayed, wings inverted, argent, which really doesn't resemble either of those versions. The house ghost is the Grey Lady.

Etym: Invented. The raven is a symbol of wisdom in Norse mythology.

Ravenclaw, Rowena: One of the founders of Hogwarts.

Etym: See above.

Red Caps: Malicious spirits which lurk where there has been a battle, or other major bloodshed.

Remembrall: An item resembling a clear marble, which flashes red when the owner has forgotten something. It is unable to indicate what has been forgotten, though.

Remus J. Lupin:

Etym: In Roman legend, Romulus and Remus were orphaned or abandoned twins who were raised by a she-wolf and went on to found Rome (named after Romulus after he killed Remus).

Reparo: An incantation to fix minor damage.

Etym: Latin, "I repair". Imperative: repare "be repaired".

Restricted Section: A part of the Hogwarts library open only to faculty, advanced students of Defense Against the Dark Arts, and other students who can get a teacher's permission. Naturally, this is where all the really interesting and useful books are kept.

Revealer: An item that can make invisible ink visible.

Rictusempra: A curse that makes the target laugh uncontrollably.

Etym: Rictus is Latin for "open mouth", and sempra is akin to various Romance languages' words for "always".

Riddle, Tom Marvolo: A star student and Head Boy about 50 years before Harry's time who opened the Chamber of Secrets and went on to a highly successful career as a master of dark wizardry under the name Voldemort.

Etym: OEW on an obscure meaning that I think is the one intended: "riddle has been used for a thousand years to mean a dark saying ... and almost as long to mean a coarse sieve, for arranging: separating chaff from corn, ashes from cinders, etc."
Beastly equation for "Tom Riddle": a=12, b=18, c=24, etc.; a=43, b=46, etc.; a=105, b=102, etc.
and for "Thomas Riddle": a=26, b=29, etc.; a=85, b=82, etc.

Riddle, Tom, senior: Tom Riddle's father, a Muggle who abandoned his wife when he learned that she was a witch. The younger Riddle is still a bit put out about this.

Riddikulus: An incantation used to counter a boggart.

Ripper (PoA ch. 2): One of Harry's Aunt Marge's favorite bulldogs.

Etym: As in Jack the...

Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts, The: A book in the Hogwarts library.

rock cakes: A type of fruitcake, meant to be hard only on top but frequently ending up hard all the way through.

Ron Weasley [Ronald]:

Etym: From a compound of the Old English words regen and weald, both of which mean "power, force, might".

Ronan: One of the centaurs living in the Forbidden Forest.

Etym: Gaelic for "seal".

Rosmerta, Madam: Proprietor of the Three Broomsticks.

Etym: Name of a Celtic goddess.

Rowena Ravenclaw: Etym: ECN: "This name seems to originate with Geoffrey of Monmouth, who gives it to the daughter of Hengist, with whom Vortigern fell in love." May be a compound of the Old English words hreod "fame" and wine "friend".

Rubeus Hagrid: Etym: From the Latin for "reddish".


salamander: In mythology, a lizardlike creature associated with fires. Its blood is an ingredient in the Strengthening Solution.

Salazar Slytherin: Etym: A name of Basque origin from the Romance sala "hall" and Basque zahar "old". Hmm...

Sally-Anne Perks: Etym: Sally is an alternate form of Sarah, Hebrew for "princess"; Anne is another form of Hannah.

Scabbers: Ron's pet rat for his first three years of school, until the rat turned out to be Peter Pettigrew in disguise.

Scamander, Newt (PS ch. 5): Author of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Etym: The name of a river mentioned by Homer, used in the late 19th century to mean "to wander about" or "to take a devious course".

Scintillation Solution: No idea. It's mentioned by the Kwikspell ad.

Scops owl: A type of owl native to sub-Saharan Africa.

Seamus Finnigan: Etym: The Irish form of James.

Secret-Keeper: The person used in a Fidelius Charm.

Seeker: The player on a Quidditch team who chases the Golden Snitch. Catching the Snitch scores 150 points and ends the match.

Serpensortia: An incantation that conjures a giant snake.

Etym: Latin serpens "snake" + something akin to French sortir "escape, go out" (a cognate to English sortie).

Severus Snape: Etym: The name of several Roman emperors, most notably Septimius Severus, who shifted the imperial power base from the nobility to the army. The word is Latin for "harsh, severe, strictly correct". Also, cognate to the later name Severian.

One Latin dictionary-- but just one out of 5 or 6 I've consulted by now-- suggests that the word may be from se verus, "one who separates the truth (from falsehood)".

Shooting Star: A brand of broom.

Shrieking Shack: A building in Hogsmeade reputed to be the most haunted structure in Britain; never actually haunted except by Remus Lupin undergoing werewolf transformations during his school years.

Shrinking Solution: A potion which appears to have the ability to age an animal backwards.

shrivelfig: I have no idea. Invented?

Shunpike, Stan: Etym: In early 20th-century US usage, "to drive along minor roads, avoiding the toll on turnpikes, or for pleasure". This may not be the direct source for Rowling's usage, but probably a similar meaning is intended.

Sibyll Trelawney: Etym: A sibyl is a female oracle or fortuneteller.

Sickle: 1/17th of a Galleon, or 29 Knuts.

Etym: "Silver sickle" is a popular poetic term for the crescent moon.

Silver Arrow: A brand of flying broom, now out of production.

Etym: This was a nickname for Mercedes-Benz race cars up to 1955, when Mercedes-Benz pulled out of racing for a while due to one of its cars being invovled in a horrific accident at a race in Le Mans. Still used sometimes for its modern race cars.

Sinistra (CoS ch. 11): The witch who teaches Astronomy at Hogwarts.

Etym: Feminine form of Latin sinister, originally meaning "left-handed"; has connotations of "strange", "abnormal", the occult, etc. A Slytherin, perhaps?

Sirius Black: Etym: Canis Major, the Dog Star.

Sites of Historical Sorcery: A book which mentions a goblin rebellion at Hogsmeade in 1612.

Skele-Gro: A medicinal concoction used to help regrow or enlarge bones.

Sleeping Draught: A potion that puts the drinker into an uninterruptible sleep.

Slytherin House: One of the four houses of Hogwarts. Its defining virtues are subject to debate: many non-Slytherins believe it selects for evil; the pure-blood faction says it's the house of the "true" wizards; the Sorting Hat and Dumbledore say determination and sneaky cleverness.

The head of the house is Professor Snape. Badge: Vert, a snake erect argent. The house ghost is the Bloody Baron.

Etym: Invented; undoubtedly meant to sound like "slithering".

Slytherin, Salazar: One of the founders of Hogwarts, and constructor of the Chamber of Secrets. He is rumored to have been a bigot about Muggle-born wizards, but one notes that the Sorting Hat has no problem placing students of Muggle ancestry in Slytherin.

Smeltings: The school that Vernon Dursley attended and which Dudley now goes to.

Etym: Probably invented from smelting.

Smethley, Veronica (CoS ch. 7): A big fan of Lockhart's.

Etym: From the name of an unspecified place, probably derived from Old English smeþe "smooth" + leeah "wood, clearing".

Snape, Severus: The Potions teacher at Hogwarts, and head of Slytherin House, who carries a grudge against Harry merely because Harry's father and his friends almost killed Snape during their school days, and then Harry's father grew up to be a famous martyr, and then Harry helped the convicted murderer Sirius Black escape after Snape had gone to rescue Harry from the aforementioned convicted murderer, not to mention the free pass Harry gets to go around breaking school rules at will.

Etym: Stated by Rowling on numerous occasions to be from a village name. The name comes from Old Norse snap or Old English snoep, meaning "poor grazing" or "winter pasture", and is still used in Sussex as a term for ground that is too boggy to cultivate. Not too far from the meaning of Nettleship.

Snowy (PS ch. 2): One of Mrs. Figg's cats.

Sonnets of a Sorcerer: A book which caused everyone who read it to speak in limericks for the rest of their lives.

Sorceror's Stone: Name for the Philosopher's Stone in US editions. The US editor felt the word "philosopher" would scare people away from buying the book.

Sorting Ceremony: How new students at Hogwarts are assigned to a house. They put on the Sorting Hat, which decides where to send them.

Sorting Hat: A sentient magical artifact which looks into the minds of new students to decide which house they should be in. Originally, it was Godric Gryffindor's hat.

Special Award for Services to the School: Awarded to Tom Riddle for unspecified reasons-- possibly for exposing Hagrid as the opener of the Chamber of Secrets.

Spellotape: What Ron fixed his wand with.

Etym: A pun on Sellotape, the British term for Scotch tape.

Spinnet, Alicia (PS ch. 11): A Chaser for the Gryffindor Quidditch team, two years ahead of Harry.

Etym: May be derived from a name used to mean a thorn bush or the crest of a hill. Also, a spinet is an instrument resembling a harpsichord.

Spore, Phyllida (PS ch. 5): Author of One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi.

Etym: Meant to mean what it looks like.

Sprout: The witch who teaches Herbology at Hogwarts.

Etym: Derived from an Old English name possibly also meaning "sprout".

Squib: A person of magical parentage who has no magical powers.

Etym: A term from the 1800s, referring to a firework that produces only a slight explosion. Earlier, applied to persons, could mean mean, insignificant, or paltry.

squid, giant: A denizen of the lake adjoining Hogwarts, something along these lines.

Stan Shunpike [Stanley]:

Etym: From a place name derived from Old English staan "stone" + leeah "wood, clearing". Perhaps used as a reference to the explorer?

Standard Book of Spells, The: Name of a series of basic spell textbooks used at Hogwarts.

Statute of Secrecy: The law stating that wizard activity should be kept secret from Muggle society.

St. Brutus's Secure Center for Incurably Criminal Boys: Where the Dursleys now claim Harry is going to school.

Etym: Can't find anything on any such saint but the name is cognate to "brutal".

Stink Pellets: Things available at Zonko's Joke Shop.

St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries: The current residence of Gilderoy Lockhart, hidden behind the storefront of Purge and Dowse Ltd. in London.

Etym: St. Mungo, proper name Kentigern, is the patron saint of Glasgow. The name is Gaelic, meaning "amiable" or "my dear friend".

Stonewall: The name of the local comprehensive school (what in the US would be a public combined high school and junior high) Harry was going to be sent to before he knew about Hogwarts.

Study of Ancient Runes: A class Hermione started taking in her third year.

Study of Recent Developments in Wizardry, A: A book in the Hogwarts library.

sugar quills: Wizard candies cunningly disguised as the quills students write with in class.

Supreme Mugwump: One of Dumbledore's titles.

Surrey: The area in which Little Whinging is located. Surrey is fairly thick with businessmen who commute to London.

Susan Bones: Etym: From the the Hebrew Shushannah, "lily", the name of the heroine of the Book of Susannah, an apocryphal addition to the Book of Daniel.

Swelling Solution: A potion that causes whatever it touches to inflate.

Switch, Emeric (PS ch. 5): Author of A Beginner's Guide to Transformation.

Etym: What it looks like.

Switching Spells: Spells used in Transfiguration.


Tail-Twig Clippers: Part of a broom maintenance kit.

Tarantallegra: An incantation that makes the target dance uncontrollably.

Etym: From Italian tarantella, a type of dance, and allegra "fast" (also a musical term).

Ted [Theodore] (PS ch. 1): Name of a newsreader the Dursleys watch.

Etym: Greek, "god's gift".

Terence Higgs: Etym: From Latin Terentius, the name of a Roman gens of unknown etymology.

Terry Boot [Terence]:

Etym: See above.

Thomas, Dean (PS ch. 7): A Gryffindor, the same year as Harry. From a Muggle family, he is a big fan of the West Ham soccer team.

Etym: From Aramaic meaning "twin". We can also consider Thomas the Rhymer, a 13th century Scottish poet and prophet who in popular lore is connected with Merlin.

Three Broomsticks: The pub in Hogsmeade.

Tibbles (PS ch. 2): One of Mrs. Figg's cats.

Tom (PoA ch. 3): The proprietor of The Leaky Cauldron.

Tom Marvolo Riddle [Thomas]:

Etym: From an Aramaic word meaning "twin". One of the twelve apostles, whose real name may have been Judah; the nickname would have been used to distinguish him from Judah the brother of James (St. Jude), and Judah of Kerioth (Judas Iscariot).

Toothflossing Stringmints: A type of candy available at Honeydukes.

trading cards: See Famous Witches and Wizards.

Transfiguration: One of the basic subjects at Hogwarts, it concerns the changing of things from one form to another. The Transfiguration teacher is Professor McGonagall.

Transfiguration Today: A wizard publication.

Transmogrifian Torture: A deadly spell that Lockhart claimed to know about.

Travels with Trolls: One of Gilderoy Lockhart's books.

Trelawney, Sibyll: The Divination instructor and constant predictor of woe.

Etym: Placename, from Cornish tre "homestead, settlement" + an element of unknown meaning.

Trevor (PS ch. 6): Neville Longbottom's toad.

Etym: From Welsh tre(f) "homestead, settlement" + mawr "large", or Gaelic Ó Treabhair, from a byname meaning "industrious, prudent".

trifle: A confection made of layers of sherry-soaked sponge cake, jelly, and custard, usually topped with whipped cream and fruit.

Trimble, Quentin (PS ch. 5): Author of The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection.

Etym: From an Old English personal name, formed from trum "strong, firm" + beald "bold, brave". On the other hand, also an obsolete form of tremble.

trolls: Large, stupid humanoid creatures that like to fight with clubs.

True Seer: One with the gift of prophecy.

tubeworms: This term covers a whole range of polychaete worms.

Tufty (PS ch. 2): One of Mrs. Figg's cats.

Turpin, Lisa (PS ch. 7): A Ravenclaw, same year as Harry.

Etym: A number of possibilities here, but my favorite is Dick Turpin (1706-1739), an English highwayman, the subject of Rookwood.


Undetectable Poisons: Harry had to write an essay on them for Potions class, so apparently they do exist in the wizard world.

Unfogging the Future: The textbook for the Divination class.

unicorns: Horselike creatures with a single horn, symbolizing absolute purity. (In medieval art, the unicorn was actually a single-horned goat.) Unicorn hairs are used as the cores of some wands.

Uric the Oddball: Some historical personage who could be confused with Emeric the Evil.

Etym: None found.


Vablatsky, Cassandra (PoA ch. 4): The author of Unfogging the Future.

Etym: "Madam" Helena Petrovna Blavatsky was one of the most famous spiritualists, and the founder of modern theosophy.

vampires: Essentially, semi-human creatures who drink blood; the details of the legend have gone through many variations over the centuries. Rowling's vampires retain the aversion to garlic, though the exact mechanism by which it wards them off is yet to be explained; they are also recognizable in part by being very pale and gaunt. Modern Dracula-inspired mythology insists on a kinship with bats and a predilection for wearing black. Okay, kids, now keep a sharp lookout!

Vanishing Spell: Might be something to render a person invisible or unnoticed, or another term for Apparation.

Vauxhall Road: A major thoroughfare in London. Tom Riddle bought a diary there.

Vector: Last name of the witch who teaches Arithmancy at Hogwarts.

Etym: From the mathematical term.

Venemous Tentacula: A spiky, dark red plant that has teeth.

Vernon Dursley: Etym: Alternative for vernal in 1658, or a surname derived from a common placename in France.

Veronica Smethley: Etym: Corrupted form of Latin vera icona, "true image". St. Veronica is a legendary figure who is said to have wiped perspiration from Jesus's face as he carried his cross; the cloth used retained an image. Also the name of a plant genus.

Vincent Crabbe: Etym: From a derivative of Latin vincens, "conquering". The name of a 3rd century martyr, and St. Vincent de Paul (1580-1660), remembered for his clinics and works of charity. A bit closer to the character we're talking about, also used in 1592 to mean the dupe in a betting game.

Vindictus Viridian: Etym: From the same root as vindictive and meaning pretty much the same thing.

Viridian, Vindictus (PS ch. 5): Author of Curses and Countercurses.

Etym: Strong green; technically, Veronese green. In this case, the green of jealousy or envy.

Voldemort: The Dark Lord; He Who Must Not Be Named. His rule was cut short by a curse that rebounded on him when he tried to kill the infant Harry and left him a shapeless wraith. Wand: 13 1/2", yew and phoenix feather.

Etym: Probably derived from French vol-de-mort, "flight of death". Beastly equation for "L*rd V*ld*m*rt": a=30, b=33, etc.

Voyages with Vampires: One of Gilderoy Lockhart's books.


Waddiwasi: A spell used by Lupin to eject some chewing gum from a keyhole.

Etym: Possibly the first element is as in a wad of gum... no idea otherwise.

Waffling, Adalbert: Author of Magical Theory.

Etym: No etymology.

Wagga Wagga Werewolf: A beast that Lockhart claimed to have cured with the Homorphus Charm. Wagga Wagga is a city in Australia.

Wailing Widow (CoS ch. 8): A ghost from Kent who came to Nearly Headless Nick's 500th deathday celebration.

Walden Macnair: Etym: From Old English wealh "foreigner, Briton, serf" + denu "valley".

wands: An essential tool for a wizard, used in nearly all magic (a notable exception being potions). Wands have four distinguishing characteristics: length, flexibility, the material used in the core, and the wood used for the exterior.

Wand cores are taken from magical animals: phoenix feathers, unicorn hairs,and dragon heartstrings have been mentioned so far. The core determines the "identity" of the wand. The significance of the wood used and the flexibility of the wand are not clear, but it appears to affect the type of magic it is best suited for. This lexicographer hesitates to offer a hypothesis on the significance of wand length.

Wanderings with Werewolves: One of Gilderoy Lockhart's books.

Warbeck, Celestina (CoS ch. 3): The Singing Sorceress, as featured on Witching Hour.

Etym: No name etymology found, but this was the name of a piano manufacturer. There is also a British musician and composer named Stephen Warbeck.

Warlocks' Convention: Some kind of rule-making body or event. One in 1709 outlawed dragon breeding.

Warrington (PoA ch. 15): A Chaser on the Slytherin Quidditch team.

Etym: From a town in Lancashire, from Old English Woeringtun, "settlement by a weir".

Weasley, Arthur [Wesseley]: The head of the Weasley clan; Ron's father.

Etym: Variation of the Russian patronymic Veselov, from a nickname meaning "cheerful".

Weasley, Bill: The oldest of the Weasley children. He became Head Boy during his time at Hogwarts and is now a curse-breaker for Gringotts.

Weasley, Charlie: Second-oldest of the Weasley children, he became captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team when he was a student. Now, he is studying dragons in Romania.

Etym: See above.

Weasley, Fred and George: Twins, 2 years older than Harry and Ron, who are the Beaters on the Gryffindor Quidditch team, and inveterate pranksters.

Etym: See above.

Weasley, Ginny: Ron's sister, a year younger than him and Harry, and also a Gryffindor.

Etym: See above.

Weasley, Molly: Ron's long-suffering mother.

Etym: See above.

Weasley, Percy: One of Ron's older brothers, he became a prefect in Harry's first year and Head Boy in Harry's third. Noted for being fussy, rule-oriented, and in many other ways being the Arnold Rimmer of his class.

Etym: See above.

Weasley, Ron: Harry's best friend, a Gryffindor in the same year; the perfect sidekick in that he has no existence worth noting outside Harry's presence. Wand: 14", willow and unicorn hair.

Etym: See above.

Wendelin the Weird (PoA ch. 1): A witch who was burned 47 times in various guises.

Etym: From gwen, "fair".

werewolf: So far the werewolves here appear to be the standard Western model, infected by another werewolf and turning into an unthinking man-eater when a full moon is above the horizon. A partial antidote to lycanthropy exists in the Wolfsbane Potion.

Werewolf Code of Conduct: Enacted in 1637, the specifics have not been given.

Which Broomstick: The definitive reference on all brands of broom.

Whizzing Worms: Something available in Hogsmeade; probably from Dervish and Banges.

Whomping Willow: A magical tree growing on the Hogwarts grounds which has an urge to batter anyone and anything in its reach, though it can be temporarily paralyzed by touching a certain spot on its trunk. This particular one was planted to guard the secret passage from Hogwarts to the Shrieking Shack.

willow: Any shrub or tree of the genus Salix, grown variously for ornament, shade, or timber. Willow bark is the source for salicin, the parent of a whole set of pain relievers.

Wingardium Leviosa: The incantation for a levitation charm.

Etym: From wing or something similar, and Latin levis, "light".

Witching Hour: A wizard radio program.

Witch Weekly: A weekly publication focusing on soft news; something along the lines of People for wizards.

wolfsbane: see monkshood.

Wolfsbane Potion: A potion which can cancel the mental effects of a werewolf's transformation, allowing them to remain sane. Rendered ineffective by the addition of sugar.

Wood, Oliver: A Gryffindor, 4 years ahead of Harry, who is the Keeper and captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team.

Etym: What it sounds like.

Wormtail: Peter Pettigrew's nickname among James Potter's gang.

wormwood: Artemisia Absinthium, used as a tonic and vermifuge. One of the ingredients of the Draught of Living Death.


X: The 24th letter of the modern alphabet and the 21st of the Roman, corresponding in form and position to the Greek xi. The early Greek forms represented the aspirate voiceless velar kh in the Ionian alphabet and ks in the Chaldean. The ancient Roman name of the letter was ix, and the Romans used it for the ks sound. Its earliest use in English was as a medial and final alternate spelling of cs.

In modern usage, x is a marker, a metasyntactic variable, and a symbol for the unknown. It is not, however, the beginning of any names or terms relevant to any of the Harry Potter books.


Year with the Yeti: One of Gilderoy Lockhart's books.

yew: Trees and shrubs of the genus Taxus. The timber trees produce a wood that is hard, finegrained, and heavy, and was once popular for cabinetry, tools, and bows. In British folklore, it's associated with death.

Yorkshire: A region of northern England.

Yorkshire pudding: A floury batter cooked until crisp on top, usually served with roast meats.

Yvonne (PS ch. 2): Petunia Dursley's friend.

Etym: French name, possibly from Old German Iv "yew".


Zabini, Blaise (PS ch. 7): A Slytherin in the same year as Harry.

Etym: Derives from the name of the Sabine tribe. Probably no special meaning here.

Zonko's Joke Shop: The pranksters' supply house in Hogsmeade.

Etym: Zonko is an invention from or variation of zonky.