The Akashic Record: S

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| A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Spoilers to end of: Book 1 | Book 2 | Book 3 | Book 4 | Book 5 | Book 6 | Book 7 | Full Spoilers |
Abbreviations & Sources | Contributions
sage (OotP ch. 27): Any plant of the genus Salvia, but particularly S. officinalis, believed in medieval times to strengthen the memory and promote wisdom. Centaurs burn it to try to divine the future.

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...

Salem Witches' Institute: A contingent from there came to the Quidditch World Cup. Might be the wizard equivalent to MIT.

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

Saucy Tricks for Tricky Sorts: A book in the Hogwarts library.

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.

Scourgify (OotP ch. 3): The incantation for the Scouring Charm.

Etym: Modification of scourge in the sense of its Latin root, "to strip off the hide of".

Scouring Charm: A cleaning spell. Incantation: Scourgify.

Screaming Yo-yos: A toy banned from Hogwarts.

screech owl: Refers to several species of owl, the most common ones being the western and eastern screech owls.

Screechsnap (OotP ch. 25): Another plant in fifth-year Herbology which probably does what it sounds like.

Scrimgeour (OotP ch. 7): Someone (likely among the Aurors) becoming suspicious about what Tonks and Shacklebolt are up to.

Etym: From Old French eskermisseour, meaning fencer (related to skirmisher). The modern Earls of Dundee have the surname Scrymgeour-Wedderburn.

Scrivenshaft's Quill Shop (OotP ch. 16): A shop in Hogsmeade.

Etym: Scriven as in "carved", shaft as in that of a feather quill.

scrofungulus (OotP ch. 22): A contagious magical malady.

Etym: Looks like a conflation of scrofula and fungus. Might be a fungal infection of the lymph nodes.

scurvy-grass (OotP ch. 18): Cochlearia officinalis, at one time believed to help with scurvy. A common ingredient in Confusing Draughts and Befuddlement Draughts.

Seamus Finnigan: Etym: The Irish form of James.

Secrecy Sensor: A device that vibrates when it detects concealment and lies.

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.

Self-Correcting Ink (OotP ch. 31): A banned item at O.W.L. examinations.

Self-Defensive Spellwork (OotP ch. 18): A book found in the Room of Requirement by Dumbledore's Army.

Self-Fertilizing Shrubs (OotP ch. 14): Presumably this means plants which make their own compost, since the other possible interpretation actually exists in the real world.

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).

Severing Charm: A spell to cut things apart. Incantation: Diffindo.

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)".

Shacklebolt, Kingsley (OotP ch. 3): A member of the Order of the Phoenix; an Auror who has spent the past three years carefully not tracking down Sirius Black.

Etym: Just English shackle and bolt (as in a lock).

shade: Term used here for the manifestations brought out of Voldemort's wand by the Priori Incantatem effect, until we get to find out the proper word. The shades are echoes of some sort of targets of the Killing Curse. While Dumbledore says they aren't proper ghosts (speculation: not connected to the actual soul of the person represented), they do retain personality and memories and have some ability to interact with material objects.

The shades formed by this effect are those of James Potter, Lily Potter, Bertha Jorkins, Frank Bryce, and Cedric Diggory.

Shield Charm: A general-purpose spell-blocker which can reflect attacks back at their originator. Incantation: Protego.

Shock Spells (OotP ch. 26): Administered at St. Mungo's Hospital. Sounds roughly equivalent to electroshock therapy.

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.

Silencing Charm (OotP ch. 18): A spell that silences the target. Incantation: Silencio.

Silencio (OotP ch. 18): The incantation for the Silencing Charm.

Etym: Portuguese, "silence".

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.

Skeeter, Rita: Star reporter for the Witch Weekly, a perky and go-getting newspaper gal who lets nothing stand in the way of a good story, least of all the facts.

Etym: From the Old Norse byname Skyótr, meaning "swift". Here, could also be from the slang abbreviation of mosquito.

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

skinning: In Quidditch, a deliberate attempt at collision with another player.

Skiving Snackbox (OotP ch. 6): A product of Weasley's Wizard Wheezes which contains an assortment of treats for producing a brief sickness to get out of class. They include Blood Blisterpods, Fever Fudge, Nosebleed Nougat, and Puking Pastilles.

Sleekeazy's Hair Potion: A wizard beauty product, tedious to use but sometimes worth it.

Sleeping Draft: Alternate spelling for Sleeping Draught.

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

Sleeping Potion: Another alternate for the Sleeping Draught.

Slinkhard, Wilbert (OotP ch. 9): The author of Defensive Magical Theory.

Etym: None found, so probably what it looks like. Yup, another Slytherin...

Sloper, Jack (OotP ch. 21): A replacement Beater on the Gryffindor Quidditch team.

Etym: Akin to Old English sluupan "to slip".

Sloth Grip Roll (OotP ch. 16): A Quidditch move that would seem to involve hanging upside down.

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. For more on this topic, see "In Defense of Slytherin".

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".

Smethwyck, Hippocrates (OotP ch. 22): The Healer in charge of the Dai Llewellyn Ward.

Etym: None found.

Smith, Zacharias (OotP ch. 16): A Hufflepuff who is on their Quidditch team and is a member of Dumbledore's Army.

Etym: Originally an occupational name for a metalworker.

Snape, Severus: The Potions teacher at Hogwarts; head of Slytherin House; a former Death Eater who turned spy before Voldemort's downfall (or maybe was a spy all along); a member of the Order of the Phoenix; and general doer of things to keep dark forces under control at the school, even though everything he does ends up being misinterpreted. Also spends a lot of time in a foul mood. Can't imagine why...

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.

sneezewort (OotP ch. 18): Could refer to either Achillea ptarmica or Veratrum album. A common ingredient in Confusing Draughts and Befuddlement Draughts.

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

Snuffles: Sirius Black's nickname in his Animagus form as he lurks around Hogsmeade pretending to be a lovable stray.

Society for the Protection of Elfish Welfare: Hermione's first attempt at creating a political movement to push for house-elf rights, superseded by the House-Elf Liberation Front.

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

Sonorus: An incantation which magnifies the target's voice immensely.

Etym: Altered spelling of sonorous.

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.

spattergroit (OotP ch. 23): A magical malady that a portrait in St. Mungo's Hospital thought Ron had.

Etym: Groit is a Scottish variation of groat, so maybe an affliction that causes a lot of small-coin-sized spots.

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.

Spellman's Syllabary (OotP ch. 26): A book Hermione was studying from for the Ancient Runes class.

Spellotape: What Ron fixed his wand with.

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

S.P.E.W.: The Society for the Protection of Elfish Welfare.

Spinnet, Alicia (PS ch. 11): A Chaser for the Gryffindor Quidditch team, two years ahead of Harry, and a member of Dumbledore's Army.

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.

Spirit Division (OotP ch. 7): A section of the Ministry of Magic that deals with relations with the dead.

splinched: Caught between one place and another due to a failed Apparation.

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

Etym: Meant to mean what it looks like.

spotted dick: Alas, this is merely a type of pudding with raisins being the spots.

Sprout: The witch who teaches Herbology at Hogwarts; also, head of Hufflepuff House.

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.

Stealth Sensoring Spell (OotP ch. 32): Some kind of passive detection spell.

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".

Stebbins senior (OotP ch. 28): A student at Hogwarts at the same time as Harry's parents.

Etym: See below.

Stebbins (GoF ch. 23): A Hufflepuff, year unknown.

Etym: From a derivative of Old English stubb, "tree stump".

Stewart Ackerley: Etym: From a variation of steward.

Stimpson, Patricia (OotP ch. 12): A student two years ahead of Harry, house unknown.

Etym: Patronymic from Stephen, from the Greek word for "crown".

Stinging Hex (OotP ch. 24): A minor attack spell that produces a welt on the target.

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

Stinkpellet (OotP ch. 28): Another spelling for Stink Pellet.

stinksap (OotP ch. 10): A particularly awful substance produced as a defensive mechanism by Mimbulus mimbletonia.

St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries: The current residence of Frank Longbottom, his wife, and 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".

Stoatshead Hill: Where Harry and some of the Weasleys caught a Portkey to the site of the Quidditch World Cup.

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.

Strengthening Solution (OotP ch. 15): A potion Harry had to make in class.

Strout, Miriam (OotP ch. 25): A healer at St. Mungo's Hospital.

Etym: Can't find this one.

Stubby Boardman: Etym: Generally used as a nickname for a short and thick-set person.

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.

Stunner: Short way of referring to Stunning Spell.

Stunning Spell: A spell intended to knock out the target. Very large or tough targets can take the combined efforts of several casters to stun. Incantation: Stupefy.

Stupefy: The incantation for a Stunning Spell.

Etym: Just English.

Sturgis Podmore: Etym: From Old Norse þorr (the god) + gils "hostage, pledge".

Substantive Charm (OotP ch. 31): Not described; possibly the reverse of a Vanishing Spell.

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

Summerby (OotP ch. 26): The new Seeker on the Hufflepuff Quidditch team.

Summers (GoF ch. 16): Hufflepuff, year unknown, who tried to age himself to be a candidate for the Triwizard Tournament.

Etym: As a surname, a nickname for someone with a warm or sunny disposition, or associated with summer in some other way.

Summoning Charm: A spell that causes the target to fly through the air to the caster. Incantation: Accio plus (usually) the name of the target.

Supreme Mugwump: One of Dumbledore's titles, which appears to be bestowed by the International Confederation of Wizards.

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.

Susan Bones, Amelia: Etym: See above.

Swedish Short-Snout: A breed of dragon.

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.

Index & Introduction | Format
| A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Spoilers to end of: Book 1 | Book 2 | Book 3 | Book 4 | Book 5 | Book 6 | Book 7 | Full Spoilers |
Abbreviations & Sources | Contributions

Petréa Mitchell