ByMeghann Elisa, writer at
'Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?'
Meghann Elisa

It's pretty common knowledge that J.K. Rowling is a literary genius. Back in the 1990s, she created a meticulously magical universe that grew into one of the most successful book and film franchises of our time and still, decades later, newly discovered details continue to demonstrate her brilliance.

The latest bit of wizarding world wisdom to do the rounds can be found in the names of the characters. The guys over at Mental Floss took the time to dissect the names of some of our favorite magical people and research their origins — and the results are really rather fascinating.

It turns out that many of the names have a real meaning rooted in Latin, French or Spanish, and were chosen specifically for their aptness, relevance and context. Who'd have thought that a foreign language lesson could be so interesting?! Check out the full video clip below:

Here's where a few more Harry Potter names came from.

Posted by mental_floss on Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Since my mind was pretty much blown by this, I thought I'd dig a little deeper and see if I could find any others. Here are some of the most interesting discoveries:

Cho Chang

"Cho" is Japanese for "very, extremely" and "chang" signifies a person that is quick thinking and to the point.

Vincent Crabbe & Gregory Goyle

If you switch the first letters of Crabbe and Goyle, you get 'grab' and 'coil' which is what a snake does to its prey.

Albus Dumbledore

"Albus" means "white" in Latin and "dumbledore" is an English word for "bumblebee."

Petunia Dursley & Lily Potter (nee Evans)

The petunia flower symbolizes anger and resentment, whereas the lily symbolizes purity and innocence.

Cornelius Fudge

Saint Cornelius's reign was marked by the controversy over the lapsed (renouncers of Christianity who were under persecution), before he was exiled and succeeded by Saint Lucius. "Fudge" can mean "to evade or dodge."

Alastor 'Mad Eye' Moody

"Alastor" means "avenger" in Greek mythology and "moody" of course means "given to changeable moods; temperamental."


The Nagas are a group of half-human and half-snake deities that live in Malaysia and India. It was said that the Naga would ultimately destroy the world with fire.

Stan Shunpike

A "shunpike" is a side road used to avoid the toll or traffic on a highway.

Severus Snape

"Severus" is Latin for "stern, harsh" and to "snape" someone means to rebuke or hurt them.

It's kind of insane to think about the painstaking attention to detail that J.K. Rowling applied when creating the wizarding world. There is just so much intelligent thought behind it all and that is just one of the reasons why we love Harry Potter.

Which name origin do you find the most interesting?

Sources: Mental Floss, The Nine Muses


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