JK Rowling’s fictional world brought with it many new words, one of which was even added to the Oxford English Dictionary back in 2013. From spells and sports, to magical creatures and methods of transport, anyone who has read the series will have seen their vocabulary increase tenfold.

With the release of the first Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them instalment just three days away, we have listed fifteen terms coined by JK Rowling that every Harry Potter fan should know.

 

No-Maj

The American term for non-magical people (the word ‘Muggle’ is used by witches and wizards in the UK).

E.g. Walking through the streets of New York, it’s hard to distinguish between one No-Maj and another.

 

Squib

 A person who is born to magical parents but does not possess any magical powers themselves.

E.g. Unfortunately the Hogwarts caretaker, Argus Filch, was born a Squib.

 

Mudblood

A derogatory term for a person possessing magical powers, despite the fact they were born to non-magical parents.

E.g. I would ask that you don’t refer to her as a Mudblood, as it is quite offensive.

 

Quidditch

A sport played by witches and wizards on broomsticks. The game is played on a pitch with three hoops at each end, and seven players on a team. The Chasers attempt to score points by throwing the quaffle (a large, leather-bound ball) through the hoops; the Keeper must stop the Chasers from scoring. Each successful goal is worth 10 points. All players must avoid being injured by the bludgers (heavy, metal balls), with help from the Beaters. The Seeker must catch the golden snitch (a small, flying ball) to secure 150 points for their team and end the game, being careful to catch it only when their current score plus the 150 points is enough to beat their opponents.

E.g. Tomorrow night, Ron and I are going to watch the Quidditch match.

 

Animagus

A witch or wizard who can turn themselves into an animal at will.

E.g. Professor McGonagall is an Animagus; she can turn into a cat whenever she pleases.

 

Horcrux

An object which has part of a person’s soul concealed within it. Dark witches or wizards create Horcruxes as a means of attaining immortality. In order to create a Horcrux, a person must first intentionally commit murder.

E.g. Slughorn was foolish to disclose information about Horcrux creation to Tom Riddle.

 

Apparition

A means of transporting from one place to another used by witches and wizards over the age of seventeen. The person wishing to apparate must concentrate on the destination they wish to reach, and will then disappear and instantly reappear at their desired location. People must successfully pass an apparition test in order to apparate legally.

E.g. If you need to get somewhere quickly, it’d be a good idea to learn apparition.

 

Auror

Someone who has been trained to investigate crimes related to Dark magic. Aurors are usually employed by their country’s governing organisation within the wizarding world, such as the Ministry of Magic.

E.g. When Hogwarts students attended a session on career planning, Harry started thinking about becoming an Auror.

 

Death Eater

The term assigned to those who are loyal followers of Lord Voldemort. Death Eaters are easily distinguished by their skull and snake tattoos on their left forearms, which are known as Dark Marks.

E.g. Once you decide to follow Voldemort and take the Dark Mark, you’ll forever be known as a Death Eater.

 

Boggart

A shape-shifter which takes the form of whatever frightens the person it faces most.

E.g. When I faced the boggart, it transformed into a giant moth.

 

Dementor

A Dark creature which feeds on the happiness of those surrounding it, once employed by the Ministry to guard the wizard prison, Azkaban. Dementors are capable of administering a fate thought to be worse than death, known as the Dementor’s Kiss - the act of sucking out a person’s soul – which was often served as a sentence to the wizarding world’s most serious offenders.

E.g. If you walk past a Dementor, you will feel as though there is no happiness left in the world.

 

Hippogriff

An animal which has the front legs, wings, and head of a giant eagle and the body, hind legs and tail of a horse.

E.g. You must take a bow before approaching a Hippogriff, otherwise it may attack you.

 

Howler

A letter that has been bewitched to read the sender’s message aloud to the recipient. A Howler rises in physical temperature once it has been delivered and will explode if left unopened. Senders use Howlers if they want to convey messages of anger.

E.g. Neville’s grandmother was angry that he lost his toad, so she sent him a Howler.

 

Legilimency

The act of magically accessing another person’s thoughts and being able to interpret and influence what they’re thinking and feeling.

E.g. Voldemort used Legilimency to exploit Harry’s inability to close his mind.

 

Occlumency

The act of magically closing your mind against those who are trying to use Legilimency to access and influence your thoughts.

E.g. Draco learned Occlumency for fear that Voldemort would be able to find out what he was thinking. 

 

Discover more about Harry Potter and how JK Rowling picked her characters’ names in our previous blog post.