posted by vanillaicecream
Aberforth - In Gaelic, it means "from the river." It is also the name of a small corporation in Edinburgh.
Ambrosius Flume - As the founder of Honeydukes, his first name most likely comes from the word "ambrosia," which is especially sweet and delicious. A "flume" is a "narrow tunnel" that usually has something flowing through it. Combining the names, he can be seen as a supplier of sweets. Coincidentally, there is also an underground tunnel that connects Hogwarts and Honeydukes.
Abraxas (Malfoy) - The supreme Gnostic Deity. Had the body of a man, the head of a cock, and serpents for feet. This image depicts him holding a shield and whip. In some stories, he is referred to as a demon. It is believed "Abra-cadabra" originated from his name.
Alastor - Similar to Alistair or Alisdair. It is the Scottish (Gaelic) form of Alexander. It means "defender of mankind." It is an appropriate name for an Auror and a character responsible for protecting the magical world by apprehending evil wizards.
Albus - In Latin, it means "white" (maybe for white beard). Wisdom. Albinus was Governor of Britain at the death of the Emperor Pertinax. Decimus Clodius Albinus attempted to seize the throne but ended up in alliance with another imperial contender, Septimius Severus. After Severus defeated two other rivals (Voldemort and... maybe Slytherin?), the now expendable Albinus was forced into another attempt at usurpation, an attempt that came to an end at the bloody battle of Lyon.
Alecto - One of the Death Eaters who broke into Hogwarts. In Greek mythology, Alecto was one of the Furies. Her name is derived from the Greek "alektos," meaning "unceasing in anger."
Alphard - Perhaps derived from the dominant star in the constellation Alpha Hydra, the Water Serpent (a Slytherin reference?). Alphard can mean "the heart of the serpent" or in Arabic, "the solitary one." It lies to the southwest of the brighter star Regulus.
Amos (Diggory) - In the Bible, Amos was a prophet who tried to make the people understand that without morals and prayers, salvation wouldn't come.
Amycus - Another Death Eater who broke into Hogwarts. In Greek mythology, the son of Poseidon and Melia, a champion boxer and king of mythical people.
Andromeda (Tonks) - In Greek mythology, Andromeda should be married to her uncle Phineus but marries Perseus, the famous hero, instead. (Andromeda Black marries Ted Tonks, a Muggle, and is erased from the family tree). Phineus sounds like Phineas Nigellus, Sirius' great-great-grandfather. In the Old Testament, Phineas kills an Israelite man for being in love with a woman who belongs to another ethnical group. As our Phineas was a Slytherin teacher, this can't be coincidence!
Ariana - of Welsh origin meaning "silver." Also a derivation of the Greek “Ariadne” meaning ‘most Holy.’
Arabella - Name translates as "prayerful." Also means "eagle" or "heroine." "Eagle eye" is slang for someone who is very attentive and watches over something or someone. She was possibly given this name since she watches over Harry.
Aragog - "Arachnid" means spider and "Gog" was the name of a legendary giant. Combined, the name means "giant spider." Also possibly derived from the Greek word "agog," meaning "leader."
Arcturus – The fourth brightest star in the sky, located within the handle of ‘The Plough.’ Its name derives from Ancient Greek, meaning "bear guard"; this refers to the story in Greek mythology that Zeus placed Arcturus in the sky to look after Arcas and Callisto, who were turned into bears and then into the constellations Ursa Major and Ursa Minor to protect them from Hera's wrath.
Argus - In Greek mythology, Argus was a monster that had a hundred eyes and was ever-so-watchful. The name "Argus" means "bright and watchful." Sounds like Filch.
Arthur - Could represent King Arthur. The legend presents Arthur as a leader in ancient times who defeated the Saxons and other enemies, thereby uniting the people of Britain in peace and harmony. Arthur Weasley sounds like Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, who won the Battler of Waterloo.
Bagman - A person who collects money, as for racketeers.
Bagshot – A town in Surrey, England. The name is thought to be derived from a tribe (bacca) and the Anglo-saxon word for “The place of” (sheatte) meaning “the place of Bacca’s tribe” though Bag could also mean badger, “the place of the Badger”, creating a reference to Hufflepuff.
Bathilda - The name Bathilda is of Old German origin, and its meaning is "woman warrior". Saint Bathild was a young English girl who became queen of the Franks in the seventh century. She was canonized for opposing the then-flourishing slave trade, and also for founding a convent.
Bane - Means "nemesis," "bringer of ruin," "pernicious to well-being," "the agent or instrument of ruin or woe," or in Old English "slayer" or "murderer."
Bellatrix - "Bella" is a construct of the word "bellum" meaning "war" and "trix" refers to "a woman in power." Bellatrix is therefore known as the "Female Warrior" and is also the pale yellow star indicating the left shoulder of the constellation Orion, the Great Hunter.
Blaise - Blaise was the teacher of Merlin. From the Roman name Blasius, which means "lisping." From the Latin "blaesus." A famous bearer was Blaise Pascal, a French mathematician and philosopher.
Binns, Professor - A "bin" is what the British call "a garbage can." Many students consider Professor Binns' information to be rubbish. In Northern England, "Binns" is a slang term for glasses, possibly referring to the professor's academic nature.
Bode - To be an omen. When things are said to not "bode" well for somebody, it usually implies dark times ahead. It also means "a stop or delay."
Brian - From Old Celtic "bre" meaning "hill" or by extension "high, noble." Brian Boru was an Irish king who thwarted Viking attempts to conquer Ireland in the 11th century. He was victorious in the Battle of Clontarf, but he himself was slain. People associate Brian as a last name but believe it's derived from Brian Boru.
Bullstrode - A "bull" is "an adult male bovine animal" and "strode" means to "be astride of" or "straddle."
Burke - Most likely named after the famous murderer and body snatcher William Burke. He used to operate in Edinburgh around 1740, and considering J.K. Rowling comes from Edinburgh, this is too much of a coincidence. Burke and his partner suffocated a bunch of people in their rooming house and sold the bodies to the local medical school. Following this, it became illegal to use cadavers in medical education. As a result, the process of killing someone to sell their body is known as "burking."
Cadogan, Sir - Cadogan is a Welsh name meaning "terrible and fierce in battle." This name fits the fiesty knight whose portrait hangs on the seventh floor very close to the South Tower.
Caratacus - the Latin version of the old Welsh name Caradog, meaning '"beloved."
Cassandra - A prophetess. The daughter of Priam, king of Troy. She foresaw the fall of Troy. After spurning Apollo's amorous advances, the sun god gave Cassandra the gift of prophecy (with the catch that no one would ever believe her).
Cedric - Old English for "chief" or "warleader."
Charlie - A diminutive of Charles, which means "manly" and "strong."
Cho Chang - Cho is Japanese for "butterfly" and in Chinese means "autumn." Chang is Chinese for "free" or "unhindered." In Chinese, "chou chang" means "melancholy."
Colin - Means "youth, child, or victor." Also means "young dog," which fits his devotion to Harry.
Cormac (McLaggan) - Cormac is of Irish (Gaelic) origin meaning "charioteer." Also means "son of defilement." Cormac was the son of a King in Celtic legend. He was on a mission when he was put under a spell by a jealous lover of one of his competitors. Funny how Hermione puts Cormac under a spell during Quidditch tryouts so Ron can get on the team.
Cornelius - See Lucius.
Cole, Mrs. - Similar to role she plays as head of Tom Riddle's orphanage in Half-Blood Prince, in Jane Austen's Emma, there is a character named Mrs. Cole who serves much of the same role. We all know this is one of Jo's favorite books.
Creevey – A common surname. From Irish origin, meaning ‘prolific’ – possibly a reference to the creevey brothers’ persistence or from "Creeve" ="to burst," suggesting the Creevey brothers' excitability.
Crookshanks - "Crook" comes from "crooked," meaning "bent or not straight," and "shank" is a "leg or a leg-like part." J.K. Rowling said herself she gave Hermione's cat "bandy-legs" and Crookshanks is often described as being "bow-legged."
Dedalus (Diggle) - Daedalus was a famous Athenian inventor from Greek mythology who built the Labyrinth for King Minos and helped make wings for himself and his son, Icarus, amongst other things. Read more about Daedalus here.
Demelza (Robbins) - Demelza House is Dan Radcliffe's favorite charity.
Diggory - Could be an allusion to Digory Kirke, a character from The Chronicles of Narnia, specifically The Magician's Nephew. He grew up to be the Professor in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. This character had a strong sense of right and wrong, was loyal to his friends, kept his promises, and loved his mother.
Dobby - A fatuous or foolish person. Also, a weave of cloth that is durable and natural-looking. Finer stores still sell shirts made of "dobby" weave.
Dolohov - This Death Eater shares the name of a trouble-making character in Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace.
Dolores - Of Latin origin. Means "lady of sorrows or pain" (psychological or physical). In Greek, "doleros" means "deceitful." In Spanish, "dolor" means "to have pain."
Draco - Draco is a constellation that looks like a dragon but is a snake. In Latin, Draco means "dragon." There was also a Greek ruler named Draco who developed a system of severe punishments for the smallest of crimes. "Draconian" means "harsh or cruel." In Romanian, "drac" means "devil."
Dumbledore - Means "Bumblebee" in Old English. J.K. Rowling has said that she chose this name because she imagined Dumbledore walking around the castle, humming to himself.
Dudley - An aristocratic surname used as a first name since the 19th Century. Also, a town in one of England's largest cities - Birmingham.
Dursley - A town near J.K. Rowling's birthplace.
Elphias Doge - Doge was the title of the ruler of Venice from the 8th to 18th Century. "Corno," meaning horn in Italian, was the cap worn by the doge as a symbol, which is mentioned when Mad-Eye Moody shows Harry the photo of the Order: "Elphias Doge, you've met him, I'd forgotten he used to wear that stupid hat."(Order of the Phoenix, pg. 158 UK, pg. 174 US). Also, Magus Elphias Levi was a French occultist of the 19th Century.
Errol - Means "wanderer" in Old English. This accurately describes the Weasley owl who always seems to get off track when delivering the post.
Evans - A Celtic name that means "young warrior."
Fawkes (Dumbledore's phoenix) - Guy Fawkes was an English Catholic who, in 1605, tried to blow up the House of Parliament as an act of rebellion against the new Protestant government. In England, November 5th is now known as "Guy Fawkes Day" (or "Bonfire Night") where Guy Fawkes is burned in effigy. Every year he is resurrected to burn again. It can also be noted that he is known as one of the most infamous traitors in English history.
Fenrir - Fenrir or Fenris in Norse mythology is a gigantic and terrible monster in the shape of a wolf. He is the eldest child of Loki and the giantess Angrboda. The gods learned of a prophecy which stated that the wolf and his family would one day be responsible for the destruction of the world. They caught the wolf and locked him in a cage, bound in chains made by dwarves. Fenrir then requested that one of the gods put their hand in his mouth before he was chained as a sign of good faith. Tyr, the god of war and justice, did and his hand was bitten off (Pettigrew?). In the final battle, Fenrir will escape from his bindings and eat Odin (Lucius?), and Odin's son Vidar (Draco?) will kill him by stabbing him in the heart or ripping his jaws apart. Other stories claim Fenrir will be killed with Vidar's iron boot (Pettigrew?). Also, the evil wolf Captain serving the White Witch in C.S. Lewis' The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was named Fenris Ulf.
Fifi LaFolle - Author of Enchanting Encounters. Her name translates as Fifi "The Insane One." Must be, if she's claimed to have meetings with "other beings."
Figg - "Fig" means "not literal" and a "fig leaf" is something that "conceals or camouflages." Arabella Figg keeps her identity a secret from Harry until Order of the Phoenix, and is able to conceal herself in the world of Muggles.
Filch - Means to "steal."
Filius - In Latin, "filius" means "son." This could perhaps explain why Flitwick is such a short individual.
Firenze - Italian name for the city of Florence. Florence was the same city that the famous astronomer Galileo lived in for most of his life. In fact, he died in his estate while serving out his life-long house-arrest sentence issued by the Inquisition, as they found him guilty of heresy.
Flitwick - A town in England. It could also be interpeted as the movement of a wand - flit (to move quickly from one spot to another) and wick (a stick shaped cord of woven fibres).
Fleur Delacour - Means "Flower of the Court" in French. It could also be a clever play on the similar French word "coeur" meaning "heart" (Veela's captivate men's hearts).
Florean Fortescue - "Florean" means "flower" in Latin. Adrian Fortescue was a martyr for the Catholic Church and cousin to Anne Boleyn. He was martyred for disagreeing with Henry VII's changes to church law.
Fluffy - Cerberus, the three-headed dog was the guardian of the underworld in Greek mythology. Orpheus got past Cerberus by lulling it to sleep with music. You get past Fluffy by lulling it to sleep with music. The name "Fluffy" itself, is just another way of J.K. Rowling showing how Hagrid does not view certain magical creatures and beasts as dangerous.
Fudge - "Fudge," besides being a delicious chocolate confection, can mean "nonsense." As a verb, it means to "evade" or to "falsify." In technological jargon, it means "to perform in an incomplete but marginally acceptable way." We've seen the former Minister "fudge" a story many times during the series.
Gabrielle (Delacour) - In Hebrew, Gabrielle means "hero of God."
Gaunt - To be very skinny especially because of hunger or disease or cold; to have a bony body.
Gilderoy - A highwayman known for being handsome. May also come from the word "gilded," which is defined as having a "pleasing, showy appearance, which covers something of little worth." This is very fitting considering Gilderoy's supposed good looks covered up the truth about his inability to function as a powerful wizard. The name "Roy" is Old French for "regal one" or "king."
Ginny - "Ginevra," an Italian female and woman of the people, her name means "Juniper" as in evergreen tree. There is an old myth about a bride named Ginevra, who playfully hid in a trunk on her wedding day. The lid fell, burying her alive; and eventually her skeleton was discovered. This could relate to Ginny being taken into the Chamber of Secrets where her "skeleton would lie forever." However, J.K. Rowling has also said that she picked the name because she wanted something different and special for the only Weasley girl!
Gellert - Gellert is the Hungarian version of Gerard, which comes from the Germanic ger, "spear", and hard, "brave, hardy". Saint Gellert was an Italian-born missionary and martyr who worked in Hungary.
Godric - Means "power of god." Derived from the Old English "god" combined with "ric," meaning "power" and "rule." Name became conmmonly used after the Norman conquest. - Godric of Finchale is an Anglo-Saxon saint.
Granger - Possibly from the Granger movement in the 1800s, a movement to improve the lives of farmers. Could be a connection to Hermione's desire to start SPEW, a movement to improve the lives of house-elves. A granger was also a very common person, just like Hermione's parents. Granger is the name of a character from the book Fahrenheit 451. He is the leader of a group of intellectuals known as "The Book People," whose goal is the preservation of liturature in the face of their government's efforts to burn and destroy all books. A possible reference to Hermione's fanatical love of books?
Greyback - Similar to the term "silverback" used for the dominant male in a band of gorillas. We all know Fenrir Greyback is the dominant werewolf in the wizarding world.
Grindelwald - Perhaps derived from the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf character Grendel, the demon. (Many theories in which the Dark wizard Grindelwald is compared to Hitler have been explored by [i]Harry Potter fans in the past, especially since the date of his demise, 1945, is the same as the end of WWII.) A beautiful village in the mountains of Bernese Oberaland, Switzerland. Also, a well-known hotel chain in Germany.
Gryffindor - A "griffin" was "a creature in mythology with the body of a lion and the head of an eagle." Also known in Greek Mythology as the "gryphon," it was the protector of a god's gold from mortal men. In Greek, "gryphon" means "protector of wealth." In French "d'or" means "of gold," one of the Gryffindor House colors. The gryffin is fitting, considering lions are characterized as brave and courageous and eagles are desrcibed as being noble birds, all traits of the Gryffindor House.
Hagrid - J.K. Rowling said: "Hagrid is also another old English word meaning if you were Hagrid, it’s a dialect word meaning you’d had a bad night. Hagrid’s a big drinker. He has a lot of bad nights." Grid was a Norse giantess known for having a terrible temper. "Ha" is a variant of the Old West Norse name element "half." So, "Ha-Grid" may just mean "Half-Grid" or more notably "Half-Giant." " Haggard" can also mean "appearing worn and exhausted, gaunt; wild or distraught in appearance; a disheveled individual." From the Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy, the Old English term "hag-rid" means "indigestion" (not surprising considering all the weird things Hagrid eats). Found in the exact same paragraph as "Dumbledore." Coincidence?
Hannah (Abbott) - "Hannah" means "grace."
Harry - J.K. Rowling's favorite boy's name. The name Harry is of Anglo-Saxon origin and means "power." There was also a magician named Harry Houdini in the 1900s.
Hedwig - The Saint of Orphans that lived in Germany in the 13th and 14th Century. Means "refuge in battle." Mentioned in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
Hepzibah - The name comes from the Hebrew "Cheftzibah," which literally translated means "my desire is for it" or "my will is in it." In Hawthorne's The House of the Seven Gables there is an old spouse called Hepzibah Pyncheon. She has has a remarkable lineage she is aware of, and she shows her guest and cousin Phoebe some teaspoons bearing the family coat-of-arms as well as antique china cups that belonged to one of Phoebe's ancestors. Also, at the beginning we see old Hepzibah trying to beautify herself to no avail. This is almost identical to the Hepzibah Smith in Half-Blood Prince and her actions before and during her visit with Tom Riddle.
Hermes - The Greek Messenger. The god of merchants, shepards, thieves, and guardian of the roads.
Hestia (Jones) - Member of the Order of the Phoenix. In Greek mythology, Hestia was the goddess of the hearth and domestic activity.
Hermione - Means "well-born," "earthy," or "stone." Refers to peony-type flowers. The feminine version of Hermes. In Greek mythology, was often known as the patron saint of high magic (no surprise our Hermione is so gifted). She was the daughter of Helen of Troy and King Menelaus of Sparta. In the Aeneid, Hermione was kidnapped by Pyrrhus, but her loving Orestes came and murdered Pyrrhus while he was praying. Hermione is also a character in Shakespeare's A Winter's Tale. The character is accused of adultery and dies before the intermission. At the end of the play she is brought out as a statue, and finally returns to life at the very end of the play. A possible connection to her petrification in Chamber of Secrets?
Horace - English and French form of Horatius, a Roman family name possibly derived from Latin "hora," meaning "hour, time, and season." A famous bearer was Quintus Horatius Flaccus, a Roman lyric poet in the first Century B.C. Horace's poems often celebrated the pleasure found in good food, drink, and spending time with congenial companions - sounds like Slughorn.
Hugo (Weasley) – meaning “intelligent” in Latin, German and Spanish.
Inigo Imago (Author of Dream Oracle, a Divination textbook) - "Inigo" is a male name meaning "ardent or fiery" and "Imago" means "image." Imago Therapy is also a psychoanalytic technique used for helping bring out meaing from the subconscious.
James - Means "supplanter." To "supplant" is" to to take the place of, or substitute, especially through intrigue or underhanded tactics." James was also an apostle of Jesus.
Joseph Wronski - Polish seeker for which the Quidditch move, the Wronski Feint, is named. Josef Wronski was a Polish mathematician born in 1778 and was widely regarded as an eccentric by the greater academic community due to his work on perpetual motion machines, machines intended to predict the future, and attempting to square the circle (making a square and a circle have the same area using only a compass and a straight edge; it was later proven to be impossible.) Wronski's most famous and lasting contribution to mathematics was the Wronskian, a function used in linear algebra and differential equations. It can be found in many textbooks today.
Kreacher - Creature (play on words). Reminiscent of the German "kriecher" derived from "kriechen," meaning "to creep, crawl, cringe, grovel, tuckle, or fawn upon."
Krum - In Swedish and Norwegian, "krum" means "curved," which is interesting considered how he is described as being uncoordinated on land (as opposed to in the air). A famous Bulgarian czar circa 800 A.D. known for killing the Byzantine emperor and making a goblet out of his skull.
Lestrange - To be "estranged" means to be "removed from society." In French, "etrange" means "strange" or "weird."
Libatius (Borge) - The author of Advanced Potion Making. A libation is a sacrifice to the gods. In Homer's The Odyssey, amongst other Greek myths, it is used to bring up ghosts from the Underworld. After drinking the potion they are then able to speak.
Lily - A flower symbolizing purity and innocence. It is the flower commonly used during the Easter holiday and symbolizes immortality. The bulb decays in the ground, and from it new life is released. It is Lily who gives her life so Harry can keep on living.
Lockhart - As coincidental as the following information may be, J.K. Rowling stated in a radio interview with BBC 4 that she found the name Lockhart on a war memorial. Lockhart is a world renowned cognitive psychologist whose particular interest is in the study of memory and levels of processing. He did a lot of research in this area in the late 1970s. Town in Australia near Wagga Wagga ("Compose a poem about my defeat of the Wagga Wagga Werewolf"?). A possible play on words as he seems to have so many women's "heart locked" on him.
Longbottom - The name itself is considered quite humorous, but "bottom" is an old word for "staying power." This seems to accurately fit Neville's personality and overall devotion to Harry.
Lucius - A Latin male first name. A character in Shakespeare's play Julius Casesar, Lucius is the servant of Brutus, the leader of the conspirators who plot against and assassinate Caesar. Possible connection to the similar sounding "Lucifer" (the devil). Lucifer means "light-bearer." In Romanian, "lucios" means "shiny," a possible connection to his desire for the extravagant and valuable. A Roman General named Lucius Cornelius Sulla was usurped by the people of Rome, but defeated them and seized control as a dictator. After doing so, he removed most of the popular say in the government and returned it to the Senate of Rome, which controlled the people, and founded a firm Republic.
Ludo - Latin meaning "I play." Fitting, as Ludo Bagman likes to "play his luck" by betting on sports and is the former head of the Department of Games and Sports.
Luna - The Roman goddess of the moon. "Luna" means "moon" in Latin, Romanian and Italian. In Romanian, it also translates to "month." The word "lunatic" is also derived from the word "lunar," as it was believed in old times that strange or odd behavior was caused by the moon. "Luna" is a term for "silver" in alchemy.
Lupin - "Lupus" is the Latin derivative for "wolf." Canis Lupus is the scientific name for wolf. To be described as "lupine" means to "resemble a wolf."
Malfoy - In Latin, "malus" means "bad" and "mal" means "pale." "Mal foi" means "bad faith, an act with bad intentions, or a malicious act" in French. "Mal de foi" means a "loss of faith." The similar French phrase "Mal fait" can be interpeted as "badly made" or "evil deeds." In Portuguese, (J.K. Rowling taught English in Portugal for a few years) "Mal foi" means "was bad" or "is bad." In Arthurian legends, Lancelot (King Arthur's greatest knight and his betrayor) is sometimes called "Le Chevallier Mal Fait" (the "mal fait" knight). "Foy" means "a farewell feast, drink, or gift, as at a wedding."
Marietta - Means "Little Bitter."
Marvolo - Implies "marvelous," but also contains the Latin root "volo" meaning " I wish, want, will, ordain, suppose, maintain that, be willing, to mean, signify, or denote." "Volo" also means "to fly, speed, or move rapidly." Tom Riddle can be seen as a character who wants to achieve greatness very quickly. Perhaps from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night character Malviolo. He was a Puritan who could not have fun and sought to stop the other servants from enjoying themselves. He is "sick with self love" and dreams of getting power. He thinks he is better than the others because he believes he is "pure." He is constantly the subject of practical jokes. It is here where the quote "Some are born great, some acheive greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them" comes from. At the end of the play, he swears revenge on the lot of them.
Mason, Mr. (Visits the Dursleys in Chamber of Secrets) - A mason is an extremely skilled builder.
McDonald, Natalie - In Goblet of Fire (American hardcover edition, pg. 180), a girl named Natalie McDonald was sorted into Gryffindor House. She was a real girl who was suffering from a terminal illness. She wrote J.K. Rowling a letter. J.K. Rowling wrote back to Natalie and her letter included an outline of Goblet of Fire so if Natalie died, she would know how the book went. Unfortunately, the letter was too late. In memory of Natalie McDonald, J.K. Rowling included her name in Goblet of Fire.
McGonagall, Professor - The name is Scottish (also written as McGonigle or McGonegal) and is from the Celtic name "Conegal," which means "the bravest." The "Mc" in McGonagall means "son of." The bravery fits well with her first name, Minerva, the goddess of wisdom and war.
Merope - Means "bee-eater" and also translates to "eloquent" and "mortal." Meropia is a condition of partial blindess. The name Merope is used numerous times in Greek mythology. Click here for one lengthy explanation. Additionally, Merope was a member of the Pleiades sisters (nymphs) and was shamed eternally for marrying a mortal (Sisyphus). Since her parents were angered they made her star, Merope, weakest in the Pleiades constellation. Compare this to Merope Gaunt, a witch shamed for marrying a Muggle. A third Merope in Greek mythology, is one of the Heliades, or daughters of Helios. The Heliades were turned into poplar trees and their tears turned to amber by Helios himself. A fourth Merope was the daughter of King Oenopion who was wooed by Orion, apparently with little success.
Millicent - Millicent is derived from the Norman French name Melisende, which was itself derived from the Germanic name Amalaswinth. It is composed of the Germanic elements "amal" meaning "to work or labor" and "swinth," meaning "strength." This was the name of a daughter of Charlemagne. Her name also means ambitious.
Minerva - The Roman counterpart to the Greek goddess named Athena. Both women in their respective mythologies represent war, handicraft and practical reason or wisdom.
Moody - In Hawthorne's The Blithedale Romance there is a character called Moodie who wears a patch over one of his eyes. There is of course, the traditional meaning of "moody," which simply means to "not be in a good mood."
Morfin (Gaunt) - Probably taken from Celtic myth. Morfan was the son of the Celtic Fertility God Ceridwen and was a fearsome warrior. Morfan fought with King Arthur in his last battle with Carlan. At first, none of Sir Mordred's men would fight against Morfan, because he was so ugly that they believed he might be the devil.
Mundungus - A stinking tobacco. Very similiar to the word "mondongo," which in Spanish is the word for a cow's "stomach," a disgusting part of the animal that is often eaten.
Myrtle, Moaning - A type of evergreen shrub that is often overlooked because of its plainness.
Nagini - "Naga" is "snake" in Sanskrit and "Nagin" means "female snake" in Urdu. A reference to Rudyard Kipling's cobra character Nagina, referred to as Nagini in some translations?
Narcissa - "Narcissism" means "the excessive love of oneself." In Greek mythology, Narcissus was a man who believed himself to be the most handsome man on the planet. He died of grief, because he could not get love from his reflection in the water. When he was buried, a flower bloomed on his grave - a narcissus. Narcissa is often described as having a look like a nasty smell has been placed under her nose. Is this due to the nasty smell of the narcissus flower?
Neville - Old French for "from the new farmland."
Nicholas Flamel - Was a real alchemist, and supposedly DID create the Philosopher's Stone. The tale was that he had spent decades of his life trying to create the Philosopher's Stone, which could turn any metal into gold and unlock the secrets to immortality - but he could not figure it out.
Nigellus - Nigellus might be derived from the Latin word "niger" which means "black, dark, and unlucky." "Nigellus" is preclassical and medieval Latin, meaning "somewhat black."
Nimbus - A rain or storm cloud. Nimbus was a god in Greek mythology. "Nimbus" is also a derivative of "nimble" - "quick, light or agile in movement or action." Perfect qualities for a broomstick.
Norris, Mrs. - A character in Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, one of J.K. Rowling's favorite authors. The character is a busybody, always into everyone's business and trying to run things the way she wants to, even though she's not really in a position of power. Sounds like Filch's favorite feline!
Nymphadora (Tonks) - "Nymphadora" translates as "Gift of the Nymphs." A "nymph," in Greek mythology, refers to "a member of group of female 'spirits' found in different types of nature." They are further classified by where they were found. They also had the ability to change shapes, a very clear connection to Tonks' own ability to shapeshift. In Latin, "nympha" translates to "a bride" and "Nymphae" to "the Nymphs."
Olympe Maxime - From French "Olympe" means "Olympus," referring to Mount Olympus, the home of the gods in Ancient Greece. Maxime could come from the French "maxim," meaning a "succint formulation of some fundamental principle or rule of conduct." Very appropriate for a headmistress. Both names give a sense of extreme size, with "Maxime" also sounding like the word "maximum," meaning the largest in size.
Orion (Black) - Sirius' father. Orion the Hunter is a constellation who rules the heavens from late fall to early spring with his hunting dogs (Canis Major, who's brightest star is Sirius, and Canis Minor) at his feet. His name means "dweller of the mountain" and he is known for his prowess as a hunter and lover. Bellatrix forms one corner of the Orion constellation. In Greek mythology, Orion was in love with Merope. He was killed when he stepped on Scorpio the scorpion.
Padma - Means "lotus" in Sanskrit. In Hindu myth, this was another name of both the hero Rama and the goddess Lakshmi.
Padfoot - Yorkshire name for a large phantom black dog. It was as big as a calf and haunted lonely roads.
Pansy - Type of flower. Derived from the Old French "pensee," which means "thought."
Parvati - Parvati is a Hindu goddess married to the Hindu god, Shiva the Destroyer. She gave birth to a baby boy named Ganesh, whom Shiva beheaded, but replaced the old head with an elephant head after Parvati reamed him out. Sister of the Goddess of the Ganges, Padma. There was a character named "Parvati the Witch" in Salman Rushdie's novel Midnight's Children, in which the names "Padma" and "Patil" were also significant. Parvati means "daughter of the mountain."
Patil - Is its own surname and is quite common in the state of Maharashtra in India. It is pronounced "PAH-till" and is completely different from "Patel" other than them both being Indian surnames.
Peeves - "Peeve" means "little devil" or something that "gets on your nerves" (like a pet peeve).
Percival - One of the legendary Knights of the Round Table. The name itself means "pierces the veil," "pierces the valley," or "destroyer." It also translates as "bringer of peace" and "from the pear tree."
Perenelle (Flamel) - The wife of the famous inventor of the Sorcerer's Stone, Nicholas Flamel, her name refers to "perennial," meaning "continuing without interruption." An appropriate name for the wife of a man who created a stone of immortality.
Pettigrew - Pettigrew could be interpreted two ways: "petty-grew" meaning he grew into a petty (narrow-minded) person or "pet-I-grew" foreshadowing the incident where Peter grew out of his rat form and back into a man in the Shrieking Shack. Also, from the French "petit gros" or "little, fat person."
Petunia - A trumpet-shaped flower, with white or purple blossoms. The petunia symbolizes anger and resentment.
Phineas - In Hebrew, means "serpent's mouth" or "loudmouth." In the Old Testament, Phineas kills an Israelite man for being in love with a woman who belongs to another ethnical group. For more, see Andromeda.
Pigwidgeon - A "pigwidgin" is a term for "a small fairy, and later, anything that was small." A "widgeon" is kind of "duck." Pigwidgeon is the name of a mischievous fairy in the poems of Michael Drayton.
Pince, Madam - "Pincer" is French for "to pinch". They are a pair of glasses with no side ear temples, just lenses and their frames. They clip on the bridge of the nose. These type of eyeglasses are sometimes seen on stern or bookish people in literature, movies, and television.
Pius - from the Latin word pius, the meaning of which is similar to the English "pious" from piety , meaning a desire and willingness to perform religious duties. The name is most commonly associated with popes, twelve of whom (including three in the twentieth century and seven in the last 250 years), have taken the name Pius.
Pomfrey, Madam - At the end of Prisoner of Azkaban, Dumbledore refers to Madam Pomfrey as "Poppy." A poppy plant can be used to make opium and other drugs. It makes sense that the healer at Hogwarts would have a name related to a drug so often used for medicinal purposes.
Pomona (Sprout) - Pomona is the name of a Roman divinity. According to Edith Hamilton's book Mythology, "she cared for fruits and orchards and that was all she cared for. Her delight was in pruning and grafting and everything that belongs to the garderner's art. She shut herself away from men, alone with her beloved trees, and let no wooer come near her."
Potter - A name J.K. Rowling has always been fond of since childhood. "Potter's Field" is often the name given to a cemetery where a city or town buries those who have gone unclaimed or unwanted (a community's orphans). "Potter's Field" is also considered a cursed land because Judas hung himself in one.
Prongs - A slender pointed or projecting part; a point of an antler. Clearly referring to the stag that represents Harry Potter's Patronus and James Potter's Animagus form.
Puddifoot, Madam - The word "Puddifoot" is name for "someone shaped like a barrel." From the word "puddy" meaning "round-bellied" or "fat." Those who are in love are often said to be "weak in the knees," so it is not a far stretch to say they have "puddy feet." Madam Puddifoot's shop is often frequented by young couples.
Quirinus - The name Quirinus is derived from the words "co-viri," meaning "of two men." Quirinus was applied to Romulus, for whom Rome was named, when he was considered a god. Furthermore, there is a connection between Quirinus and Janus Quirinus, the two-faced god. Janus was the god of both beginnings and endings and was depicted as having one face look forward while the other watched behind, much like our dear professor Quirrell.
Quirrell - Perhaps derived from the word "quarrel," which means "an angry dispute or argument." Also sounds like squirrel, for a nervous, nut-eating rodent that lives in trees. The professor was a scared, shaky man who behaved a lot like one, later an act to cover up his allegiance to Voldemort. Possibly from "querulous" meaning full of "doubts and questions."
Rabastan (Lestrange) - "Rastaban" means "serpent's head." Not very surprising for a Death Eater. Rabastan is also a star in the constellation Beta Draconis.
Ravenclaw - Ravens are known to be smart birds. Makes sense that Ravenclaws are known as wise, quick learners.
Regulus (Sirius' brother) - The name of the brightest star in the Alpha Leo (lion) constellation. Although this might seem odd at first, considering he was not a Gryffindor - lions in mythology are often used to symbolize those fierce or pure of heart (Pureblood?). Means "prince" and "heart of the lion." During the First Punic War (264-242 B.C.) the Roman general Regulus was captured by the Carthaginians. He travelled to Rome with a party of Carthaginian ambassadors to help secure terms of peace, agreeing to return to Carthage to face death if he failed to gain acceptance of the Carthaginian terms. Once in Rome, however, Regulus urged the Senate to reject those terms; he returned to Carthage where he was tortured and executed. Regulus Black quite possibly suffered a similar fate at the hands of Voldemort after trying to back out of being a Death Eater.
Remus - Twin brother of Romulus (founder of Rome). The King sent the two twin babies out to a river and tried to drown them, but a female wolf, instead of killing them, nursed them after finding the two boys. He was killed by Romulus.
Riddle - A "riddle" is "a form of word puzzle designed to test someone's ingenuity in arriving at its solution." Riddles were used as a way to both puzzle the audience and teach them to understand poetic language.
Rodolphus - A variation of the name Ralph. It is of Old English origins and means "wolf counsel."
Ron - Interesting when taken in conjunction with Arthur. He is the advisor to the King. Comparisons can be made here between Ron being an advisor to Harry on all of his choices and adventures. Both Ron and Hermione listen to Harry's plan and then either agree with or tell them why they think his idea is not a good one.
Ronan - An Irish saint. A "ronin" was "a name given to a masterless samurai, a wanderer," during the Feudal Period of Japan that lasted from 1185 to 1868. Ronins were often the targets of humiliation and satires.
Rose (Weasley) - Originally a Norman form of a Germanic name, which was composed of the elements hrod "fame" and heid "kind, sort, type". It was introduced to England by the Normans in the forms Roese or Rohese. From an early date it was associated with the word for the fragrant flower rose (derived from Latin rosa). When the name was revived in the 19th century, it was probably with the flower in mind.
Rosmerta - In Gaulish Celtic mythology, Rosmerta was the goddess of fire, warmth, and abundance.
Rowena - "Rowena" is Old English for "red hair," which ties in with Jo's fascination for those with red hair. It means "rugged" in Gaelic. In Welsh poetry, Rowena is named "mother of the nation," which could link in to her being a founder of Hogwarts. She also is another character whose name surfaces in the great epic Ivanhoe.
Rubeus - "Rubeus" means "red." "Ruber" is also Latin for "red," and can mean "ruddy" - a perfect representation of our favorite gamekeeper.
Rufus - Latin for "red-haired."
Salazar - António de Oliveira Salazar was the Fascist dictator in Portugal at the same time that Mussolini, Franco and Hitler. He had the same extremist right-wing ideology as the others, exercised great prejudice, and ruled using fear.
Sanguini - One of the only vampires we have met. "Sanguis" is the Latin word for "blood." "Sang" means "blood" in French. "Sanguinary" means "blood-thirsty."
Scamander, Newt - Magizoologist who wrote and narrated Fantastic Beasts. Scamander was the son of Andromache and Hector. Sounds like "salamander." A newt is kind of salamander.
Scrimgeour - A possible connection to this Family Crest? Click on "S" in the left-hand column and look for the "Scrimgeour" Crest. No wonder he resembles a lion. A "scrim" is a curtain that when lit from the front, nothing can be seen behind the curtain. When the curtain is lit from behind, anything behind the curtain can be seen. Is the good Minister hiding something? A possible relation to Brutus Scrimegeour, the author of A Beater's Bible and the writer of the intro in Quidditch Through The Ages?
Scorpius (Malfoy) – Like Draco, Scorpius is a star constellation in the Southern Hemisphere.
Severus - Sever means "to cut off." Snape appears to have "cut off" his ties with the Dark Lord through the first five books, and then with Dumbledore and the Order in Half-Blood Prince. "Severe" means "cruel, strict" - two characteristics that accurately describe the Potions Professor. Sounds very similiar to the Latin word "servus," meaning "servant." Is he still a servant of Voldemort's? In ancient history, Lucius Septimius Severus restored stability to the Roman Empire after the tumultuous reign of Emperor Commodus (See Albus) and the civil wars that erupted in the wake of Commodus' murder. To read more on this story, go here. The name Severus is also mentioned in Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, a favorite book of J.K. Rowling. Additionally, a Saint Severus of Alexandria (Egypt) was martyred along with a Saint Peter and a Saint Leucius for publicly proclaiming the faith around 309 C.E. Severus, Peter, and Lucius - quite a coincidence!
Shacklebolt - As an Auror, Kingsley is respsonible for sending evil wizards to Azkaban. Both "shackle" and "bolt" refer to means of imprisonment.
Shunpike, Stan - A "shunpike" is a "road people use to avoid paying a toll or fare."
Sibyll - Sibyll comes from the Sibyls, who were famous prophets in ancient mythology. Their prophecies were often not decipherable until an event had come to pass. In The Aeneid, the Sibyl was responsible for leading Aeneas to the Underworld.
Sirius - Named after the star, Sirius, also known as the Dog Star or Great Dog (Canis Major). It is the brightest star in the sky, often called "scorching," which quite suits his personality. According to The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter: A Treasury of Myths, Legends, and Fascinating Facts by David Colbert, in Egyptian mythology, the star Sirius is where it was believed the souls of humans traveled after death. The star had such importance that all the temples were built to align with its path across the sky. Archaeologists have discovered that long tunnels or airshafts in the Great Pyramid make the stars visible in daytime, and that the view is the part of the sky where Sirius appears. It is thought that the shafts were meant to guide one's soul to Sirius. This is very interesting considering the manner in which Sirius died.
Sinistra, Professor - The Latin "sinister" meaning " on the left." In ancient cultures (such as the Babylonians), the left side was often associated with evil, black magic or bad luck. We wonder what this means for our dear Astronomy teacher! The left side is also associated with females, as in the "distaff side." The left side of the brain is responsible for both logic and analysis - important qualities for Astronomy.
Skeeter, Rita - "Skeeter" is short for "mosquito." As most people can attest, mosquitoes are among the most annoying lifeforms on this planet.
Slytherin - Sounds like "slither," as in to slither like a snake. No coincidence the Slytherin House is represented by a snake. Salazar Slytherin was also a Parselmouth (name for those who can speak to snakes). Slytherins are known to be "sly" individuals and snakes are known to be very "sly" creatures.
Smith - The most common surname. Derived from the Anglo-Saxon "Smitan", meaning to "smite" or "strike."
Snape - A town in England. Also based after a person J.K. Rowling knew.
Sprout, Professor - A suitable name for a Herbology teacher. "To sprout" means to "spring up and grow."
Susan (Bones) - Short form of Susannah. Derived from the Hebrew name "Shoshana" meaning "lily or rose."
Thicknesse – an uncommon surname. may mean "thick-tongue" from the Proto-Germanic word nessye (or nessieh), meaning "tongue". Otherwise, it may simply be a derivation of the “ness” place name, meaning a cape or headline.
Tom Marvolo Riddle - If you rearrange the letters, it spells: "I am Lord Voldemort." The name "Tom" means "twin."
Tonks - A "tonk" means "a fool or an idiot," "a powerful hit or stroke," and "to strike." This would definitely relate to Tonks' clumsiness.
Trevor - From a surname originally from a place meaning "big village." From Welsh, "tref" meaning "village" and "mawr" meaning "large."
Trelawney - Trelawney is a Cornish family tracing back to Saxon days. In 1668, Jonathan Trelawney became Dean of St. Buryan, afterwards Bishop of Rochester, and was one of the seven Bishops imprisoned in the Tower of London. He was one of the subjects of the great Cornish song "And shall Trelawney die." Apparently, the song is/was the Cornish National Anthem. Trelawney is also an area in Cornwall, England.
Umbridge - Sounds like "umbrage," which is "a feeling of anger caused by an offense." In Latin, "umbra" means "shadow, shade, or ghost" and can also be interpreted as "jealous or suspicious of another" or "standing in one's light or way." The phrase "to take umbridge" means to "cause offense and make trouble." She certainly does this for Harry. The plural "umbrae" means "shadows". In this context it can be used as shadowing or following other individuals - just how Umbridge does with the Ministry of Magic.
Vane, Romilda - From the English word "vain" - because that's exactly what she comes across as in Half-Blood Prince.
Vector, Professor (Arithmancy teacher) - A "vector" is "a mathematical quantity completely specified by a magnitude and a direction."
Victoire (Weasley) – ‘Victory’ in French. Also female derivation of Victor.
Viktor - His first name means the "victorious one" - appropriate for the best Seeker in the Quidditch World Cup.
Voldemort, Lord - There was a dark wizard in medieval times named Voldermortist. In another language, Voldermortist means "Lord of Evil" or "Dark Lord." Legend has it that Voldermortist once tried to destroy Merlin before the time of King Arthur (Mr. Weasley?) by bewitching good people and simply bribing those who already were evil. Legend has it that Merlin destroyed Voldermortist by using a simple Paralyzing Charm (full body bind?), fed him to the many-headed-beast (Fluffy?) of the lake, the Lady of the Lake's pet (Giant Squid?), freed the bewitched people, and destroyed the evil men. That was maybe twelve, thirteen years before Arthur (how long it was from Voldemort's destruction until Harry started Hogwarts). In many European languages, "mort" or "mord" refer to "death or evil." In French, "vol-de-mort" means "flight from death" (meaning escaping death). Also in French, "vol" translates as "the act of stealing," giving Voldemort's name the alternate meaning to "steal from death." In Norwegian and Danish, "vold" means "violence." In Danish, "volde" means "to cause" and could be derived from the Latin "valde," meaning "great, exceedingly, strongly, powerfully." Using these defintions Lord Voldemort's name would then mean "excessive, great, or extreme death."
Walburga (Black) - Sirius' mother. "Walburga" means "rule of the fortress", from the German "wald" meaning "rule" and "burg" meaning "fortress." St. Walburga was the name of an 8th Century Saint who did missionary work in Germany. Walburga is also another form of the word "Walpurgis" (as in the Knights of the Walpurgis) - J.K. Rowling's original name for the Death Eaters. Walpurgis Night (May 1st) was the night witches reveled in.
Weasley - From J.K. Rowling's site weasels were known to have a bad reputation, especially in Ireland, as an unfortunate animal. And well, the Weasleys are unfortunate because they're poor. J.K. Rowling said: "Ron was the only one of three major characters whose surname never changed; he has been 'Weasley' from start to finish. In Britain and Ireland the weasel has a bad reputation as an unfortunate, even malevolent, animal. However, since childhood I have had a great fondness for the family mustelidae; not so much malignant as maligned, in my opinion." The Weasleys and the weasel both share red hair. The Weasleys live near Ottery St. Catchpole, and it is interesting that a family with weasel in their surname lives near a town that has otter in its name (an otter is a member of the weasel family). Also, in Goblet of Fire, the group all go to Stoatshead Hill to take the Portkey to the Triwizard Tournament. A stoat is another relative of the weasel family.
Weird Sisters, The (Music band) - The Weird Sisters were three witches in Shakespeare's play Macbeth who could foresee the future, and elicited evil in Macbeth by means of equivocation.
Wilhelmina (Grubbly-Plank) - In German, this name means "desire to protect." This would explain why she teaches Care of Magical Creatures.
Witherwings - "Withers" are "the place on a horse where the neck and shoulder muscles join." It is the peak at the top of the shoulders and the base of the neck, and is the tallest point of the horse. It is where measurements are taken from. It is where the wings would attack (or grow from) if a horse had them. The "wings" referring to the wings of an eagle. To "wither," also meaning to "lose freshness, vigor, or vitality." It is suiting his name is changed to this after Sirius dies.
Wulfric - St. Wulfric was described as a hermit. J.K. Rowling characterizes Dumbledore as a loner. St. Wulfric was a worldly man, as was Dumbledore. St. Wulfric was born in Bristol, the same town Hagrid flew over from Godric's Hollow. St. Wulfric supposedly had the gift of prophecy.
Xenophilius (Lovegood) - "Xenophobia" is the term used for fear of strangers or foreigners and "xenophilia" means love or affection for alien things or people. Explains Xenophilius' love for all things strange.
Zabini - Derived from the Sabine tribe.
Zacharias (Smith) - Greek form of Zechariah. From the Hebrew name "Zekaryah," which means "remembers God." Zechariah was a prophet in the Old Testament and the father of John the Baptist in the New Testament, who was temporarily made dumb because of his disbelie [/i]