The following Harry Potter spell identifications come from my reading. "Latin" means the spell is a Latin word. "Latinate" means the spell is like or is based on Latin. "?" means I have no idea what the etymology is. Do you? If you have additions, please let me know. If you have contrary or additional information about the Latin spells and charms in Harry Potter, I would appreciate hearing it. Suggestions for translations have been provided by the Ancient/Classical History Forum.
- Accio (p. 582) Latin - I summon
- Aguamenti (p. 606) not Latin - although Agua comes from Aqua which is Latin for water.
- Alohomora (p. 159) unknown - supposed to unlock a door.
- Amortentia (p. 185) - a potion for love based on the Latin amor=love.
- Anapneo (p. 144) Greek - I recover breath (clears the breathing).
- Avada Kedavra (p. 596)- death spell/curse, not Latinate.
- Crucio (p. 598) Latin - I torture/crucify.
- Diffindo (p. 220) Latin - I divide.
- Episkey (p. 157) Greek - (episkeuo) I repair (to mend Harry's broken nose).
- Felix felicis (p. 187) Latin for fortunate, lucky, or happy, but also the biological name for a cat. Felix is the nominative singular, and felicis is the genitive singular.
- Impedimenta (p. 599) Latin plural of impedimentum, which means obstacle, hindrance, impediment. In Latin, the plural often means baggage. This is used as a jinx.
- Incarcerous (p. 575) Latinate - the ending is English. In carcer would mean in prison.
- Imperius (p. 42) Latinate based on the word imperium which meant power.
- Inferi (p. 62) Latin - Inhabitants of the Underworld.
- Langlock (p. 420) Not Latin. Locking of tongue against the roof of the mouth. Probably based on a connection between lingua and language.
- Levicorpus (p. 238) Latin - Levis=light and corpus=body so the spell lifts a body.
- Liberacorpus (p. 239) Latin - counterspell to levicorpus, libera= free, so liberacorpus frees the body.
- Lumos (p. 62) Latinate - lumen=light and lumos is a light-creating spell.
- Muffliato (p. 238)? From email:
Muffliato: I'd like to support one participant's idea on "muffliato" since you are still hesitant. It seems to be a Latinated form of the English "muffle", made to look like the rare but here very fitting imperative of the third person. "muffle" has only a Middle English root, according to MerriamWebster. Actually, these hybrids are what I find so amusing about JKRowling's creations.
- Angelika Goldmann
- Oppugno (p. 302) Latin - I fight against.
- Petrificus Totalus (575) Latin - totally made into a stone.
- Protego (p. 180) Latin - I protect.
- Reducto (p. 594) Latin - I lead back or withdraw
- Relashio (p. 211) ?
I believe the word derives from the Italian "relascio" which means 'to release' 'to relax' and 'to issue'.
- Rennervate (p. 574) Latinate with an extra "n" from nervus for sinew, muscle, or nerve.
- Reparo (p. 206) Latin - I recover (renew).
- Sectum sempra (p. 518) Latinate - may mean cut forever.
- Specialis Revelio (p. 193) Latinate - specialis=particular in Latin, and revelio evidently means "I reveal".
- Tergeo (p. 162) Latin - I rub clean, wipe, polish.
- Veritaserum - Latinate - means truth serum.
The page numbers refer to the first instance of the Latin spell -- at least the first instance that I noticed.
The following emails make further suggestions about the etymology of words used in the Harry Potter books:
She uses a large variety of others Latinic languages and not in its original in Latin. See, as an example, the spell "taranta allegra". "Tarantela" is a folklore dance of Italy that uses basically the legs. "Allegre" means "happy" in Italian. She then played with the two words and created "taranta allegra", a spell that makes a person lost control of its legs.
On the names it also occurrs: Dumbledore, for instance, has a French radical that means light, and "Albus" means "white" in Latin. "Rubeus", first name of Hagrid, is a Latinic name derived from "robustu", wich means "strong", "with vigour". Severus came from the Latin "Severu", wich means "severe" (the English word has a Latinic origin, also). Lupin, for instance, derive from the Latin "lupo", with the meaning of "wolf". Lucius, Remus and Sirius are Latinic names also, and Draco is the word "dragon" in Latin.
You mentioned how the name Lupin has a connection with wolf, also remember that Remus and Romulus (Rome's twin founders in a legend) were raised by wolves. Therefore Remus-wolf. Also Nox (the spell to extinguish a light) translates to night. Also Aparecium (the spell that makes invisible ink appear) is closely related to the Spanish word aparecia which translates to appeared. Duro (the spell that makes an object hard) translates from Latin to mean hard.
Clark T.: I was looking over your page about Latin in Harry Potter for a school project and noticed you had nothing written for the "Alohamora" spell. Surprisingly, this does not come from Latin and is actually spelled "Aloha Mora" as two words. It is actually from a Hawaiian dialect, "aloha" meaning goodbye (or hello), and "mora" meaning lock. It literally translates to "goodbye lock".