“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I” is now in theaters. The newest movie in the series promises to be packed with magic spells. There are dozens of spells that are used by the characters in Harry Potter’s fictional world of wizardry. But are any of them real words? The names of many of the spells are indeed derived from other languages, especially Latin. However, for the most part, they aren’t proper words. Author J.K. Rowling created words that resemble other words with real meanings. Here’s a closer look at some of them: The spell “Alohomora” is used to open and unlock doors. The word is supposedly from the West African Sidiki dialect and means “friendly to thieves.” Need to make invisible ink appear? Try the spell “Aparecium,” which supposedly derives from the Latin appareo, meaning “to become visible or to appear.” Here’s one that you’re likely to hear in “Deathly Hallows:” Confringo. It causes something to explode in flames. The spell is likely derived from the Latin and means “to break in pieces, to bring to naught.” Densuageo is derived from two Latin words: dens, which means “tooth,” and augeo, which means “to enlarge.” The spell causes the victim’s teeth to grow quickly. The spell “Episkey” is derived from the Greek episkeu, which means “repair, restoration.” It’s used to heal minor injuries, such as Harry Potter’s broken nose in “Half-Blood Prince.” Protego Horribilis is also used in “Deathly Hallows.” It provides protection against Dark Magic and comes from the Latin protego, meaning “to protect,” and horribilis, meaning “horrible.” (What is the fantastic origin of the real-life spell word “hocus-pocus?” Read the tale, here.) Scourgify, which is a spell used to get something clean, such as Hedwig’s cage, is likely a play on the word “scour.” The spell “Tarantallegra” makes a victim’s legs dance uncontrollably. It’s likely that it combines the Italian allegra, which means “joyful,” and tarantella, which is a Southern Italian folk dance with rapid movements. To end, what’s the vivid meaning behind the one of Rowling’s best character names, Mundungus Fletcher? Do you have a favorite spell? Let us know about it below.
Back to Top