ICYMI: The “T” in “Voldemort” Is Silent, Says JKR

In what was more of a reminder to fans than completely new information, Harry Potter series author J.K. Rowling took to Twitter last night to address a common pronunciation error when dealing with the characters. It would seem that Lord Voldemort, the series’ primary villain, should be pronounced with a silent “T.”

The issue was raised most recently by College of Charleston English major Michael Lucero:

… to which J.K. Rowling herself quoted his tweet and responded,

Of course, there exists variation in the pronunciation of “Lord Voldemort” even within officially released, sanctioned media such as audiobooks (narrated by both Jim Dale in the U.S. and Stephen Fry in the U.K.) as well as the Warner Bros. film series. Still, Rowling has always pronounced it consistently, and it would appear that the name’s unusual nuance (“Voldemort” means “flight from death” in French) has simply been commonly ignored or forgotten.

How have *YOU* been saying Voldemort’s name? Will you change how you pronounce it in the future? Let us know!

  • Isabelle Savoie

    Since I’m a French speaker, I always pronounce it the way JK Rowling did without really knowing it was proper. Also, Voldemort means flight of death or dead ( like in a dead person ) rather than from death.

    • Gabriel

      Actually I’m french also, and one thing I’ve never seen mentioned is that “vol” can mean either the act of flying, or the act of stealing. This is very subtle from JK Rowling’s part (she is fluent in French), and should be obvious to any French speaker. It could be said that horcrux creation is flying away from death by stealing the death of the victim and offering it to Death.

  • Lisa

    That’s certainly not the only name mispronounced in the movies or in the fandom. First of all, almost all Latin spell names are mispronounced. “Ackio”? Please. Second, Lestrange should have a French pronounciation but is pronounced in an English way in the movies (and by the fans I assume). Voldemort’s silent T seems like the least of the problems, to me.

  • Yuu

    Well same than JK Rowling because it’s like this how you say it in French… XD

  • Valerie

    Since I live in Austria, it didn’t occur to me. I will change that behaviour from now on. And, Lisa, Accio can be pronounced in the way the actors do. It is a decision between classic and Late Latin. C is either always k, or k after a,o,u and c after e,i.

    Problem solved. By the way, I prefer the Late Latin version.

  • Jenna1432

    I saw this on a Harry Potter facts video on YouTube. I never knew until then but I still don’t say a silent T. And by the way Valerie I live in Australia too.

  • JC

    so we can say lord voldemor? sounds weird

  • Felix Scamander

    VoldemorT is better – It makes you forget the french origins of the ‘vol de morte’

  • disgruntled

    How is this news of any kind? We have all known about this for years! Rowling herself has stated many years ago how she pronounces Voldemort. There is literally nothing new here.

  • Firenze

    Actually all us French people pronounce it this way. 🙂 (I always thought it meant stealing death, though 😉 )