Name Origins

Though the Fantastic Beasts series is still ongoing, it has already presented us with a plethora of new characters to love. MuggleNet is interested in creating a comprehensive list of all of our favorite character names, places, objects, and strange nouns from this addition to the Harry Potter world. But where did these words originate? You can find out here!

This page serves as a reference for what some of the names and places in the Fantastic Beasts series mean in other languages, what they might be named after, or some stories surrounding them in mythology. The names are in alphabetical order. To find someone, look for their first name or last name. If we have the etymology for both (or multiple parts) of the names, you will find them separated. If a name has meaning when left together, it will be left that way. Titles are behind the character’s name (e.g., “Voldemort, Lord”).

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Characters
  • Aurelius (Dumbledore) – Aurelius is a Latin name derived from the word aureus, meaning “golden.” The name could also be associated with Marcus Aurelius, a Roman emperor known for his approach to philosophy. He famously penned the book Meditations, a 12 volume guide written for his own self-improvement. This book has become a cornerstone work in the field of stoicism. Stoicism is a school of philosophy that emphasizes logic and was popular in ancient Greek and Roman times.
  • Chastity (Barebone) – Chastity comes from Latin and means “purity; innocence.”
  • Credence (Barebone) – In English, the word credence means “belief.” It comes from the latin word credential, which has the same meaning.
  • Esther (middle name of Tina Goldstein) – The name Esther is a common Persian word, meaning Star. Queen Esther from ancient time’s (492-460 BC) original Hebrew name was Hadassah (a Jewish name meaning myrtle). The name Esther was probably given to her when she entered the court of the Persian king and as that’s what she was known as by the people. To a Hebrew audience the name Esther, the way it was written, had far more meaning than simply the word “star” in the language of their abductors. The name Esther may have reminded of a compound of אסון (ason), meaning evil, harm, from the assumed root אסה (“sh), plus the word תר (tor) meaning a circle or plait or תר (tor) meaning dove; both from the verb תור (tur), to spy or search out. The foreign name Esther would have looked to mean “She Searches Out Evil” to a Hebrew audience.
  • Gellert (Grindelwald) – Gellert is the Hungarian variant 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.
  • Henry (Shaw) – Henry means “home ruler,” from the Germanic words heim, meaning “home” and ric, meaning “power; ruler.” Though it started as the name Heinrich in Germany, it spread through France as Henri and England as Henry. It became a popular name amongst kings.
  • Jacob (Kowalski) – This name may come from the Hebrew root עקב (‘qb) meaning “to follow, to be behind.” It may otherwise be from the word for “heel”, עֲקֵב (ʿaqeb). In the Bible, Jacob was born after his twin brother Esau. He was born holding onto Esau’s heel.
  • Langdon (Shaw) – Langon is a name of English origin that means “long hill.”
  • Mary Lou (Barebone) – This name is more commonly seen as a single name, spelled “Marylou.” It is a variation of the name “Mary” and is of latin origin. It means “star of the sea.”
  • Modesty (Barebone) – Modesty has the same meaning whether a name or a word. It means “without conceit, being moderate in the estimate of one’s abilities.”
  • Newt (Scamander) – A newt is a type of salamander.
  • Nicolas (Flamel) – Nicolas Flamel was a real alchemist and supposedly created 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.
  • Percival (Graves) – Percival was one of the legendary Knights of the Round Table. The name itself means “pierces the veil,” “pierces the valley,” or “destroyer.” It also translates to “bringer of peace” and “from the pear tree.”
  • Porpentina (Tina Goldstein) – “Porpentine” is an outdated term form of “porcupine.”
  • Queenie (Goldstein) – Queenie is a pet name for the word queen. It means “royal lady” or “ruler.” In the past, it was a popular nickname for a girl who shared her name with any queen, and, as such, it was used often during Victorian times. The word queen itself is possibly derived from the Old English word “cwen,” which means “woman.”
  • Seraphina (Piquery) – This name is derived from the word seraphim, a Hebrew word meaning “burning ones.” In the Bible, the seraphim are angels who surround God’s throne.
  • Vinda (Rosier) – In many languages, “vinda” means “to twist, to wrap, to wind.” The name itself means “to get everything.” In Old Norse, “vinda” is related to “vöndr,” which means “wand.” And in Hindu legend, Vinda was the prince of Avanti. Along with his brother Anuvinda, he fought during the great battle of Kurukshetra. Anuvinda was first to fall, slain by Satyaki. Enraged, Vinda challenged Satyaki to single combat, but proved to be no match, and was soon slain himself.