Fantastic Beasts 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 working on a comprehensive list of all our favorite character names, places, objects, and strange nouns from this addition to the Wizarding World franchise. 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. For instance, Gellert Grindelwald is separated into “Gellert” and “Grindelwald.” If a name has meaning when left together, such as Newt Scamander, it will be left that way. Titles are behind the character’s name (e.g., “Voldemort, Lord”).

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  • Abernathy – The name is of Scottish origin and was one of the surnames of the Scots who settled in northern Ireland during the ‘plantation’ in the 17th century. The name also has Pictish origin, meaning "mouth of the river Nethy". It was brought to the United States as the name of a Southern plantation owner (this ‘plantation’ has a different meaning than the one in Ireland).
  • Albus (Dumbledore) – In Latin, this means "white" (maybe for his white beard). Clodius Albinus was Governor of Britain upon the death of the emperor Pertinax in the second century. 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.
  • 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 who 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, a school of philosophy popular in ancient Greek and Roman times that emphasizes logic.
  • Barebone – The name Barebone dates from the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. The family lived in the village of Barbon, a small town in Cumbria, England, on the River Lune.
  • 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.
  • Dougal – The name Dougal has Scottish origin and means "dark stranger". The original Gaelic name, Dubhghall, means "dark stranger" a combination of dubh "dark" and gall "stranger".
  • Dumbledore – In Old English, this name means "bumblebee."
  • (Porpentina) Esther (Goldstein) – The name Esther is a common Persian word, meaning "star." Queen Esther'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 since 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 them 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, to search out." The foreign name Esther would have looked to mean "She Searches Out Evil" to a Hebrew-speaking audience.
  • Frank – The name Frank is a form of Francis that means "free" or "from France", and is of English origin.
  • 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.
  • Goldstein – The name Goldstein has Ashkenazi Jewish origins where it is an ornamental name combining the German words gold "gold" and stein "stone". A German origin for the name also comes from a medieval personal name, nickname, or occupational name from Middle High German, Middle Low German golste(i)n, meaning "gold stone", or "precious stone".
  • Graves – The name Graves is a patronymic form of the surnames Grave, an occupational name for a steward, from the Middle English (1200–1500) greyve, which derived from the Low German "greve". This occupational name is also from the Old Norse word greifi, which originally meant "steward" or "person in charge of property".
  • Grindelwald – This name was 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 Harry Potter fans in the past, especially since the date of his defeat, 1945, is the same as the end of WWII.) Grindelwald is the name of a beautiful village in the mountains of Bernese Oberaland, Switzerland, and is also the name of a well-known hotel chain in Germany.
  • 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, becoming a popular name among 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 (aqeb). In the Bible, Jacob was born after his twin brother, Esau. He was born holding on to Esau’s heel.
  • Kama – The name Kama means "love" or "desire" in Sanskrit. In the Hindu pantheon, Kama is the winged god of love, the son of Lakshmi.
  • Kowalski – This name is of Polish and Jewish origin. It is a name for someone from Kowalskie in Poznan voivodeship or a place called Kowale. This name is also a patronymic name, an occupational name from kowal, meaning "smith", with the addition of the common surname suffix -ski.
  • Langdon (Shaw) – Langdon is a name of English origin that means “long hill.”
  • Lestrange – To be estranged means "to be removed from society." In French, étrange means "strange" or "weird."
  • Leta (Lestrange) – Leta is a variation of the Latin name Laetitia. Leta means “happiness/joy”. In Greek mythology, Leta (or Leda) was the queen of Sparta and mother of Helen of Troy.
  • 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) – In English, the word "modesty" means “without conceit, being moderate in the estimate of one’s abilities.”
  • Nagini – In Urdu, the word nagin means “female snake.” In Sanskrit and the ancient Buddhist language of Pāli, the word nāga refers to a great deity or entity that takes the shape of a large snake, and the female nāga is called a nāgini. In some Eastern religions, such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism, the nāga is more specifically manifested as a king cobra. The name may also be a reference to Rudyard Kipling’s cobra character Nagaina in The Jungle Book, referred to as "Nagini" in some translations.
  • Newt Scamander – Scamander was the son of Andromache and Hector. It sounds like "salamander," and a newt is a kind 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."
  • Pickett – The surname Pickett was originally derived from the Old English word pic, meaning "a hill with a sharp point at its top". The name Pickett was brought to England following the Norman Conquest of 1066 during migration.
  • Porpentina (Tina Goldstein) – "Porpentine" is an outdated term for "porcupine."
  • Queenie (Goldstein) – Queenie is a pet name for the word "queen," a 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.”
  • Rosier – The name Rosier come from the French word rosier, which means "rose (bush)". This name would indicate someone who lived where wild roses grew.
  • Seraphina (Picquery) – This name is derived from the Hebrew seraphim, meaning “burning ones.” In the Bible, the seraphim are angels who surround God’s throne.
  • Shaw – The surname Shaw is derived from the Gaelic first name Sithech, meaning "wolf". The name Shaw's English origin is also a topographic name for someone who lived by a copse or thicket. Middle English variations of the name include s(c)hage, s(c)hawe, as well as the Old English sceaga.
  • Theseus (Scamander) – This name is possibly derived from Greek τίθημι (tithemi), meaning "to set, to place". Theseus was the king of Athens in Greek mythology who slew the Minotaur in the Labyrinth.
  • 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." 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.
  • Yusuf – This name is of Arabic origin, meaning "God will increase" or "God gives", and in the Quran it is the name of a prophet. It is considered a form of the name Joseph.
Events, Places, and Mottos
  • The Blind Pig – The Blind Pig is an illegal magical saloon located in New York City. The term "blind pig" originated in the 19th century. It is usually attributed to a saloonkeeper during a prohibition period beginning in 1851. This saloonkeeper, knowing that the sale of liquor violated the law, instead sold his patrons tickets to view a blind pig and treated customers to a free glass of rum with their admission. Typically, a "blind pig" would be considered a lower-class establishment while a "speakeasy" might be slightly more upscale.
  • The Magical Congress of the United States of America – Often abbreviated MACUSA, this is the magical body in charge of governing the wizarding community of the United States of America. It takes its name from the defunct Continental Congress of the United States of America, a series of legislative bodies that met around the time of the American Revolution, though it is not structured the same. At its inception, the Magical Congress was modeled after a system from England older than even the Ministry of Magic: the Wizarding Council of Great Britain.
  • Père Lachaise Cemetery – The cemetery of Père Lachaise was named after Father François de la Chaise (1624–1709), who was the confessor to Louis XIV. De la Chaise lived in the Jesuit house rebuilt during 1682 on the site of the chapel.
  • Augurey – This is a bird with a cry that was thought to foretell death. The bird can be considered rather pathetic looking in appearance, being depicted in a grayish color and resembling a vulture. The name Augurey comes from the word "augury", which means "omen or portent of the future." It is a play on the word.
  • Boggart – In Celtic mythology, a boggart is a household spirit, sometimes mischievous, sometimes helpful. In Northern England, at least, there was the belief that the boggart should never be named, for when it was given a name, it would not be reasoned with or persuaded and would become uncontrollable and destructive.
  • Bowtruckle – The word "bow" can be traced back to much older words meaning "dwelling" better associated with obsolete Scottish dialect. It could also come from the same root as the English word "bough", meaning the limb of a tree. Combined with the word "truckle", which originally means "to act in a subservient manner", a Bowtruckle is thought to be a tree guardian.
  • Chupacabra – The name of this creature is Spanish for "goat-sucker." The word chupar means "to suck", while cabra means "goat."
  • Demiguise – A Demiguise is a creature capable of turning invisible. The word "demi" means "partial" or "half." The term "guise" means "outward appearance." This creature's name could be considered a play on the word "disguise."
  • Erumpent – An Erumpant is enormous rhinoceros-like creature that has a single large horn on it's head that injects explosive liquid. The name sounds vaguely like "elephant", even though it looks more like a rhinoceros. It could be a combination of "serum", a word that refers to fluid or liquid, and "elephant", the animal it resembles in size.
  • Goblin – Goblin is an Old French word that most likely stems from the medieval Latin word gobelinus. This name was given to a devil said to be haunting the Normandy countryside.
  • House-Elf – The House-elf is derived from folklore creatures called "brownies" or "hobs." A hob is a type of small mythological household spirit found in England, especially on the Anglo-Scottish border. According to traditional regional folklore, they could live inside the house or outdoors. They are said to work in farmyards and thus could be helpful. The typical way to be rid of a hob was to give them a set of new clothing, the receiving of which would make the creature leave forever. It could however be impossible to get rid of the worst hobs. In some parts of Britain, hobs and brownies are called "dobbies."
  • Kappa – Kappas are water demons that attack humans. To prevent one from attacking, a person must give it a cucumber engraved with that person's name. This is fitting, considering kappa means "water spirit" in Japanese, and they feed on blood and cucumbers. Japanese villagers used to write their names on cucumbers and throw them into a river, believing that this would keep the kappas from harming their families.
  • Kelpie – A kelpie is thought to be a shape-changing water demon. In Scottish legend, the kelpie is a treacherous water devil that liked causing drownings and lurks in lakes and rivers. The kelpie usually took the shape of a horse. The origin of the word is unknown, but could be related to Gaelic colpach meaning "heifer", "steer", "colt" or colpa meaning "cow" or "horse." The name became known around 1747 in Scotland.
  • Matagot – The word "matagot" is derived from the Spanish matar (to kill) and gothos (Goths). Germanic Goth tribes settled in Spain, Southern France, and Italy and eventually converted to Christianity. The term "Goth" has Old English and Late Latin origins and refers to "Christians" while "moro", a Spanish derivative of the Latin word Maurus, means "Muslim". This term specifically refers to Muslims from the northwest area of Africa. A matagot is a spirit in French folklore that tends to take the form of a black cat. Many matagots are evil in nature, while some can be helpful to humans. Some people would allow a "wealth-bringing" matagot to eat and drink first at every meal, resulting in a solid gold coin each morning for its owner.
  • Mooncalf – A mooncalf is gray-skinned creature that comes out at the full moon to walk on its hind legs. The Mooncalf appears as a nod to traditional "gray" aliens, as they tend to leave patterns in fields like crop circles. Historically, "mooncalf" refers mainly to a miscarried and usually deformed fetus of a cow or other animal. Occasionally, it was applied to similar human cases as well. It refers to the belief that the cycle of the moon had adversely affected fetal development in these instances.
  • Niffler – A Niffler is a gold-seeking creature. Its appearance is that of a fuzzy black mammal, almost like a platypus or badger. The name likely comes from "sniffler", which could indicate that it sniffs out treasure. The term "niffer" refers to the acts of exchanging, mutually exchanging, or bartering in Scotland and Northern England.
  • Obscurus – The word derives from Old French obscur or oscur, which mean "dark", "clouded, gloomy". It also has Latin origin and means literally "dark", "dusky", "shady," or figuratively "unknown", "hard to discern", "from insignificant ancestors."
  • Occamy – The word "Occamy" is derived from the name of the English philosopher Occam, who invented the methodological principle Occam's Razor, which states that nothing should be presumed to exist that is not absolutely necessary for explanation. "Occamy" can also relate to a metallic composition imitating silver.
  • Phoenix – A phoenix is a songbird whose tears can heal wounds. When close to death, a phoenix would burst into flames and be born anew from its ashes. It is a symbol of immortality and resurrection. The legend of the phoenix exists in many cultures, including Arabian, Egyptian, Greek, and Chinese mythology. It is also mentioned in early Christianity. Alternative forms of the name include the Middle English fenix, Latin- phoenix, and Greek- phoinix.
  • Thestral – The name "Thestral" comes from the archaic English word thester, meaning "dark" or "gloomy", and the suffix "-al", meaning "pertaining to". When joined together, the name ultimately means "pertaining to the dark" or "to gloom."
  • Thunderbird – The thunderbird is a legendary creature in certain North American Indigenous peoples' histories and cultures that represents power and strength. It is generally assumed to be based on real species of birds, namely the bald eagle, which is very common on the Northwest Coast. Like most fables and mythologies, details like size and the supernatural powers of the animal are exaggerated.
  • Zouwu – The zouwu is a legendary creature mentioned in old Chinese literature. It is described as a "righteous" animal, only appearing during the reign of a benevolent and sincere monarch. It is said to be as fierce-looking as a tiger but is gentle and strictly vegetarian.
Jobs and Identites
  • Auror – This term is perhaps derived from "aurora," meaning "dawn." Aurors may be seen as those who bring the light, vanquishing the darkness.
  • Legilimens – This word comes from the Latin legere, meaning "to read," and mens, meaning "mind." Therefore, it gives the caster the ability to read someone's mind.
  • Maledictus – Roughly translated, the term "Maledictus" could mean "spoken badly of", "wrongfully spoken", or "cursed." "Mal-" is a prefix of Latin origin meaning "bad", "wrongful", or "ill". "Dictus" in Latin means "spoken".
  • Muggle – Muggle comes from English slang. A "mug" is somebody who is easily fooled.
  • No-Maj – The term "No-Maj" comes from "No Magic", and is used in America to describe people born without magic, or non-wizards.
Potions, Spells, and Magical Objects
  • Aberto – In Portuguese and Galician, aberto is the word for the adjective "open."
  • Accio (Summoning Charm) – In Latin, accio means "I summon."
  • Alohomora (Unlocking Charm) – This is derived from the Hawaiian aloha, meaning "goodbye," and the Latin word mora, meaning "obstacle."
  • Appare Vestigium (Tracking Spell) – In Latin, appare means "you appear (now)." Vestigium is Latin for "footprint" or "track," or in a broader sense, any form of trace, vestige, or mark. This invokes a tracking spell that “materializes as a swirl of gold, which illuminates traces of recent magical activity."
  • Avada Kedavra (Killing Curse) – This is an Aramaic phrase that means "I will destroy as I speak." It is also similar to "Abracadabra," which is an ancient spell (dates from the second century) used by conjurors to invoke spirits or supernatural powers for protection against disease or aid. Kedavra sounds like "cadaver," which means "corpse."
  • Avenseguim – The incantation Avenseguim is possibly derived from avens, a Latin adjective for "eager" or "craving," and seguir, the Spanish and Portuguese verb meaning "to follow." Together, Avenseguim can be interpreted as "to eagerly follow."
  • Circumrota – In Latin, circum means "around" or "about," and rota means "wheel."
  • Confundo (Confundus Charm) – This is derived from the Latin verb confundere, which means "to confuse" or "to perplex."
  • Expelliarmus (Disarming Spell) – This is a Latin combination of expellere, meaning "to expel," and arma, meaning "weapon" or "upper arm."
  • Fiendfyre – Literally translated, a "fiend" is an enemy, and fyre is the Old English spelling of "fire."
  • Finite Incantatem (General counter-spell) – "Incantatem" could be related to the Latin incantationem, which means "incantation." Together, the phrase translates as "stop the incantation."
  • Legilimens – This comes from the Latin legere, meaning "to read," and mens, meaning "mind." Therefore, it gives the caster the ability to read someone's mind.
  • Lumos (Wand-Lighting Charm) – Lumen is Latin for "light," and "luminous" means "emitting light" in English.
  • Nebulus – This from the Latin nebulosus, meaning "cloudy" or "obscure."
  • Nox (Wand-Extinguishing Charm) – Nox is Latin for "night" or "darkness."
  • Obliviate (Memory Charm) – This comes from the word "obliterate," meaning "to wipe out," "to erase," or "to remove all traces" and also sounds like "oblivious," meaning "forgetful."
  • Protego (Shield Charm) – In Latin, protego means "I cover" or "I protect."
  • Protego Diabolica – In Latin, protego means "I cover" or "I protect," and diabolica means "diabolic."
  • Repello Muggletum (Muggle-Repelling Charm) – In Latin, repello means "to repel." The Muggle-Repelling Charm keeps Muggles away from the target place or object.
  • Silencio (Silencing Charm) – This was derived from the word "silence," meaning "the state of being quiet."
  • Surgito – In Latin, surgo means "I arise."
  • Stupefy (Stunning Spell) – "Stupefy" in English means "dull the senses of, daze."
  • VentusVentus is a Latin word meaning "wind."

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