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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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Characters
  • Albus (Dumbledore) – In Latin, this means "white" (maybe for his white beard). Clodius Albinus was Governor of Britain upon the death of 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. 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.
  • Dumbledore – In Old English, this name means "bumblebee."
  • Esther (middle name of Tina 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. It became 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.
  • 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."
  • 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."
  • 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.”
  • Seraphina (Piquery) – This name is derived from the Hebrew seraphim, 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." 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.
Events, Places, and Mottos
  • Père Lachaise Cemetary – The cemetery of Père Lachaise opened in 1804 and takes its name from the confessor to Louis XIV, Père François de la Chaise (1624–1709), who lived in the Jesuit house rebuilt during 1682 on the site of the chapel.
  • 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 is led by the President of the Magical Congress of the United States of America.
  • The Blind Pig – The illegal magical saloon is located in New York City. The origin of the nineteenth-century term "blind pig" is usually attributed to a clever saloonkeeper in Maine (where statewide prohibition legislation was passed in 1851). This saloonkeeper, knowing that the sale of liquor violated the law, instead sold his patrons tickets to view a blind pig he kept in a back room. Along with admission, every viewing customer was treated to a free glass of rum. Generally speaking, a lower class establishment might be called a "blind pig" while a slightly more upscale place would be called a "speakeasy."
Creatures, Jobs, and States of Being
  • Augurey – a rather pathetic-looking bird whose cry was thought to fortell death. The name Augurey is a play on the word "augury" meaning "omen or portent of the future."
  • Auror – This term is perhaps derived from "aurora," meaning "dawn." The Aurors may be seen as those who bring the light, vanquishing the darkness.
  • 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 – a tree-guardian. "Bow" several English senses, but the obsolete Scottish dialect sense traces back to much older words meaning "dwelling", while some senses come from the same root as the English word "bough", meaning the limb of a tree + "truckle" Eng. to take a subordinate position.
  • Chupacabra – Spanish for "goat-sucker"; from chupar, "to suck", and cabra, "goat".
  • Demiguise – creature capable of turning invisible. "Demi" means "partial". "Guise" means "outward appearance". This creature's name is probably a play on "disguise".
  • Erumpant – enormous rhinoceros-like creature with a single large horn that injects explosive liquid. The name sounds vaguely like "Elephant". It could be a combination of "serum" and "elephant".
  • Goblin – The Old French word gobelin first appeared around 1195, and probably stems from the medieval Latin word gobelinus which was the name given to a devil said to be haunting the countryside of Normandy.
  • House Elves – House-elves are derived from creatures called brownies or hobs in folklore: A hob is a type of small mythological household spirit found in the north and midlands of England, but especially on the Anglo-Scottish border, according to traditional folklore of those regions. They could live inside the house or outdoors. They are said to work in farmyards and thus could be helpful, however if offended they could become nuisances. The usual way to dispose 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 sprites from Japanese folklore. They are said to have bowl-like depressions on the tops of their heads and they keep these filled with water. This is the source of their strength. To overcome a kappa, according to folklore, one must bow to it, enticing it to bow in return and spill the water from its head.
  • Kelpie – 1747, Scottish, of unknown origin, perhaps related to Gaelic colpach "heifer, steer, colt;" colpa "cow, horse."
  • 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.
  • Maledictus – Mal- is a prefix of Latin origin meaning "bad", "wrongful", or "ill". Dictus in Latin means "spoken". Roughly translated, Maledictus could mean "spoken ill of" or "cursed."
  • Matagot – A Matagot is a spirit in French folklore that tends to take the form of a black cat. While many Matagots are evil in nature, some can be helpful to humans. If a "wealth-bringing" Matagot is allowed to eat and drink first at every meal, it will give its owner a solid gold coin each morning. The word matagot is derived from the Spanish mata-gothos, from matar (to kill) and gothos (Goths). The Germanic Goth tribes settled in Spain, Southern France and Italy and eventually converted to Christianity, so Goth means "Christian" in opposition with Moro which means "Muslim".
  • Mooncalf – 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.
  • Muggle – Muggle comes from English slang. A "mug" is somebody who is easily fooled.
  • Niffler – gold-seeking, fuzzy, black creature. Probably derived from "sniffler", which could indicate that it sniffs out treasure."niffer" (Scotland and northern England) to exchange, mutually exchange, or barter.
  • No-Maj – Comes from "No Magic", a term used in America to describe people born without magic, or non-wizards.
  • Obscurus – c. 1400, "dark," figuratively "morally unenlightened; gloomy," from Old French obscur, oscur "dark, clouded, gloomy; dim, not clear" (12c.) and directly from Latin obscurus "dark, dusky, shady," figuratively "unknown; unintelligible; hard to discern; from insignificant ancestors," from ob "over" (see ob-) + -scurus "covered," from PIE root *(s)keu- "to cover, conceal." Related: Obscurely.
  • Occamy – The word "Occamy" is derived from the name of the English philosopher Occam, who invented the methodological principle "Occam's Razor", which asserts that when evaluating two competing explanations for a situation one should accept the one that requires least assumptions to be made (or, in other words, nothing should be presumed to exist that is not absolutely necessary for explanation). "occamy" Eng. a metallic composition imitating silver.
  • Phoenix – Middle English fenix, from Old English, from Latin phoenix, from Greek phoinix. A songbird whose tears heal wounds.
  • Thestrals – The name thestral comes from the archaic English word thester, meaning "dark" or "gloomy", and the suffix -al, meaning "of or pertaining to". Together, the name ultimately means "of/pertaining to the dark" or "to gloom." It is stated that the core of the Elder Wand is a Thestral tail hair.
  • Thunderbird – The thunderbird is a legendary creature in certain North American indigenous peoples' history and culture. It is considered a supernatural bird of power and strength. It is especially important, and frequently depicted, in the art, songs and oral histories of many Pacific Northwest Coast cultures, and is found in various forms among the peoples of the American Southwest, Great Lakes, and Great Plains. Thunderbird mythology parallels tales of the Roc from around the Indian Ocean; like the roc, the thunderbird is generally assumed to be based on real (though mythically exaggerated) species of birds, namely the bald eagle, which is very common on the Northwest Coast.
  • Zouwu – a legendary creature mentioned in old Chinese literature. appears in a number of later works, where it is described as "righteous" animal, which, similarly to a qilin, only appears during the rule of a benevolent and sincere monarch. It is said to be as fierce-looking as a tiger, but gentle and strictly vegetarian, and described in some books (already in Shuowen Jiezi) as a white tiger with black spots.
Potions, Spells, and Magical Objects


Contents

A-B C  D  E  F-G  H  I  J-K-L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T-U-V  W-X-Y-Z

A-B

  • 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) – 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."

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