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”).
- 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.
- 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."