What's In a Name?Book List

The Prisoner of Azkaban...

Acid Pops - candy that burns a hole through your tongue.

Well, some acids are definitely strong enough to burn a hole through your tongue at high enough concentrations.
Alohomora - charm used to unlock doors
According to Steve Vander Ark, this is a combination of "Aloha" (Hawaiian, "Goodbye") and "mora" (Latin, "obstacle").
Animagus - A wizard capable of transforming into another animal. Plural Animagi
The word "Animagus" is a combination of "animal" and "mage" (sorceror).
Aparecium - spell used to make invisible ink visible
"Appareo" is Latin for "to become visible".
Apparate - magical ability to dissappear and reappear at any location
"Appareo" is Latin for "to become visible".
Arithmancy - one of Hermione's favorite subjects
Arithmancy - an early form of numerology dealing with the study of numbers, where divination is made through numbers, especially those numbers associated with the letters of a person's name. (Thanks to The Encyclopedia Potterica!)
Azkaban - Dementor-guarded wizard prison
Similar to "Alkatraz", on which I believe Azkaban was based.
Banshee - Seamus' boggart; Bandon Banshee banished by a harelipped witch (Lockhart took credit)
Crying spirits or fairies whose scream announced immanent death. She has long streaming hair and is dressed in a gray cloak over a green dress. Her eyes are fiery red from the constant weeping. (compare with Celtic "Cyhiraeth", North Munster "Aiobhill", and South Munster "Cliodna", Scotland "Bean Nighe", Ireland "Bean Sidhe", Germany "Bozaloshtsh")
Bludger - Quidditch ball that tries to knock people off their brooms.
"Bludger" is a word from Australian slang, meaning a goldbricker (that's an old US Army term) - someone who hangs around and appears to be working but is not pulling his/her weight - a do-nothing. It was one of the "Aussie words of the day" in the Olympics. Thanks to Brooks from HP4GU! Also, "bludgeon" means "to hit, usually with a large, blunt object, like a club". That's what bludgers do!
Boggart - Shapeshifter that takes the form of your greatest fear.
Household spirits from the north of England. The dark and hairy boggarts are dressed in tattered clothes, with meddling hands and clumsy feet. The presence of a boggart is betrayed by the unusual number of small accidents and strange noises after dark. They tip over milk bottles, frighten cats, pinch little children, blow out candles, and cause many other mishaps. (From Encyclopedia Mythica)
Brown, Lavender - Gryffindor interested in Divination.
"Lavender" and "Brown" are colors (duh).
Chang, Cho - Ravenclaw seeker. Harry has a rather large crush on her. [Former] girlfriend to Cedric Diggory.
"Cho" is Japanese for "very, extremely". "Chang", when used as a first name, can signify a person that is quick thinking and to the point. Therefore Cho Chang is "very quick thinking", quite appropriate for a Ravenclaw. Additionally, Haruka informs me that "Cho Cho" is Japanese for "butterfly".
Chocolate - counteracts depression from Dementors
Seriously, chocolate is known to cause a slight increase in endorphins -- brain chemicals which give some sense of pleasure and well-being, and also some suppression of pain. Since the effect of Dementor gaze is in essence identical to major depression, anything which enhances a state of wellbeing helps recovery. (Thanks to Brooks on HP4GU)
Chocolate Frog - wizard candy that comes with a famous wizard card
Probably taken from the Monty Python "Crunchy Frog" sketch.
Clearwater, Penelope - Percy's girlfriend. A ravenclaw prefect.
This is kind of a stretch, but Penelope was the wife of Odysseus, and their home in Ithaca was mentioned as being close to a place called "Clearwater". I'll try to find the exact quote.
Cockroach Cluster - wizard "candy"
Probably taken from the Monty Python "Crunchy Frog" sketch.
Crabbe, Vincent - one of Draco Malfoy's goons
If you switch the first letters of Crabbe and Goyle, you get "grab" and "coil", which is what a snake does to its prey. However, according to Inna Dykman, Crabbe could have been named along the same lines as McGonagall: after a poet. British poet George Crabbe is known for the two poems "The Village" and "His Mother's Wedding Ring".
Dervish and Bange's - shop in Hogsmeade
Dervish is a class of Sufi Muslim devotees.
Diagon Alley - Home to many wizarding shops.
Just as Knockturn Alley becomes "Nocturnally" (Knockturnally) when you put the two words together, Diagon alley becomes "Diagonally". According to Gretchen, "Diagon Alley" is actually "diagonal ley." A ley line is a line connecting ancient sites of Britain and was thought to have magical powers.

Re: Ley Lines: "Briefly, the idea, first propounded by Alfred Watkins, a Herefordshire amateur archaeologist in the early 1920's, holds that the early inhabitants of Britain deliberately placed mounds, camps and standing stones across the landscape in straight lines. As time went by later structures were added to these sites. Some Roman roads followed the leys, Christian churches were built on what had been ley markers in order to take advantage of the age and sanctity already attached to them, and the keeps of mediaeval castles were sited on mounds that had marked leys millennia before. As a result it is still possible to trace these alignments on maps." --Sister Mary Lunatic

Diggory, Cedric - popular Hufflepuff quidditch captain and seeker
"Diggory" is possibly a nod to C.S. Lewis. In the seventh Narnia book, The Magician's Nephew, one of the main characters is a boy named Digory Kirke. The following description is from Narnia.com: "...Digory has a firm sense of right and wrong and is a very good friend to have when the going gets tough. However, he is also very strongwilled..."
Dissendium - spell to open the one-eyed crone's hump in one of the passages to Hogsmeade
It could come from "dissect", which means to cut open.
Divination - fortune-telling class
The art of act of fortelling future events or revealing knowlege by means of augury (a sign or omen) or alleged supernatural agency.
Dr. Filibuster's Fabulous No-Heat Wet-Start Fireworks
I have no idea how this relates, but a filibuster is an obstructionist tactic, especially prolonged speechmaking, used to delay legislative action. It's possible that these fireworks that last so long could be linked to a really long speech. A bit of a stretch, in my opinion. Filibuster was also an adventurer engaged in private warfare abroad. From "filibustero", which is Spanish for "freebooter" (pirate/plunderer).
Dumbledore, Albus - Headmaster at Hogwarts.
"Albus" means "white" in Latin. I assume this is so because he's sort-of the leader of the "light" side. Go figure.
"Dumbledore" is an English word for "bumblebee". According to Kate C., J.K. Rowling says that it "seemed to suit the headmaster, because one of his passions is music and I imagined him walking around humming to himself."
Dudley Dursley - Harry's bullying cousin
According to Encyclopedia Potterica, "Dudley" is a play on "dud", which is British slang for "a boring person". Dursley is a small town in Britain.
Dursley, Petunia Evans - Harry's maternal aunt.
Both Petunia and her sister, Lily, are named after flowers. The petunia symbolizes anger and resentment. Compare with the lily, which symbolizes purity and innocence. "Dursley" is a small town in Britain.
Expecto Patronum - Defense against dementors.
Patronus means protector, so "expecto patronum" means to expect a protector.
Expelliarmus - Disarming charm
Combination of "expel" (to force or drive out; eject forcefully) and "arma" (weapons [Latin]).
Ferula - a spell to make a splint (for a broken bone)
"Ferule" is a wooden stick, which is used in a splint.
Fidelius charm - complicated spell consisting of hiding a secret inside a living soul.
"Fidelity" means "faithfulness to obligations or duties".
Filch, Argus - Bad-tempered squib caretaker at Hogwarts.
"Argus" is a hundred-eyed giant (also called Panoptes, Greek for "the all-seeing") employed by Hera to guard Io, one of Zeus' lovers turned into a cow. He was lulled to sleep, then killed by Hermes (Greek mythology).

"Filch" is a verb that means "to steal". Ex: With cunning thou hast filched my daughter's heart. --Egeus, Midsummer Night's Dream

Filibuster Fireworks - See "Dr. Filibuster's Fabulous No-Heat Wet-Start Fireworks"

Flint, Marcus - Slytherin Quidditch captain

Like Oliver Wood, Flint's last name is a raw material. CharNorse also reminds me that Captain Flint is an evil ship captain from "Treasure Island".
Flitwick (Professor) - Charms teacher
"Flitwick" is a city near London.
Floo Powder - used by wizards to travel by fire
A "flue" is a pipe, tube, or channel for conveying hot steam or smoke (like a chimney).
Fudge, Cornelius - bumbling Minister of Magic
There was a pope named Saint Cornelius, whose reign was marked by the controversy over the lapsed (those under persecution who had renounced Christianity). Cornelius's leniency toward the lapsed drew the support of the bishop of Carthage, St. Cyprian, but aroused the opposition of the Roman priest Novatian. He was exiled, then martyred in 253, where he was succeeded by bishop Saint Lucius. (that's worth a shiver up your spine!)

"Fudge" can mean "to evade or dodge"

Galleons - gold coin worth 17 sickles or 493 knuts.
15th-century sailing ship with rectangular sails on the middlemast, foremast, and rear mizzenmast. They were often used for trade between China and Mexico. (Thanks to Encarta Encyclopedia).
Goyle, Gregory - one of Draco Malfoy's goons
If you switch the first letters of Crabbe and Goyle, you get "grab" and "coil", which is what a snake does to its prey. Also, "Greg Goyle" sounds similar to gargoyle, which are ferocious-looking stone guardians of castles and cathedrals, similar to how Goyle is one of Malfoy's bodyguards.
Granger, Hermione - Bookish friend of Harry and Ron.
There are several famous women named Hermione, but J.K. named her after a character in the Shakespearean tragedy "The Winter's Tale", probably written in 1611. The first three acts deal with the jealousy of King Leontes and his persecution of his queen, Hermione. His passion brings about her supposed death and the abandonment of her infant daughter. The fourth act, set 16 years later, relates the courtship of this daughter, Perdita, by Prince Florizel of Bohemia, and the flight of the young couple to the kingdom of Leontes. There, in the last act, Perdita is recognized as Leontes's lost child. To make his happiness complete, a statue of his queen comes to life, and Hermione herself forgives him and embraces Perdita.

In Farenhiet 451, there is a man named Granger, who has a photographic memory that he uses only for memorizing books. Candice informs me that "Granger" is the first name of a character in a book called "Frindle". Miss Granger is a prim and proper person, who always forces people to obey the rules and play by them.

On a complete tangent, Trina on HP4GU informs me that one of Santa's elves in "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer" is named "Hermie", who wants to be a dentist rather than help the Jolly Old Elf make toys...(And Hermione's folks are both dentists).

Grim - huge spectral dog that haunts churchyards. An omen of death.
I think the grim was based on the Barghest, a monstrous dog with huge teeth and claws from the area around Yorkshire, northern England. It only appears at night. People believe that anyone who sees the dog clearly will die soon after the encounter. In Wales, they have the red-eyed Gwyllgi, the Dog of Darkness. On the Isle of Man it is called Mauthe Doog.
Gringots - Wizard bank run by Goblins.
"Gringots" is an angram of "g storing". Possibly "galleon storing" or "gold storing".
Gryffindor - one of the four Hogwarts houses; noted for bravery. Named for Godric Gryffindor.
This definition comes from Steve Vander Ark of Harry Potter Lexicon. Gryffindor comes from French "gryffin d'or", which means "golden griffin". Griffins are half-lion, half-eagle. Griffins are a symbol of the dual nature (divine and human) of Jesus Christ, precisely because of its mastery of earth and sky. The solar associations of both the lion and the eagle favored this positive reading. The griffin thus also became the adversary of serpents and basilisks, both of which were seen as embodiments of satanic demons." - Paraphrased from Dictionary of Symbolism: Gryphon.
Hag - often seen in Hogsmeade.
The hag is a fairy from the British Isles. She is said to be the traces of the most ancient goddesses. The hag is regarded as the personification of winter. In the winter months she is usually old and very ugly looking. As the season changes though she becomes more and more beautiful, and younger. (Encyclopedia Mythica)
Hagrid, Rubeus - Gamekeeper and Care of Magical Creatures teacher at Hogwarts.
Ms. Rowling says that if you were "Hagrid" in old English you were having a bad night. She says that Hagrid is a big drinker and often has his own bad nights. (thanks to Kate C. for pointing this out).
"Rubeus" can mean "red" or "jewel". I'm not sure of its accuracy, but according to Greg Siverling, it can also mean harsh, alarming, or scary.
Harry James Potter - If you need a definition, I'm surprised you're here.
J.K. had a best friend as a child named Ian Potter. Heather informs me that the reason for the name "Harry" is that it has always been J.K.'s favourite boys name. She says if she had had a son, she would have called him Harry. This made it a natural choice for her. She also said if she HAD had a son called Harry, our favourite wizarding child would have been renamed to protect her child's privacy.

An amusing "Harry" reference: "It was a day like any other and Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Brainsample were a perfectly ordinary couple, leading perfectly ordinary lives--the sort of people to whom nothing extraordinary ever happened, and not the kind of people to be the center of one the most astounding incidents in the history of mankind...so let's forget about them and follow instead the destiny of this man (camera pans to businessman in bowler hat and pinstripe suit)...Harold Potter, gardener and tax official, first victim of Creatures from Another Planet,"--Narrator, MONTY PYTHON'S FLYING CIRCUS

Hedwig - Harry's pet owl
A 12th century German saint. She was very pious, noble, virtuous, good to the poor (to whom she gave most of her money), served the lepers, who lived a life of austerity even after she married the ruler of Silesia and Poland (Henry the Bearded). She entered a convent one she had founded at Trebnitz) after the death of her husband. A cathedral was built to Saint Hedwig in Germany in the mid-1700's. Thanks to Kelly on the Amazon.com HP message boards for the more in-depth info!
Hermes - Percy's owl
Hermes was the Greek messenger god, as well as the god of shepherds, land travel, merchants, weights and measures, oratory, literature, athletics and thieves, and known for his cunning and shrewdness. It was his duty to guide the souls of the dead down to the underworld. He was also closely connected with bringing dreams to mortals. Hermes on Encyclopedia Mythica
Hermione Granger - See "Granger, Hermione"

Hippogriff - One of Hagrid's "pets", used in Care of Magical Creatures.

A legendary animal, with the hindquarters of a horse and the head, beak and wings of an eagle. The hippogriff is often found in ancient Greek art and appeared largely in medieval legends. It is also a symbol of love. Hippogriff at Encyclopedia Mythica, Picture 1, Picture 2.
Hogwarts - British wizarding school
"Hogwart" is a type of lily. It's also "warthogs" switched around.
Holly - wood used in Harry's wand (compare with Yew, the wood in Voldemort's wand)
According to Rita on HP4GU: While holly has much more life-oriented associations. It is a symbol of Christmas, which is not only the birth of their Savior for Christians, but the time when the amount of sunlight in the day starts to lengthen. Holly, ivy, and pine got that Christmas gig because, as evergreens, they are among the few plants still green and visibly alive in the snow. My friend showed me a medieval Tristan and Iseult tale in which King Mark makes a compromise with Tristan: one will have her when the trees are green and the other will have her when the trees are bare. King Mark chooses when the trees are bare, since then the nights are longer, more time for bed fun with his reluctant wife, but Tristan triumphantly points out that Mark NEVER gets her, since the holly and the ivy are NEVER bare.
Howler - a letter that shouts its message and explodes if unopened. Used as punishment.
To howl is to cry or wail loudly. Also, a "howler" is slang for "a laughably stupid blunder".
Impervius - spell used by Hermione to repel water from Harry's glasses in PoA
"Impervius" means "incapable of being penetrated or affected".
Jigger, Arsenius - wrote Magical Drafts and Potions
Arsenic is a poison.
A "jigger" is a small measure for liquor, usually holding 11/2 oz.
Kappa - A creature Professor Lupin teaches his students about.
Japanese water spirits who pull little children into the water and drown them, and attack and fight travelers. The Kappas feed themselves with cucumbers and blood, and use cucumbers for travel; these cucumbers fly like dragonflies. They're very intelligent. (From Encyclopedia Mythica, Picture)
Lumos - spell to send a beam of light from the end of a wand, like a torch (flashlight). The counterspell is "Nox".
"Lumen" is Latin for "light", and "luminous" can mean "giving off light".
Lupin, Remus - werewolf. DAtDA teacher during Harry's third year and friend to James, Sirius, and Peter.
Remus and his brother Romulus were twins raised by wolves that supposedly founded Rome. (Roman mythology)
The people of Normandy and France call werewolves "Lupin" (or "Loup-Garou"). "lupine" means "wolf-like". Katie Nickels points out that Lupus, the wolf, is a constellation in the Southern Hemisphere.
"Uncle Remus" is also the name of a Zappa song.
Madam Pomfrey - See "Pomfrey, Poppy (Madam)"

Madam Rosmerta - See "Rosmerta (Madam)"

Mandrake - restorative used to return people who have been transfigured or cursed back to their original state.

Regarded as a plant with special powers because the root roughly resembles the human figure. It was supposed to grow under the feet of a hanged man and could only be pulled from the ground after performing the necessary rituals. It was advisable to put wax in the ears before one attempted to do this: the mandrake would scream when pulled free and this could cause deafness. The mandrake root was used for invulnerability, for discovering treasures, and as a charm for pregnancy.
Malfoy, Draco - Slytherin rival of Harry, Ron, and Hermione.
"Draco" means "dragon" in Latin. Also, Draco was the name of a cruel Athenian lawmaker. His harsh legal code punished both trivial and serious crimes with death. From this we get our expression "draconian laws", meaning unnecessarily harsh laws.
"Mal foi" means "bad faith" in French.
Malfoy, Lucius - Draco Malfoy's father. Death eater.
The name "Lucius" might be a nod to "Lucifer", the devil. More likely, however, is the connection with Saint Lucius, who succeeded Saint Cornelius as pope. Will Lucius Malfoy become the next Minister of Magic? Only time will tell. Another interesting connection is that both Draco and Lucius (another Lucius, not the pope!) were overly harsh Roman lawmakers.
Again, "Mal foi" is French for "bad faith".
McGonagall, Minerva - strict leader of Gryffindor house and assistant Headmistress at Hogwarts.
Minerva is the Roman goddess of wisdom, medicine, the arts, dyeing, science and trade, and war. As Minerva Medica she is the patroness of physicians. Minerva is believed to be the inventor of numbers and musical instruments. She was equated with the Greek Athena. (From Encyclopedia Mythica). Picture.
"McGonagall" is named after William Topaz McGonagall, widely held as the worst poet in the English language.
Mobiliarbus - Spell used by Hermione to move a tree in Three Broomsticks.
Mobile - capable of movement
Arbor - tree (Latin)
Mobilicorpus - Spell used by Black to move Snape when he was unconsious.
Mobile - capable of movement
Corpus - body
Mrs. Norris - Filch's cat
According to Kate C., Mrs. Norris was named after a nosy preacher's wife in Jane Austen's Mansfield Park.
Muggle - someone without wizarding talent
J.K. Rowling derived it from "mug", a British slang word for "fool". However, unbeknownst to J.K., it has been used several times before; the most noteworthy being a slang term for marijuana. You can check out some of the other "muggle sightings" at the UHPFC.
Nearly-Headless Nick (Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington) - resident ghost of Gryffindor tower, who died from near-beheading.
The "Nick" part of his name is probably in reference to his botched beheading. (A "nick" is a shallow cut) Mimsy is a word coined by Lewis Carrol in "Through the Looking-Glass" for the poem "Jabberwocky". It's a combination of "miserable" and "flimsy".
N.E.W.T.s - "Nearly Exhausting Wizarding Tests", a standardized test for wizards.
Equivalent to the British A-levels and the American SAT.
Nimbus 2000/2001 - Broomsticks used by Harry and Malfoy.
Nimbus \Nim"bus\, n.; pl. L. Nimbi, E. Nimbuses. [L., a rain storm, a rain cloud, the cloudshaped which enveloped the gods when they appeared on earth.]
  1. (Fine Arts) A circle, or disk, or any indication of radiant light around the heads of divinities, saints, and sovereigns, upon medals, pictures, etc.; a halo. See Aureola, and Glory, n., 5.

    Note: "The nimbus is of pagan origin." "As an atribute of power, the nimbus is often seen attached to the heads of evil spirits." --Fairholl.

  2. (Meteor.) A rain cloud; one of the four principal varieties of clouds. See Cloud. (Submitted by Rob Landley)

The Nimbus "halo" in painting was developed in Christian art in the 400's. According to Greek myths, a radiant numbus surrounded the heads of gods and goddesses when they came to earth.

Nox - "turns off" the beam of light from a wand from the "lumos" spell
"Nox" is Latin for "darkness" or "night".
Oliver Wood - See "Wood, Oliver"

O.W.L.s - "Ordinary Wizarding Levels", a standardized test for wizards.

Equivalent to the British O-levels and the American PSAT.
Padfoot - Sirius Black's "marauder" nickname.
The padfoot is supposed to be similar to a werewolf. It's a giant, black, wolf-dog that lived mostly in the southeast areas of England.
Patil, Parvati - Gryffindor interested in Divination.
There's a Hindu mountain-goddess named Parvati. She is the sister of the goddess of the Ganges river, Padma.
"Patel" is a fairly common Indian last name.
Patronus - Defense against dementors.
Patronus is Latin for "protector".
Penelope Clearwater - See "Clearwater, Penelope"

Pettigrew, Peter - former friend of James, Sirius, and Remus. Rat animagus.

His last name breaks up into "Pet-I-Grew", referring to the time lived as Ron and Percy's pet.
Phoenix - Dumbledore's loyal pet.
The phoenix was a legendary bird thought to live near a well in Arabia. It's song was thought to be so beautiful, that even the sun god would stop to listen. Only one phoenix could exist at a time, and they lived from between 500 to 1500 years. When it thought death was near, it would build a fire and throw itsself into the flames. A new phoenix would be born from the flames, who would embalm the old phoenix in an egg of myrrh and bring it to Heliopolis, the temple of the sun. The phoenix represented the sun, which dies at night and is reborn in the morning. A symbol of immortality and resurrection. (Egyptian and Greek mythology, also mentioned in early Christianity). Phoenix at Eliki, Phoenix at Encyclopedia Mythica, Phoenix at Bulfinch's Mythology, Picture 1, Picture 2
Pomfrey, Poppy - Hogwarts matron (nurse)
The poppy is one of the oldest medicinal plants. (Thanks to Jenna). I have long joked about the similarity between "Pomfrey" and "Pomme frites", which is French for "french fries". No, I'm sure J.K. wasn't thinking of french fries when she was naming characters.
Potter, Lily Evans - Harry's mother
Both Lily and her sister, Petunia, are named after flowers. The lily symbolizes purity and innocence. Compare with the petunia, which symbolizes anger and resentment.

I've gotten several emails asking if "Evans" is Lily's real maiden name, and the answer is yes. J.K. Rowling revealed this information in a recent online chat.

Prang, Ernie - Driver of The Knight Bus
"Prang" means "to crash into" and that fits Ernie rather well.
Privet Drive - Home to the Dursleys
A privet is a shrub having opposite leaves and clusters of white flowers, widely used for hedges.
Quidditch - popular wizard sport played on broomsticks
Elvira points out that "Quidditch" is a combination of the three balls used in the game. (Qu)affle + Blu(d)ger + Sn(itch).
Relashio - sends sparks at an opponent
"Rel-" (release) + "ash" (powdery residue of fire)
Remus Lupin - See "Lupin, Remus"

Reparo - repairs broken or damaged objects

"Reparo" is Latin for "to restore, renew, make good"
Riddikulus - transforms a Boggart into a new form comical in appearance
"Ridiculous" means "absurd".
Ron Weasley - See "Weasley, Ron"

Rosmerta, Madam - Owner of The Three Broomsticks

"Rosmerta" is a Gaullish goddess and whose Celtic name means 'Abundant Provider', which is pretty accurate for the hostess of a bar/restaurant. (Thanks to Rita Winston)
Shunpike, Stan - conductor of the Knight Bus
A "shunpike" is a side road used to avoid the toll on or the speed and traffic of a superhighway. (Thanks to Steve Vander Ark)
Smeltings - Boarding school attended by Dudley. Uncle Vernon's Alma Matter
Milz of HP4GU points out that, "smelting" is the act of refining metal ore. If so, then maybe "Smeltings" is a place where one is supposed to be "refined", as in a finishing school? Amanda (also on HP4GU) adds that a smelt (noun) is "any of certain small food fishes which closely resemble the trout in general structure. To smelt (verb) is to melt or fuse, as ore, usually to separate the metal. And it's the past and past participle of "to smell," at least in Britain where their strong verbs are not fading so rapidly as in American English. So I [Amanda] suspect that with the fish and smelly connotations, JKR picked it because having such a ridiculous word being treated with such reverence by the Dursleys is funny.
Smeltings - Boarding school attended by Dudley. Uncle Vernon's Alma Matter
Milz of HP4GU points out that, "smelting" is the act of refining metal ore. If so, then maybe "Smeltings" is a place where one is supposed to be "refined", as in a finishing school? Amanda (also on HP4GU) adds that a smelt (noun) is "any of certain small food fishes which closely resemble the trout in general structure. To smelt (verb) is to melt or fuse, as ore, usually to separate the metal. And it's the past and past participle of "to smell," at least in Britain where their strong verbs are not fading so rapidly as in American English. So I [Amanda] suspect that with the fish and smelly connotations, JKR picked it because having such a ridiculous word being treated with such reverence by the Dursleys is funny.
Spellotape - wizards' tape used to mend broken items
A spoof on "Sellotape", the British equivalent of scotch tape.
Sprout (Professor) - Herbology teacher at Hogwarts.
A sprout is a type of plant.
Squib - A person born to wizard parents, but has no wizarding talent.
A "Squib" is a term used in cinematography for a device that makes it appear as if someone has been shot. For a better example, watch "Mickey Blue Eyes". You'll see what I'm talking about. A "Squib" can also be a small firecracker that doesn't explode.
Surrey - Home of the Dursleys
A county in the southeast of England, adjoining the county of Greater London. The city of Little Whinging is fictional, though.
Trelawney, Sibyl - crackpot divination professor
"Sibyl", in Greek and Roman mythology, was any woman inspired with prophetic power by the god Apollo. The sibyls lived in caves or near streams and prophesied in a frenzied trance, usually in Greek hexameters, which were handed down in writing. Prophesizing in a trance? Sounds like Trelawney!

"Trelawney" may come from Sir Arthur Wing Pinero's well-known play "Trelawney of the "Wells" (1898), about life in a theatrical company. Pinero is a British author, and J.K. tends to get a lot of names from famous British people. Jenna theorizes that she could be named for Trelawney, hero of a Cornish poem called 'And Shall Trelawney Die?'. This is perhaps a reference to her custom of telling one student a year he will die before its end.

Voicelady on HP4GU informs me that there is a witch in Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass named Trelawney! Does anyone see any connections? It's been a long time since I read that book.

Vablatsky, Cassandra - author of "Unfogging the Future"
"Vablatsky" comes from Madame Blavatsky, who is a famous spiritist who founded the Occult Theosophical Society in 1875. (Thanks to The Harry Potter Lexicon)
"Cassandra" was a woman from Greek mythology. She was blessed with the gift of prophecy from Apollo, but cursed by the lack of power to persuade people. At the end of the Trojan War, Cassandra foresaw the danger posed by the Trojan horse, but the people of Troy ignored her warnings and the Greek soldiers hiding inside the horse were able to capture the city. She was then given as a war prize to Agamemnon. She returned to Greece with Agamemnon, and tried to warn him of the danger which awaited him there, but once again her prophecy was ignored, and both she and Agamemnon were murdered by Clytemnestra and Aegisthus. (Paraphrased from Encyclopedia Mythica)
Voldemort - Dark wizard
In French, "Vole de mort" means "flight of Death" or "flight from death" (which I think more accurately represents him), with some hint of also meaning "theft of death". A famous pun on the French word 'vol' was when Napoleon confiscated the estates of surviving nobles of the pre-Revolutionary regime. One of the guys whose estate was confiscated said: "C'est le premier vol de l'aigle', which normally means 'it is the first flight of the eagle' but in this case 'vol' was to be understood as 'theft'. (extended info provided by Rita on eGroups). According to Aberforth's Goat on HP4GU, the "Vol" could be connected to the Latinate "volo" (to wish), meaning "wish of death" or "Death wish".
Weasley, Arthur - father of the Weasley family
According to Ivy (no link available), "Arthur is a possible reference to King Arthur. The World Book says, 'There are two versions of the events that led to Arthur's death. Both say he fought a war against Roman emporer Lucius.'" Interesting...
Weasley, Ron - Redhead friend of Harry and Hermione, former owner of "Scabbers".
In Arthurian legend, "Ron" is the name of King Arthur's trusty spear. (No, I don't buy into the whole "Running Weasel" theory, thank you very much.)
Weasley, Percy - straight-laced, ambitious, former Head Boy, and fellow Weasley.
According to Positively Percy! , "Percival" was a name reserved only for the upper class of Britain in the days of the Monarchy. Later, the British commoners were allowed to use a version of this name (previously, they would have been punished). This variant was "Percy"; Percival itsself still off-limits. By being named "Percy", the name plays off our Percy's family roots as a "poor commoner".
Wood, Oliver - former Gryffindor Quidditch captain
Like Marcus Flint (Slytherin captain), his last names is a raw material. Additionally, according to Christa Sligar, "Wood" is an old English word for mad or crazy, a form of "wode" which is used in that context in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Wood is fairly Quidditch-obsessed, so it applies rather well.
Wormtail - Pettigrew's nickname at Hogwarts, and now his "official" death eater nickname.
Many Tolkien fans on HP4GU point out that there may be a connection between "Wormtail" and Lord of the Rings' "Wormtongue", Theoden's corrupt advisor, who joined Sauruman.
Yew - wood used in Lord Voldemort's wand
Yew is the tree of death, depicted on Victorian mourning cameos showing a woman weeping at a gravestone next to a tree. Yew berries are poisonous, and yew wood is the natural composite that made the English longbow so deadly, and TEX AND MOLLY IN THE AFTERLIFE says that yews are planted in graveyards because they 'thrive on corruption' i.e. eat rotting corpses. (Thanks to Rita on HP4GU!)
Zonko's - Hogsmeade's famous joke shop
I'm not sure about Britain, but in the U.S., "zonked out" can be slang for the condition of physical or mental exhaustion. Ex: "What I day! I'm pretty much zonked out."

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