- Confirmed by JK Rowling
- Very confident in its accuracy
- Moderately confident in its accuracy
- Not very confident
- Confirmed false, but I felt like posting it anyway.
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. As if that name wasn't perfect enough, Eslington (on the WIAN boards) informs me that a "Footpad" is a type of thief or highwayman who preys on pedestrians while on foot, a rather appropriate name for a Marauder.
Padma Patil - See "Patil, Padma"
Paracelsus - depicted on a chocolate frog card. A bust of Paracelsus appears in a corridor en route to the owlery.
- Philippus Aureolus Paracelsus was a noted 16th century German physician and alchemist. He defied the medical tenets of his time, asserting that diseases were caused by agents that were external to the body and that they could be countered by chemical substances. Check out more from Alchemy Lab or Scientific Revolution.
Parselmouth - someone that can talk to snakes
- According to JKR, "parselmouth" is an old word for someone who has a problem with their mouth, like a hair lip.
Patil, Padma - Identical twin sister of Parvati Patil. Ravenclaw. Ron's date at the Yule Ball.
- Padma (Ganga) is the Hindu goddess of the Ganges, India's most sacred river. She is the sister of the mountain goddess Parvati. Thanks to Cupcake for telling me that "Padma" also means "lotus". In fact, the highest cultural honor in India is called "Padma Bhushan", which translates to "Order of the Lotus".
- "Patel" is a fairly common Indian last name.
Patil, Parvati - Gryffindor interested in Divination. Sister of Padma Patil.
- 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"
Pensieve - used for storing excess thoughts
- A combination of "pensive", which means deeply thoughtful; and "sieve", which is a utensil of wire mesh or closely perforated metal used for straining, sifting, or pureeing.
Percy Weasley - See "Weasley, Percy"
Peskipiski pesternomi - spell used by Lockhart to stop the cornish pixies (doesn't work).
- Breaks up into "pesky pixie pester no me", which translates from complete gibberish to "don't pester me, pesky pixies".
Peter Pettigrew - See "Pettigrew, Peter"
Petrificus Totalus - Spell for the full-body bind.
- Basically "totally petrify"
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.
Petunia Evans Dursley - See "Dursley, Petunia Evans"
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 Encyclopedia Mythica, Picture
Phyllida Spore - See "Spore, Phyllida"
Philosopher's Stone - a substance which turns any metal into gold and produces the Elixir of Life, which will make the drinker immortal.
- The name for the substance that could turn other metals into gold. The earliest alchemy works were bythe English monk Roger Bacon and the German philosopher Albertus Magnus. Roger Bacon believed that gold dissolved in aqua regia was the elixir of life.
Pigwidgeon - Ron's tiny owl
- References "Pig-Wig," Beatrix Potter's childhood pet. TheFreeDictionary defines "pigwidgeon" as "A cant word for anything petty or small. It is used by Drayton as the name of a fairy."
Pixie - tiny, mischievous creatures
- In folklore, pixies (or piskies) are little people who believed to live on the downs and moors of Cornwall, England. According to one myth, pixies were originally Druids who resisted Christianity, and the more they resisted the smaller they grew. Yet another myth tells of a race of people who were not good enough for heaven, nor bad enough for hell and were doomed to wander the earth forever.
Plimpy - water-dwelling pest
- "Plimpy" is similar to "blimp". The plimpy's spherical shape could have led to this name.
Pomfrey, Poppy - Hogwarts matron (nurse)
- The poppy is one of the oldest medicinal plants. (Thanks to Jenna).
- Her surname name is most likely derived from "comfrey", a medicinal plant.
Pomona Sprout (Professor) - See "Sprout, Pomona (Professor)"
Portus - spellword used to transform an object into a Portkey
- Simply enough, Latin for "to carry."
Potter, Harry James - If you need a definition, I'm suprised you're here.
- Jo has said on several occasions that "Harry" has always been her favourite boy's name. She says if she had had a son, she would have called him Harry, which made it a natural choice for her.
- Jo reportedly had a close friend as a child named Ian Potter.
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.
Prang, Ernie - Driver of The Knight Bus
- "Prang" means "to crash into" and that fits Ernie rather well.
- Probably unrelated, but "Ernie" was JK Rowling's grandfather's name.
Pringle, Apollyon - Hogwarts caretaker in Molly and Arthur Weasley's day
- Well, I'm certainly amused. And we thought *Filch* was bad! Apollyon is a nickname for the Devil in Rev.9:11.
- According to Steve Vander Ark, the Pringle family were a bunch of self-righteous snobs in Anne of Green Gables. This is actually surprisingly likely, given that the current caretaker's cat, Mrs. Norris, is named for a particularly nosy character in Mansfield Park.
Priori Incantatem - used to reveal the most recent spells performed with a specific wand
- "Prior" means "preceeding". An incantation is a charm or spell. (similar to Finite Incantatem)
Privet Drive - Home to the Dursleys
- A privet is a shrub having opposite leaves and clusters of white flowers, widely used for hedges.
Professor Pomona Sprout - See "Sprout, Pomona (Professor)"
Protean Charm - Used by Hermione in OotP. Transfers alterations in the makeup of a source object to copies of the object.
- Proteus is a prophetic sea divinity, son of either Poseidon or Oceanus. He will foretell the future to those who can seize him, but when caught he assumes all possible varying forms to avoid prophesying. When held fast despite his struggles, he will assume his usual form of an old man and tell the future. --Encyclopedia Mythica
Protego - see Shield Charm.
Ptolemy - featured on a wizard card
- An astronomer and mathematician, whose astronomical theories and explanations dominated scientific thought until the 16th century. He is also remembered for his contributions to the fields of mathematics, optics, and geography.
Puckle - JKR considered this as a surname for Hermione. "But it didn't suit her at all and was quickly changed for something a bit less frivolous." --JKR
- While our Hermione's last name is Granger, which means famer, "Puckle" most likely references inventor James Puckle, who created the "Puckle Gun," considered to be an ancestor to the machine gun.
Puffskein - a favourite pet for wizards.
- "Puff" (fluffy) + "skein" (a length of thread wound in a loose coil). The "skein" bit probably refers to their long tongues.
Purge and Dowse - department store facade for St. Mungo's
- To "purge" is to eliminate something unwanted, such as toxins. To "dowse" is the act of using a divining rod to find water (or other sources of life-energy).
Pyrites, Argio - author of Alchemy, Ancient Art and Science.
- JKR originally came up with the name Pyrites for a different character than Argio. "Other drafts included a character by the name of 'Pyrites', whose name means 'fool's gold'. He was a servant of Voldemort's and was meeting Sirius in front of the Potter's house. Pyrites, too, had to be discarded, though I quite liked him as a character; he was a dandy and wore white silk gloves, which I thought I might stain artistically with blood from time to time." --JK Rowling
- Given the etymology of "Pyrites" (fool's gold), "Argio" most likely derives from the Latin argentum, which means white, money, or silver.
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