Monday, July 16, 2007

Wizarding Words Day 2

Cruciatus- One of the Unforgivable Curses, used to torture someone. Its magic word is Crucio. Crucio is Latin for "I torment," and cruciatus means "tormented." The word is related to crux, Latin for cross, used in Roman times to carry out painful executions.

Dobby the House Elf- Dobby is actually an old word for a household sprite. An association that might occur to many readers is Dobbin, a common nickname for an obedient, unimaginative horse.

Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus (The Hogwarts Motto)- The literal translation of the Latin phrase Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus est would be "A sleeping dragon is never to be tickled", or "should never be tickled". When the word est is omitted, it's understood. The motto doesn't appear in the American editions. The translation usually given is "Never tickle a sleeping dragon".

Albus Dumbledore- Albus is Latin for white (like Dumbledore's silvery hair). An alb is a white tunic that hangs from neck to feet, now most often worn by the clergy. JKR picked the name Dumbledore because it's an old English word for bumblebee. The name might also recall a battledore, which is a paddle used in the game of battledore and shuttlecock. "I know B from a battledore" is a curious old expression meaning "I wasn't born yesterday." Another association is Sir Thomas Tom of Appledore, the discreet hero of A. A. Milne's poem "The Knight Whose Armor Didn't Squeak." Appledore is also a common family name in the country of Bree, according to J. R. R. Tolkien.

Expecto patronum- The spell used to summon a Patronus. Exspecto patronum is Latin for "I await a protector."

Argus Filch- Argus, in Greek mythology, had a hundred eyes, so very little escaped his notice.

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