Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Wizarding Words Day 3

Imperius- One of the Unforgivable Curses, used to control someone's actions. The magic word for this curse is Imperio. Impero is Latin for "I command." Imperious, from the Latin imperiosus, means dictatorial.

Knockturn Alley- A pun on "nocturnally" (by night). Evil deeds are done at night, as Jesus points out in John iii:20a: "Everyone who does evil hates the light."

Little Whinging- The Dursleys' home town. Little Whinging is evidently intended as a typical name for a suburban village. Whinging is a British colloquialism for complaining. It may be a portmanteau of whining and cringing.

Lumos- Used to light up a wand. Lumen is Latin for light.

Lucius and Draco Malfoy- Malfoy is old French for bad faith. Draco is Latin for dragon. One of the constellations, supposed to resemble a dragon, is named Draco. Draco is also the name of an ancient Greek lawgiver who punished even minor crimes with death. Lucius may be intended to evoke Lucifer (from Latin, "bearer of light"), another name for Satan.

Muggle- Mug is British slang for a foolish person, a dupe. Muggles was a slang term for marijuana in the 1920s and 1930s, associated with the jazz scene. In 1928, Louis Armstrong and his orchestra recorded a song Muggles.

Nagini- Nagini is a female Hindu deity in the form of a snake. Nag and Nagaina are the cobras fought by the mongoose Rikki-tikki-tavi in Kipling's "The Jungle Book."

Mrs. Norris- Mrs. Norris is a human character in "Mansfield Park," by Jane Austen. She is a busybody.

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