Tag Archives: Logophilia

Harry Potter and the Linguistic Innovator | OxfordWords blog

Quidditch Horcrux Splinch Muggle Portkey Bowtruckle MudbloodOf Rowling’s Potterverse Vocabulary

and character naming in canon and in fanfiction

I want to share this interesting article from the OxfordWords blog about JKR’s use of language in Harry Potter. The author, Adam Pulford, discusses everything from Rowling’s use of “real” mythological beasts and creating her own, to her use of Latin for spells, to the creation of new terms using familiar English words (e.g., “Mudblood”), to the way she evokes a medieval and obscure world through use of words that are — or sound as if they should be — from an older variety of English.

One thing that I found particularly amusing and very true was a remark the author made regarding the different kinds of names Rowling chose for her characters. Pulford says: Continue reading

Muggle, n.4 : Oxford English Dictionary

J.K. Rowling - Borders books

An Example of a Muggle, a rather superior Muggle with a gift for story-telling.

Today’s OED Word-of-the-Day is “Muggle,” as in, “Whoa! Look at all those Muggles queueing up! Wonder what they’re all waiting for!”

Muggle, n.4 : Oxford English Dictionary.

The OED defines Muggle as, “In the fiction of J. K. Rowling: a person who possesses no magical powers. Hence in allusive and extended uses: a person who lacks a particular skill or skills, or who is regarded as inferior in some way.”

(Please note: the links eventually expire for unsubscribed users. They appear to be “good” for a day or two.)

maleficium, n. : Oxford English Dictionary

Faust, by RembrandtAnd today’s OED Word-of-the-Day, in honor (or honour!) of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry:

maleficium, n. : Oxford English Dictionary. (Plural maleficia.)

The OED informs us the English “maleficium” comes from the classical Latin, maleficium, meaning evil deed, injury, sorcery.

The first definition offered for the English “maleficium” is: “An act of witchcraft performed with the intention of causing damage or injury; the resultant harm; (also) the power of Satan (rare). Now hist.”

Definition 1.b. is: “A potion or poison, used esp. in witchcraft.”

There are some great examples of the use of maleficium over the years. Drop by the OED in the next day or so to see the full entry.

In the meantime avoid any Death Eaters or other perpetrators of maleficia!

(Please note: the links eventually expire for unsubscribed users. They appear to be “good” for a day or two.)

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philosophers’ stone, n. : Oxford English Dictionary

Nicholas FlamelAnd today’s word of the day from the OED: philosophers’ stone, n. : Oxford English Dictionary.

The OED defines the “philosophers’ stone” as: A mythical solid substance, supposed to change any metal into gold or silver and (according to some) to cure all wounds and diseases and prolong life indefinitely.

I didn’t realise a few days ago when their word of the day was “owl” that the OED was beginning a run of Harry Potter-themed words. I look forward to seeing what tomorrow’s word is!

(Please note: the links eventually expire for unsubscribed users. They appear to be “good” for a day or two.)