Word Wednesday: Harry Potter Spells

And now for something completely different. July 31st is Harry Potter’s birthday, so I thought that it would be fitting to discuss how the spells in the world of Harry Potter can break down as easily as any scientific term.

Lumos

Lumos comes from the Latin word ‘lumen‘ which means light.  In the world of Harry Potter, Lumos is a basic spell that produces a beam of light from the caster’s wand.

Nox

Nox is a Latin word meaning night. It is the countercharm to Lumos and extinguishes the beam of light.

Incendio

Incendio comes from the Latin word ‘incendium‘ which means ‘causing a fire’. It produces flames.

Locomotor

Locomotor is a Latin word meaning moving from a place. It is used in Harry Potter to move objects.

Obliviate

Obliviate comes from the Latin word ‘oblivio meaning being forgotten. It is used to make the subject forget an event.

Homenum  Revelio

Let’s take each of these words separately. Homenum comes from the Latin word homo‘ which means human and revelio comes from the Latin word ‘revelare‘ which means reveal. In the books, this spell is used to detect hiding people.

Expelliarmus

Expelliarmus needs to be broken down into expelli and -armusExpelli comes from the Latin word ‘expellere‘ which means to drive out and armus comes from the Latin word ‘arma‘ which means weapons. In Harry Potter it is used to disarm your opponent.

So there you go! All you really need to be a wizard is a knowledge of Latin and a vivid imagination.

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