Here's Where All The Harry Potter Spells Come From

Harry Potter is rapidly returning to social consciousness.

First, there’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child coming to a London playhouse soon. Then, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will bring the world of Potter back to the big screen. That’s not even mentioning the Wizarding World of Harry Potter that recently opened in Los Angeles.

So now that the famous Harry Potter lexicon of spells is making its way back into our lives, the muggles of Mashable decided to ruin them for everyone.

Just kidding. But they did break down the Latin origins of famous spells.

Accio means “I summon” in Latin. This is like when Mexican restaurants are named “Carniceria.” Sounds fancy, means “Meat Shop.”

Avada Kedavara is perhaps the most famous Harry Potter spell. “According to Rowling,” Mashable writes, “its root is actually Aramaic and derives from the original ‘abracadabra,’ which means ‘let the thing to be destroyed.’” That’s spooky. It also explains something about the catch-all magic phrase “abracadabra,” which was previously a minor mystery.

The Dementor protection spell, Expecto Patronum, is a little more complex. “The Latin ‘patronus’ literally means ‘a protector or influential person,’” Mashable writes. “Expecto means ‘I look’ or ‘I wait.’ Put them together, and you have ‘I wait for a protector.’” That make sense. The protectors, in these cases, would be magical temporary animals that chase the evil away.

It seems like Rowling more or less just looked up actions in a Latin dictionary and put spells to the actions that she found. Respect for that, and it’s also not completely surprising, but it does take some of the, uh, magic, out of the magic.

Then again, it would make sense that the spells have Latinate roots since they’ve been around quite a long time. When the spells were invented, they were probably invented by Roman wizards. They invented a lot of European culture, why not spells too?

Click through to the rest of the list to see more translations.
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