Name Meanings from Harry Potter Series
6.61. Daniel Radcliffe
Harry - J.K. Rowling's favorite boy's name. The name Harry is of Anglo-Saxon origin and means "power." There was also a magician named Harry Houdini in the 1900s.
Potter - A name J.K. Rowling has always been fond of since childhood. "Potter's Field" is often the name given to a cemetery where a city or town buries those who have gone unclaimed or unwanted (a community's orphans). "Potter's Field" is also considered a cursed land because Judas hung himself in one.
7.52. Emma Watson
Hermione - Means "well-born," "earthy," or "stone." Refers to peony-type flowers. The feminine version of Hermes. In Greek mythology, was often known as the patron saint of high magic (no surprise our Hermione is so gifted). She was the daughter of Helen of Troy and King Menelaus of Sparta. In the Aeneid, Hermione was kidnapped by Pyrrhus, but her loving Orestes came and murdered Pyrrhus while he was praying. Hermione is also a character in Shakespeare's A Winter's Tale. The character is accused of adultery and dies before the intermission. At the end of the play she is brought out as a statue, and finally returns to life at the very end of the play. A possible connection to her petrification in Chamber of Secrets?
Granger - Possibly from the Granger movement in the 1800s, a movement to improve the lives of farmers. Could be a connection to Hermione's desire to start SPEW, a movement to improve the lives of house-elves. A granger was also a very common person, just like Hermione's parents. Granger is the name of a character from the book Fahrenheit 451. He is the leader of a group of intellectuals known as "The Book People," whose goal is the preservation of liturature in the face of their government's efforts to burn and destroy all books. A possible reference to Hermione's fanatical love of books?
6.83. Rupert Grint
Ron - Interesting when taken in conjunction with Arthur. He is the advisor to the King. Comparisons can be made here between Ron being an advisor to Harry on all of his choices and adventures. Both Ron and Hermione listen to Harry's plan and then either agree with or tell them why they think his idea is not a good one.
Weasley - From J.K. Rowling's site weasels were known to have a bad reputation, especially in Ireland, as an unfortunate animal. And well, the Weasleys are unfortunate because they're poor. J.K. Rowling said: "Ron was the only one of three major characters whose surname never changed; he has been 'Weasley' from start to finish. In Britain and Ireland the weasel has a bad reputation as an unfortunate, even malevolent, animal. However, since childhood I have had a great fondness for the family mustelidae; not so much malignant as maligned, in my opinion." The Weasleys and the weasel both share red hair. The Weasleys live near Ottery St. Catchpole, and it is interesting that a family with weasel in their surname lives near a town that has otter in its name (an otter is a member of the weasel family). Also, in Goblet of Fire, the group all go to Stoatshead Hill to take the Portkey to the Triwizard Tournament. A stoat is another relative of the weasel family.
6.44. Bonnie Wright
Ginny - "Ginevra," an Italian female and woman of the people, her name means "Juniper" as in evergreen tree. There is an old myth about a bride named Ginevra, who playfully hid in a trunk on her wedding day. The lid fell, burying her alive; and eventually her skeleton was discovered. This could relate to Ginny being taken into the Chamber of Secrets where her "skeleton would lie forever." However, J.K. Rowling has also said that she picked the name because she wanted something different and special for the only Weasley girl!
6.65. Matthew Lewis
Neville - Old French for "from the new farmland."
Longbottom - The name itself is considered quite humorous, but "bottom" is an old word for "staying power." This seems to accurately fit Neville's personality and overall devotion to Harry.
5.86. Katie Leung
Cho Chang - Cho is Japanese for "butterfly" and in Chinese means "autumn." Chang is Chinese for "free" or "unhindered." In Chinese, "chou chang" means "melancholy."
7.27. Evanna Lynch
Luna - The Roman goddess of the moon. "Luna" means "moon" in Latin, Romanian and Italian. In Romanian, it also translates to "month." The word "lunatic" is also derived from the word "lunar," as it was believed in old times that strange or odd behavior was caused by the moon. "Luna" is a term for "silver" in alchemy.
5.98. Hugh Mitchell
Colin - Means "youth, child, or victor." Also means "young dog," which fits his devotion to Harry.
Creevey – A common surname. From Irish origin, meaning ‘prolific’ – possibly a reference to the creevey brothers’ persistence or from "Creeve" ="to burst," suggesting the Creevey brothers' excitability.
69. Sitara Shah
Parvati - Parvati is a Hindu goddess married to the Hindu god, Shiva the Destroyer. She gave birth to a baby boy named Ganesh, whom Shiva beheaded, but replaced the old head with an elephant head after Parvati reamed him out. Sister of the Goddess of the Ganges, Padma. There was a character named "Parvati the Witch" in Salman Rushdie's novel Midnight's Children, in which the names "Padma" and "Patil" were also significant. Parvati means "daughter of the mountain."
Patil - Is its own surname and is quite common in the state of Maharashtra in India. It is pronounced "PAH-till" and is completely different from "Patel" other than them both being Indian surnames.
6.210. Afshan Azad
Padma - Means "lotus" in Sanskrit. In Hindu myth, this was another name of both the hero Rama and the goddess Lakshmi.
Order of the Phoenix
5.511. Adrian Rawlins
James - Means "supplanter." To "supplant" is" to to take the place of, or substitute, especially through intrigue or underhanded tactics." James was also an apostle of Jesus.
Prongs - A slender pointed or projecting part; a point of an antler. Clearly referring to the stag that represents Harry Potter's Patronus and James Potter's Animagus form.
8.312. Gary Oldman
Sirius - Named after the star, Sirius, also known as the Dog Star or Great Dog (Canis Major). It is the brightest star in the sky, often called "scorching," which quite suits his personality. According to The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter: A Treasury of Myths, Legends, and Fascinating Facts by David Colbert, in Egyptian mythology, the star Sirius is where it was believed the souls of humans traveled after death. The star had such importance that all the temples were built to align with its path across the sky. Archaeologists have discovered that long tunnels or airshafts in the Great Pyramid make the stars visible in daytime, and that the view is the part of the sky where Sirius appears. It is thought that the shafts were meant to guide one's soul to Sirius. This is very interesting considering the manner in which Sirius died.
Padfoot - Yorkshire name for a large phantom black dog. It was as big as a calf and haunted lonely roads.
7.513. David Thewlis
Remus - Twin brother of Romulus (founder of Rome). The King sent the two twin babies out to a river and tried to drown them, but a female wolf, instead of killing them, nursed them after finding the two boys. He was killed by Romulus.
Lupin - "Lupus" is the Latin derivative for "wolf." Canis Lupus is the scientific name for wolf. To be described as "lupine" means to "resemble a wolf."
5.314. Geraldine Somerville
Lily - A flower symbolizing purity and innocence. It is the flower commonly used during the Easter holiday and symbolizes immortality. The bulb decays in the ground, and from it new life is released. It is Lily who gives her life so Harry can keep on living.
6.715. Natalia Tena
Nymphadora (Tonks) - "Nymphadora" translates as "Gift of the Nymphs." A "nymph," in Greek mythology, refers to "a member of group of female 'spirits' found in different types of nature." They are further classified by where they were found. They also had the ability to change shapes, a very clear connection to Tonks' own ability to shapeshift. In Latin, "nympha" translates to "a bride" and "Nymphae" to "the Nymphs."
Tonks - A "tonk" means "a fool or an idiot," "a powerful hit or stroke," and "to strike." This would definitely relate to Tonks' clumsiness.
6.216. Mark Williams
Arthur - Could represent King Arthur. The legend presents Arthur as a leader in ancient times who defeated the Saxons and other enemies, thereby uniting the people of Britain in peace and harmony. Arthur Weasley sounds like Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, who won the Battler of Waterloo.
6.917. Brendan Gleeson
Alastor - Similar to Alistair or Alisdair. It is the Scottish (Gaelic) form of Alexander. It means "defender of mankind." It is an appropriate name for an Auror and a
Moody - In Hawthorne's The Blithedale Romance there is a character called Moodie who wears a patch over one of his eyes. There is of course, the traditional meaning of "moody," which simply means to "not be in a good mood."
7.818. Richard Harris
Albus - In Latin, it means "white" (maybe for white beard). Wisdom. Albinus was Governor of Britain at the death of the Emperor Pertinax. Decimus Clodius Albinus attempted to seize the throne but ended up in alliance with another imperial contender, Septimius Severus. After Severus defeated two other rivals (Voldemort and... maybe Slytherin?), the now expendable Albinus was forced into another attempt at usurpation, an attempt that came to an end at the bloody battle of Lyon.
Percival - One of the legendary Knights of the Round Table. The name itself means "pierces the veil," "pierces the valley," or "destroyer." It also translates as "bringer of peace" and "from the pear tree."
Wulfric - St. Wulfric was described as a hermit. J.K. Rowling characterizes Dumbledore as a loner. St. Wulfric was a worldly man, as was Dumbledore. St. Wulfric was born in Bristol, the same town Hagrid flew over from Godric's Hollow. St. Wulfric supposedly had the gift of prophecy.
Brian - From Old Celtic "bre" meaning "hill" or by extension "high, noble." Brian Boru was an Irish king who thwarted Viking attempts to conquer Ireland in the 11th century. He was victorious in the Battle of Clontarf, but he himself was slain. People associate Brian as a last name but believe it's derived from Brian Boru.
Dumbledore - Means "Bumblebee" in Old English. J.K. Rowling has said that she chose this name because she imagined Dumbledore walking around the castle, humming to himself.
7.719. Maggie Smith
McGonagall, Professor - The name is Scottish (also written as McGonigle or McGonegal) and is from the Celtic name "Conegal," which means "the bravest." The "Mc" in McGonagall means "son of." The bravery fits well with her first name, Minerva, the goddess of wisdom and war.
Minerva - The Roman counterpart to the Greek goddess named Athena. Both women in their respective mythologies represent war, handicraft and practical reason or wisdom.
6.720. Robbie Coltrane
Hagrid - J.K. Rowling said: "Hagrid is also another old English word meaning if you were Hagrid, it’s a dialect word meaning you’d had a bad night. Hagrid’s a big drinker. He has a lot of bad nights." Grid was a Norse giantess known for having a terrible temper. "Ha" is a variant of the Old West Norse name element "half." So, "Ha-Grid" may just mean "Half-Grid" or more notably "Half-Giant." " Haggard" can also mean "appearing worn and exhausted, gaunt; wild or distraught in appearance; a disheveled individual." From the Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy, the Old English term "hag-rid" means "indigestion" (not surprising considering all the weird things Hagrid eats). Found in the exact same paragraph as "Dumbledore." Coincidence?
5.121. Miriam Margolyes
Pomona (Sprout) - Pomona is the name of a Roman divinity. According to Edith Hamilton's book Mythology, "she cared for fruits and orchards and that was all she cared for. Her delight was in pruning and grafting and everything that belongs to the garderner's art. She shut herself away from men, alone with her beloved trees, and let no wooer come near her."
Sprout, Professor - A suitable name for a Herbology teacher. "To sprout" means to "spring up and grow."
7.622. Emma Thompson
Sibyll - Sibyll comes from the Sibyls, who were famous prophets in ancient mythology. Their prophecies were often not decipherable until an event had come to pass. In The Aeneid, the Sibyl was responsible for leading Aeneas to the Underworld.
Trelawney - Trelawney is a Cornish family tracing back to Saxon days. In 1668, Jonathan Trelawney became Dean of St. Buryan, afterwards Bishop of Rochester, and was one of the seven Bishops imprisoned in the Tower of London. He was one of the subjects of the great Cornish song "And shall Trelawney die." Apparently, the song is/was the Cornish National Anthem. Trelawney is also an area in Cornwall, England.
5.723. Gemma Jones
Pomfrey, Madam - At the end of Prisoner of Azkaban, Dumbledore refers to Madam Pomfrey as "Poppy." A poppy plant can be used to make opium and other drugs. It makes sense that the healer at Hogwarts would have a name related to a drug so often used for medicinal purposes.
7.324. Kenneth Branagh
Gilderoy - A highwayman known for being handsome. May also come from the word "gilded," which is defined as having a "pleasing, showy appearance, which covers something of little worth." This is very fitting considering Gilderoy's supposed good looks covered up the truth about his inability to function as a powerful wizard. The name "Roy" is Old French for "regal one" or "king."
Lockhart - As coincidental as the following information may be, J.K. Rowling stated in a radio interview with BBC 4 that she found the name Lockhart on a war memorial. Lockhart is a world renowned cognitive psychologist whose particular interest is in the study of memory and levels of processing. He did a lot of research in this area in the late 1970s. Town in Australia near Wagga Wagga ("Compose a poem about my defeat of the Wagga Wagga Werewolf"?). A possible play on words as he seems to have so many women's "heart locked" on him.
6.325. Warwick Davis
Flitwick - A town in England. It could also be interpeted as the movement of a wand - flit (to move quickly from one spot to another) and wick (a stick shaped cord of woven fibres).
826. Alan Rickman
Severus - Sever means "to cut off." Snape appears to have "cut off" his ties with the Dark Lord through the first five books, and then with Dumbledore and the Order in Half-Blood Prince. "Severe" means "cruel, strict" - two characteristics that accurately describe the Potions Professor. Sounds very similiar to the Latin word "servus," meaning "servant." Is he still a servant of Voldemort's? In ancient history, Lucius Septimius Severus restored stability to the Roman Empire after the tumultuous reign of Emperor Commodus (See Albus) and the civil wars that erupted in the wake of Commodus' murder. To read more on this story, go here. The name Severus is also mentioned in Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, a favorite book of J.K. Rowling. Additionally, a Saint Severus of Alexandria (Egypt) was martyred along with a Saint Peter and a Saint Leucius for publicly proclaiming the faith around 309 C.E. Severus, Peter, and Lucius - quite a coincidence!
Snape - A town in England. Also based after a person J.K. Rowling knew.
6.327. Imelda Staunton
Dolores - Of Latin origin. Means "lady of sorrows or pain" (psychological or physical). In Greek, "doleros" means "deceitful." In Spanish, "dolor" means "to have pain."
Umbridge - Sounds like "umbrage," which is "a feeling of anger caused by an offense." In Latin, "umbra" means "shadow, shade, or ghost" and can also be interpreted as "jealous or suspicious of another" or "standing in one's light or way." The phrase "to take umbridge" means to "cause offense and make trouble." She certainly does this for Harry. The plural "umbrae" means "shadows". In this context it can be used as shadowing or following other individuals - just how Umbridge does with the Ministry of Magic.
628. Ian Hart
Quirinus - The name Quirinus is derived from the words "co-viri," meaning "of two men." Quirinus was applied to Romulus, for whom Rome was named, when he was considered a god. Furthermore, there is a connection between Quirinus and Janus Quirinus, the two-faced god. Janus was the god of both beginnings and endings and was depicted as having one face look forward while the other watched behind, much like our dear professor Quirrell.
Quirrell - Perhaps derived from the word "quarrel," which means "an angry dispute or argument." Also sounds like squirrel, for a nervous, nut-eating rodent that lives in trees. The professor was a scared, shaky man who behaved a lot like one, later an act to cover up his allegiance to Voldemort. Possibly from "querulous" meaning full of "doubts and questions."
829. Ralph Fiennes
Tom Marvolo Riddle - If you rearrange the letters, it spells: "I am Lord Voldemort." The name "Tom" means "twin."
Voldemort, Lord - There was a dark wizard in medieval times named Voldermortist. In another language, Voldermortist means "Lord of Evil" or "Dark Lord." Legend has it that Voldermortist once tried to destroy Merlin before the time of King Arthur (Mr. Weasley?) by bewitching good people and simply bribing those who already were evil. Legend has it that Merlin destroyed Voldermortist by using a simple Paralyzing Charm (full body bind?), fed him to the many-headed-beast (Fluffy?) of the lake, the Lady of the Lake's pet (Giant Squid?), freed the bewitched people, and destroyed the evil men. That was maybe twelve, thirteen years before Arthur (how long it was from Voldemort's destruction until Harry started Hogwarts). In many European languages, "mort" or "mord" refer to "death or evil." In French, "vol-de-mort" means "flight from death" (meaning escaping death). Also in French, "vol" translates as "the act of stealing," giving Voldemort's name the alternate meaning to "steal from death." In Norwegian and Danish, "vold" means "violence." In Danish, "volde" means "to cause" and could be derived from the Latin "valde," meaning "great, exceedingly, strongly, powerfully." Using these defintions Lord Voldemort's name would then mean "excessive, great, or extreme death."
7.930. Helena Bonham Carter
Bellatrix - "Bella" is a construct of the word "bellum" meaning "war" and "trix" refers to "a woman in power." Bellatrix is therefore known as the "Female Warrior" and is also the pale yellow star indicating the left shoulder of the constellation Orion, the Great Hunter.
Lestrange - To be "estranged" means to be "removed from society." In French, "etrange" means "strange" or "weird."
6.831. Tom Felton
Draco - Draco is a constellation that looks like a dragon but is a snake. In Latin, Draco means "dragon." There was also a Greek ruler named Draco who developed a system of severe punishments for the smallest of crimes. "Draconian" means "harsh or cruel." In Romanian, "drac" means "devil."
6.232. Timothy Spall
Pettigrew - Pettigrew could be interpreted two ways: "petty-grew" meaning he grew into a petty (narrow-minded) person or "pet-I-grew" foreshadowing the incident where Peter grew out of his rat form and back into a man in the Shrieking Shack. Also, from the French "petit gros" or "little, fat person."
7.233. Jason Isaacs
Lucius - A Latin male first name. A character in Shakespeare's play Julius Casesar, Lucius is the servant of Brutus, the leader of the conspirators who plot against and assassinate Caesar. Possible connection to the similar sounding "Lucifer" (the devil). Lucifer means "light-bearer." In Romanian, "lucios" means "shiny," a possible connection to his desire for the extravagant and valuable. A Roman General named Lucius Cornelius Sulla was usurped by the people of Rome, but defeated them and seized control as a dictator. After doing so, he removed most of the popular say in the government and returned it to the Senate of Rome, which controlled the people, and founded a firm Republic.
Malfoy - In Latin, "malus" means "bad" and "mal" means "pale." "Mal foi" means "bad faith, an act with bad intentions, or a malicious act" in French. "Mal de foi" means a "loss of faith." The similar French phrase "Mal fait" can be interpeted as "badly made" or "evil deeds." In Portuguese, (J.K. Rowling taught English in Portugal for a few years) "Mal foi" means "was bad" or "is bad." In Arthurian legends, Lancelot (King Arthur's greatest knight and his betrayor) is sometimes called "Le Chevallier Mal Fait" (the "mal fait" knight). "Foy" means "a farewell feast, drink, or gift, as at a wedding."
6.734. Jamie Campbell Bower
Grindelwald - Perhaps derived from the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf character Grendel, the demon. (Many theories in which the Dark wizard Grindelwald is compared to Hitler have been explored by Harry Potter fans in the past, especially since the date of his demise, 1945, is the same as the end of WWII.) A beautiful village in the mountains of Bernese Oberaland, Switzerland. Also, a well-known hotel chain in Germany.
5.835. Julian Glover
Aragog - "Arachnid" means spider and "Gog" was the name of a legendary giant. Combined, the name means "giant spider." Also possibly derived from the Greek word "agog," meaning "leader."
6.936. Freddie Stroma
Cormac (McLaggan) - Cormac is of Irish (Gaelic) origin meaning "charioteer." Also means "son of defilement." Cormac was the son of a King in Celtic legend. He was on a mission when he was put under a spell by a jealous lover of one of his competitors. Funny how Hermione puts Cormac under a spell during Quidditch tryouts so Ron can get on the team.
7.337. Clémence Poésy
Fleur Delacour - Means "Flower of the Court" in French. It could also be a clever play on the similar French word "coeur" meaning "heart" (Veela's captivate men's hearts).
6.138. Stanislav Ianevski
Viktor - His first name means the "victorious one" - appropriate for the best Seeker in the Quidditch World Cup.
Krum - In Swedish and Norwegian, "krum" means "curved," which is interesting considered how he is described as being uncoordinated on land (as opposed to in the air). A famous Bulgarian czar circa 800 A.D. known for killing the Byzantine emperor and making a goblet out of his skull.
539. Genevieve Gaunt
Millicent - Millicent is derived from the Norman French name Melisende, which was itself derived from the Germanic name Amalaswinth. It is composed of the Germanic elements "amal" meaning "to work or labor" and "swinth," meaning "strength." This was the name of a daughter of Charlemagne. Her name also means ambitious.
Bullstrode - A "bull" is "an adult male bovine animal" and "strode" means to "be astride of" or "straddle."
7.240. Rhys Ifans
Xenophilius (Lovegood) - "Xenophobia" is the term used for fear of strangers or foreigners and "xenophilia" means love or affection for alien things or people. Explains Xenophilius' love for all things strange.
641. Toby Jones
Dobby - A fatuous or foolish person. Also, a weave of cloth that is durable and natural-looking. Finer stores still sell shirts made of "dobby" weave.
442. Kathryn Hunter
Arabella - Name translates as "prayerful." Also means "eagle" or "heroine." "Eagle eye" is slang for someone who is very attentive and watches over something or someone. She was possibly given this name since she watches over Harry.
Figg - "Fig" means "not literal" and a "fig leaf" is something that "conceals or camouflages." Arabella Figg keeps her identity a secret from Harry until Order of the Phoenix, and is able to conceal herself in the world of Muggles.
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