Muggle. Horcrux. Erised. Wingardium leviosa. To the outside world (or those aforementioned Muggles), Harry Potter fans seem to speak a language unto themselves. But in coming up with the unique words, phrases, and spells that define the Potterverse, J.K. Rowling often looked to the past—and to other languages—for her etymological cues.
In this edition of The List Show, Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy is conjuring up the meaning behind dozens of words and spells from Harry Potter’s world.
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