“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I” is now in theaters. The newest movie in the series promises to be packed with magic spells. There are dozens of spells that are used by the characters in Harry Potter’s fictional world of wizardry. But are any of them real words?

The names of many of the spells are indeed derived from other languages, especially Latin. However, for the most part, they aren’t proper words. Author J.K. Rowling created words that resemble other words with real meanings.

Here’s a closer look at some of them:

The spell “Alohomora” is used to open and unlock doors. The word is supposedly from the West African Sidiki dialect and means “friendly to thieves.”

Need to make invisible ink appear? Try the spell “Aparecium,” which supposedly derives from the Latin appareo, meaning “to become visible or to appear.”

Here’s one that you’re likely to hear in “Deathly Hallows:” Confringo. It causes something to explode in flames. The spell is likely derived from the Latin and means “to break in pieces, to bring to naught.”

Densuageo is derived from two Latin words: dens, which means “tooth,” and augeo, which means “to enlarge.” The spell causes the victim’s teeth to grow quickly.

The spell “Episkey” is derived from the Greek episkeu, which means “repair, restoration.” It’s used to heal minor injuries, such as Harry Potter’s broken nose in “Half-Blood Prince.”

Protego Horribilis is also used in “Deathly Hallows.” It provides protection against Dark Magic and comes from the Latin protego, meaning “to protect,” and horribilis, meaning “horrible.”

(What is the fantastic origin of the real-life spell word “hocus-pocus?” Read the tale, here.)

Scourgify, which is a spell used to get something clean, such as Hedwig’s cage, is likely a play on the word “scour.”

The spell “Tarantallegra” makes a victim’s legs dance uncontrollably. It’s likely that it combines the Italian allegra, which means “joyful,” and tarantella, which is a Southern Italian folk dance with rapid movements.

To end, what’s the vivid meaning behind the one of Rowling’s best character names, Mundungus Fletcher?

Do you have a favorite spell? Let us know about it below.


Chicago Sun-Times August 22, 1990 | Monica Eng Soccer may not be your game, but if you’re game for inexpensive authentic Latin food, it may be time for new kicks.

Around Cricket Hill at Wilson and the lake and in Humboldt Park at North and California, those in the know – namely, Latinos – congregate on weekends for the sport and the food.

We spent an enjoyable afternoon appreciating the rippling thighs of soccer players while chomping on the once rippling thighs of cows or pigs wrapped in hot fresh tortillas. website carne asada marinade

But that ol’ adage – if you enjoy it, it must to be fattening or illegal – holds true here. Marilyn White of the Chicago Park District’s concessions department says, “Some of the vendors at Wilson and the lake and in Humboldt Park have licenses, but most are illegal.” If you want to be daring, follow us to Cricket Hill. (Gringos shouldn’t be intimidated; most vendors speak at least a little English). Exit on Wilson, and turn east:

1. Our favorite trailer, the first found on Wilson, is labeled La Antigueita. This refers to someone from the capital of Guatemala, not the island in the West Indies. Try a Guatemalan creation called a pupusas, a fried, meat-filled cornmeal and flour patty wrapped around pickled vegetables, for $1.50. It also serves platano maduro, a scrumptious, cooking banana fried and served with sour cream for $2. We give this 3 1/2 tacos out of four.

2. Next, directly south across the park, is a family affair. On tables and a small grill, you’ll find tacos de carne asada, chicharron and chorizo (grilled steak, pork rinds, spicy sausage) for $1.50. There’s also mangos peeled and sliced like flowers on a stick for $1.50. And if you are thirsty, try agua de sandia, a big cup of refreshing watermelon juice for 75 cents. 3 tacos.

3. The trailer located the farthest east on Wilson next to the parking lot by the lake reads “Sabor Equitoriano” (Taste of Equador). Indulge in a big plateful of tasty rice, beans, salad and wonderful carne asada (grilled beef) for $5. There’s also delicious cheese and scallion-filled empanadas (deep fried turnovers) for $1.50. 3 tacos. go to web site carne asada marinade

4. Across the park west is a cluster of three stands in a 200-yard area. The first says Chicago Park District on it and sells good burritos, excellent tacos de carne asada and tortas (buns with taco filling) for $1.50 each. 2 1/2 tacos.

5. The next trailer, “Latin American Food Vendors,” sells delicious tacos de carne asada and tacos de chicharron (fried pork rind) served in a wrapper of two fresh and hot tortillas for $1.50. 2 1/2 tacos.

6. Cross the park going south, past the soccer field, to one of the cheapest and biggest tacos in the park. From a lonely white trailer, a woman serves up bulging tacos de carne asada. In addition to the typical beef, lettuce, tomato and onion filling, these also are filled with rice, beans and guacamole – all for $1.25. 2 1/2 tacos.

Make sure you save room for dessert. There are plenty of carts selling big sorbet and ice cream bars called helados finos (mixtures of real fruit, juice and cream frozen on a stick). Flavors include mango, coconut and tamarind for 60 cents. 4 tacos.

Monica Eng


  1. wolf tamer and tree puncher -  November 20, 2013 - 2:39 am

    Wow. I really like Harry Potter. I just wish that the Deathly Hallows were 1 movie instead of 2. Now we have to watch them separately. :-( The books get better and better as they go along. I’d already noticed a lot of the spells come from Latin.

    Lumos makes the tip of your wand light up. I think it comes from “lux,” which is the Latin word for “light.”
    Petrificus Totalus completely freezes the other person. “Petrificus” is a variation of “petrify” and “totalus” is “total.”
    Nox makes the light on your wand go out. It is Latin for “night.”

    My favorite spell is Expecto Patronum, which you use to drive away dementors.

    • Tobi ogunsuyi -  April 10, 2014 - 11:42 pm

      I think patronum means patrol and expecto means expect to so expect to patrol

  2. Yolène -  February 9, 2013 - 3:48 am

    My favourite Harry Potter spell is WINGARDIUM LEVIOSA .
    Sorry for my language ,I’m French.

  3. wow -  December 7, 2012 - 8:49 pm

    some of you people are crazy

  4. Tiffany Miracle -  April 12, 2012 - 7:47 am

    i love avada kadavra and crucio conjunctivitis

  5. rcmagician -  March 9, 2012 - 11:46 pm

    Ancient Latin Spell to vanish the evil spirit.!

    Dios tona amahan incristotis,impactotis ispiritus amotaradres
    oleon pactorem micetar icerto. Amen.

  6. Serpensortia -  February 21, 2012 - 7:27 am

    My favorite spell is Serpensortia because im a snake lover AND because it was used by my favorite character in the Movie ‘The Chamber of Secrets’. It was when Draco and Harry were duling and then Draco shot out the word “Serpensortia!” and a snake flew from his wand out onto the floor. ^.^” Heh thats my favorite Chara and Spell i guess

  7. mikey -  January 7, 2012 - 11:18 am

    i love waddiwasi, frula , riddikkulus , and reppello muggletum i also like hufflepuff b cuz they sound funny, =p so does voldemort =^D and u-no-poo

  8. blablabla -  December 14, 2011 - 8:53 pm

    mine favorite spell is Engorgio

  9. virgilio lampas -  August 22, 2011 - 6:59 am

    i like the spell Locomotor Mortis it Locks opponents legs like the curse spell

  10. rictusempra -  July 14, 2011 - 4:59 am


  11. Natalie Summer -  May 15, 2011 - 5:01 am

    ” Vipera Evanesca “…
    It’s fun and funny …
    Like “Ridikulus ”

  12. FooGriffy -  February 21, 2011 - 1:55 pm

    Also, since everyone seems to adore Wingardium Leviosa, I suppose it’s worth mentioning that Leviosa sounds like:
    Lervioser. It means ‘to pull down a visor, as on a helmet.’
    Lervia: Lower, drop, pull down.
    Vios: Visor.
    er: Suffix indicating that the previous words should be combined at their common letter(s) (if they have them). Vi, in this case.
    Normally lervioser is altered during speech and writing to better become part of the sentence:
    ‘She dropped to the ground, lowering the visor silently.’
    ‘Lena eflervi klenju ef, lerviosilanier.’
    The last word, lerviosilani, is a combination of lervioser and silanis (quietly). It has, of course, the er suffix.

    But why would anyone be interested in this? I don’t think they will.

  13. FooGriffy -  February 21, 2011 - 1:34 pm

    Sorry, it’s ava klefava.

  14. FooGriffy -  February 21, 2011 - 1:32 pm

    I suspected they might be Latin. I’m not a huge fan of Harry Potter, but I’ve heard the spells plenty.
    Avada Kedavra sounds like something in a language I invented:
    Avade Keldava. It’s a name meaning ‘one who climbs mountains.’ Ade keld means tall rock or mountain, ava is a special word like ‘tel’ (in) that you put around other words. Ava means climber. To say the climber only climbs or is known for climbing certain things, put those certain things in between two avas.
    Ava keldava (Rock climber)
    Avaklef ava (Rope climber; klef=rope)
    Avade vlejava (Tall things climber; vleja=object)

  15. danny -  December 10, 2010 - 10:22 pm

    is that real???????

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  17. $haan -  November 30, 2010 - 1:28 pm

    Harry potter yay! I read all the book so awsome my favorite spell is espeliearmus the spell that takes the wand away from the competiter also i like the one called expecto patronam that was scares the dementors away and shoots a blue ball of light so they go away well you all now i love Harry Potter so thats it for now signed $haan

  18. $haan -  November 30, 2010 - 1:24 pm

    Harry potter yay! I read book so awsome my favorite spell is espeliearmus the spell that takes the wand from competiter also i like the one called expecto patronam that was scares the dementors shoots a blue ball of lifght so they go away well you all now i love Harry Potter so thats it for now signed $haan

  19. baby123 -  November 30, 2010 - 9:21 am


  20. Wrasfish -  November 29, 2010 - 1:32 pm

    Semper is Latin; siempre is Spanish. It means “always” or maybe “perpetual.”

  21. baby123 -  November 29, 2010 - 9:32 am

    does anyone not know how to do smilie faces on the computer cause i can teach u guys ONLY GUYS ok

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