CLOSE
Original image
Getty Images

The Magical Origins of Harry Potter Words

Original image
Getty Images

Whether you're a wizard, squib, or just plain muggle, you're probably celebrating the Chosen One's birthday today. And what better way to do it than by examining the origins of some of the wonderful words J.K. Rowling used to create the world of the Boy Who Lived?

Rowling studied Latin at the University of Exeter, and she clearly got a lot of use out of that study time: Most of Harry Potter's spells have their roots in classical Latin. Harry's signature spell, Expelliarmus, is used to disarm an opponent, and, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, combines the Latin expellere, "to drive or force out," with arma, which means weapon. The summoning charm Accio is Latin for "I summon." And Expecto Patronum, which wizards use to create an animal that drives away Dementors, translates to "I wait/hope for a patron."

The author also repurposed regular words to suit her needs to rather delightful ends. According to Wordnik, dumbledore is an 18th century English word for a bumblebee. ("Because Albus Dumbledore is very fond of music, I always imagined him as sort of humming to himself a lot," Rowling once explained.) And to name the wizarding world's most obnoxious thief, Rowling used the word Mundungus, which means "waste animal product; organic matter unfit for consumption" or "poor-quality tobacco with a foul, rancid, or putrid smell."

These are just a few examples of excellent Harry Potter word origins. For more, head over to Wordnik.

Original image
Hamilton Broadway
arrow
Food
A Hamilton-Themed Cookbook is Coming
Original image
Hamilton Broadway

Fans of Broadway hit Hamilton will soon be able to dine like the Founding Fathers: As Eater reports, a new Alexander Hamilton-inspired cookbook is slated for release in fall 2017.

Cover art for Laura Kumin's forthcoming cookbook
Amazon

Called The Hamilton Cookbook: Cooking, Eating, and Entertaining in Hamilton’s World, the recipe collection by author Laura Kumin “takes you into Hamilton’s home and to his table, with historical information, recipes, and tips on how you can prepare food and serve the food that our founding fathers enjoyed in their day,” according to the Amazon description. It also recounts Hamilton’s favorite dishes, how he enjoyed them, and which ingredients were used.

Recipes included are cauliflower florets two ways, fried sausages and apples, gingerbread cake, and apple pie. (Cue the "young, scrappy, and hungry" references.) The cookbook’s official release is on November 21—but until then, you can stave off your appetite for all things Hamilton-related by downloading the musical’s new app.

Original image
iStock
arrow
fun
New Tolkien-Themed Botany Book Describes the Plants of Middle-Earth
Original image
iStock

While reading The Lord of the Rings saga, it's hard not to notice J.R.R. Tolkien’s clear love of nature. The books are replete with descriptions of lush foliage, rolling prairies, and coniferous forests. A new botany book builds on that knowledge: Entertainment Weekly reports that Flora of Middle-Earth: Plants of J.R.R. Tolkien's Legendarium provides fantasy-loving naturalists with a round-up of plants that grow in Middle-earth.

Cover art for botanist Walter Judd's book
Oxford University Press

Written by University of Florida botanist Walter Judd, the book explores the ecology, etymology, and importance of over 160 plants. Many are either real—coffee, barley, wheat, etc.—or based on real-life species. (For example, pipe-weed may be tobacco, and mallorns are large trees similar to beech trees.)

Using his botany background, Judd explores why Tolkien may have felt compelled to include each in his fantasy world. His analyses are paired with woodcut-style drawings by artist Graham Judd, which depict Middle-earth's flowers, vegetables, fruits, herbs, and shrubs in their "natural" environments.

[h/t Entertainment Weekly]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios