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Thread: 'Muggle' Origins

  1. #11
    Seventh Year Hufflepuff
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    Oh, I was just browsing through the Filing Cabinet when I saw this thread - Click

    Someone else, it seems, had issues with the idea of the word "Muggle" in earlier times. There aren't a lot of posts available, but -shrug- I thought maybe it might help a little.

    EDIT: I've been browsing the Old English dictionary too, and one word caught my eye. Yfeldysig - which translates to a word, stultomalus, that's not really English or used in anything but Old English dictionaries according to Google, which is why it caught my eye - translates, literally, to "evil-stupid." Which could be a term of contempt for Muggles. I like playing around with words and place names, making new ones, so I decided to make a term for Muggles out of it that sounded more...well, something we could pronounce. What I came up with was "Iveldisifolk." (Not, perhaps, ideal - but less of a mouthful than all those y's). If you have any interest in coming up with a new word, I'd suggest going through an Old English dictionary (or something) - there are several good ones online - and pick out words with meanings that fit and stick them together. Often you can see where some words derive from them (such as yfel > evil) and looking the Modern English word up on Dictionary.com can give you some tips as to how the spelling might have evolved over the years. Anyway. Thought I'd mention it.

  2. #12
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    Kuri - this thread is to discuss the origins of the word 'Muggle', a valid discussion and one that JKR herself has mentioned in the past. Etymology is an interesting science with Harry Potter as many spells and character names reflect their purposes so we ask that if you have nothing to add to discussion, you do not post.

    Your response is unnecessary and fairly rude. It is also inaccurate as Frodo Baggins is from Lord of the Rings, written by JRR Tolkien, not CS Lewis. Your spelling of certain words leaves something to be desired, and you fail to address the point of the discussion in any way. Please pay attention to forum rules in the future. 5 points from Ravenclaw.



  3. #13
    Rosi Zeller
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    As I am a Norwegian, I have seached for old Norse words sounding a bit like "Muggle", because as you probably know, the English language borrowed some Norse words from the Vikings about thousand years ago (most notably words like "axe" and "blood", but also some less dramatic ones like "bag" and the pronouns "they", "them" and "their"). So, if we go for my theory (and yes, I'm aware of the fact that Rowling never thought of this, but it's fun anyway), the word would not be used during Merlin's time, but maybe around the Founder Era.

    The word I found, that I think is the best match (please keep in mind that I'm no linguist), is the word "muge" (Norse: "mugi"), which means a pile/stack, usually of hay or dung. I can see this word being first used as a quite offending word, as in "you're not magic, therefore you are no more worth than a pile of dung". Over the centuries, of course, the originally meaning got lost, and it simply became the standard, even politically correct, word for "non-magical people".

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rosi Zeller
    The word I found, that I think is the best match (please keep in mind that I'm no linguist), is the word "muge" (Norse: "mugi"), which means a pile/stack, usually of hay or dung. I can see this word being first used as a quite offending word, as in "you're not magic, therefore you are no more worth than a pile of dung".
    From Norseman all the way to the Celts. I bet there is some story behind that! I wonder what it could be? Any ideas?

    But seriously, this does sound like something that could be quite possible, don't you think? Does fit the attitude a lot of wizards have when it comes to Muggles, and the age it must have come out of just makes it seem even more likely. And now we have come up with an in-world explaination for J.K. to use in her interviews. Do you think she'd mention us?

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  5. #15
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    Wow, thanks Rosi Zellar. That sounds perfect! Thanks for your help.

    Sarah x


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  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olive Oil Med
    From Norseman all the way to the Celts. I bet there is some story behind that! I wonder what it could be? Any ideas?
    Yes, we're a mongrel race in the UK. We were invaded by absolutely everyone from 55BC (Romans) until 1066 when we were finally invaded by the Normans (William the Conqueror) who stopped everyone else beating us up. The English language is a mixture of Gaelic, French, Norse, Saxon, Latin and Pict.

    Incidentally, one of the Ancient Britons who fought the Romans is Tribal Queen Boudicca and she's buried at the site where King's Cross now is ... (platform nine-and-three-quarters, anyone)

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