Rachel Paige
January 18, 2018 12:01 pm

For the most part, we are all semi-fluent in Wizarding terms. If you grew up reading the Harry Potter stories (and are still reading them as an adult), there’s a chance you throw magical terms into every day conversation. You know, like alohomora, and wingardium leviosa, Butterbeer, Quidditch, mandrakes, Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans…etc. I could go on, but you get the idea. There are a lot of really fun, cool Wizarding words out there, and none is maybe so popular as the term, “Muggle” — the term to describe all non-magical folks like you and me (we’ve come to terms).

Muggle is a pretty awesome word, and has very much seeped into the lexicon of every day conversation. Everyone knows the term MUGGLE, even if you’ve never read Harry Potter (and yes, there are some of those out there). When it came time to create the world for the latest Harry Potter movie franchise, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the term Muggle got a very American makeover. You know, since a lot of times American and British words are different. Muggle became “no-maj,” which is short for “no-magic.”

Okay, sure, that’s fine. Makes sense. Sometimes us American’s aren’t the most clever of the bunch (I am literally just speaking the truth), so yeah, it’s perfectly reasonable that we’d simply refer to someone who doesn’t have magic as someone with “no magic,” and shorten that down and add in a J because SURE, and we’ve got “no-maj.”

Still fine. It’s cool. And that brings me to today. You see, the Fantastic Beasts movies are each going to take place in a different city. The first one took place in NYC, and the second, The Crimes of Grindelwald, will take place in Paris. Meaning the director of Grindelwald, David Yates, has now announced the French word for Muggle. And omg, you KNOW how French is the language of ~love~ and it’s so pretty when spoken aloud, and also written, so obviously the French word for Muggle has to just be drenched in romance and just roll off the tongue. RIGHT?


The French word for Muggle is literally the laziest thing I have ever heard, and yeah, sometimes I have issues with the Mirror of Erised because it’s just “desire” spelled backwards. But like, I’m fine with that, because I get it. Simplicity sometimes works.

THE FRENCH WORD FOR MUGGLE, THOUGH? It’s literally just “Non–magique.”

Are you kidding me, Harry Potter. You are a billion dollar franchise that has reached every corner of the earth, and “Nonmagique” is literally THE BEST THING YOU CAN COME UP WITH? Is there not a team of, like, humans well-versed in the world of Harry Potter who could go, “Hey, I’ve got a better idea that isn’t something hella lazy.” It’s like whoever was tasked to come up with the term FORGOT they had been tasked to come up with the term, and went into the meeting like, “oh merde,” and literally shouted out the first thing that came into their head. This is something Ron would turn in as homework.


Because I didn’t necessarily trust the word “magique” at first, I googled it. I am thorough with my HP research, and I wanted to double check that it’s actually the French translation. I got a completely different word: la magie. And I was like, “Great, HP isn’t even using the right French word.” I asked my sister, who is days away from getting her Ph.D in neuroscience and fluent in French, if she could help me out with this.


From what I can gather, la magie is also what the French would call a “wizard,” so…why didn’t they just go with that? Why did we have to get “non-magique” which will probs be shortened to like “non-maq” or something silly. Let’s see what Grindelwald does with this, but for someone who took French for five years in high school and really can’t remember much of it anymore, “non-magique” is something *I* would have turned in as an answer, knowing it was wrong but I needed to write SOMETHING down to get partial credit.

So in short, Team Harry Potter, if you need my help coming up with creative, fun, and exciting Wizarding terms, I am literally always available to help. Please just ask.