Muggle, a term from the Harry Potter book series by J. K. Rowling, refers to a person who lacks any sort of magical ability and was not born into the magical world. It differs from the term Squib, which refers to a person with one or more magical parents yet without any magical ability, and from the term Muggle-born (or the more offensive mudblood), which refers to a person with magical abilities but without magical parents. Other words also spelled "muggle" have been in use over the years, but they are unrelated to the term used in the Harry Potter series.[1] It first appeared in the opening chapter of the first Harry Potter book, where Harry's uncle is shocked to find himself called a "muggle" by a tiny old man in a violet cloak.[citation needed]


Harry Potter

The term Muggle is sometimes used in a pejorative manner in the books. Since "Muggle" refers to a person who is a member of the non-magical community, the Muggles are simply ordinary human beings rather than witches and wizards. According to Rowling, a quarter of the annual Hogwarts intake have two non-magical parents;[citation needed] thus far in canon, there have also been some children known to have been born to one magical and one non-magical parent. Children of this mixed parentage are called half-bloods (strictly speaking, they are 'Literal Half-bloods'); children with recent Muggle ancestry on the one side or the other are also called half-bloods. The most prominent Muggle-born in the Harry Potter series is Hermione Granger, who had two muggles of unspecified names as parents. A witch or wizard with all magical heritige is called a pure-blood.

In the Harry Potter books, non-magical people are often portrayed as foolish, sometimes befuddled characters who are completely ignorant of the Wizarding world that exists in their midst. If, by unfortunate means, non-magical people do happen to observe the working of magic, the Ministry of Magic sends Obliviators to cast Memory Charms upon them—causing them to forget the event.

Some Muggles, however, know of the wizarding world. These include Muggle parents of magical children, such as Hermione Granger's parents, the Muggle Prime Minister (and his predecessors), the Dursley family (Harry Potter's non-magical and only living relatives), and the non-magical spouses of some witches and wizards. Squibs are muggles born to magical parents. However, unlike Muggles, Squibs retain lesser magical gifts e.g. the ability to see Dementors and interact with magical creatures. Argus Filch and Arabella Figg are notable Squibs.

Rowling has said she created the word "Muggle" from "mug", an English term for someone who is easily fooled. She added the "-gle" to make it sound less demeaning and more "cuddly".[2]

Notable muggles in the series

  • Petunia Dursley, Harry's Aunt
  • Vernon Dursley, Harry's Uncle
  • Dudley Dursley, Harry's Cousin
  • Marge Dursley, Vernon Dursley's sister
  • Muggle Prime Minister
  • Frank Bryce, the Riddle family gardener
  • Tom Riddle, Senior, Lord Voldemort's father
  • Mr. & Mrs. Granger, Hermione's parents
  • Tobias Snape, the father of Severus Snape
  • Mr. Roberts, the manager of the campground the Weasleys stayed at for the Quidditch World Cup

Later usages

The word "muggle" or "muggles" is now used in various contexts in which its meaning is similar to the sense in which it appears in the Harry Potter book series. Generally speaking, it is used by members of a group to describe those outside the group, comparable to "civilian" as used by military personnel. Whereas, in the books, "Muggle" is consistently capitalised, in other uses it is often all lower case.

  • "Muggle" was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2003, where it is said to refer to a person who is lacking a skill.[3]
  • "Muggle" is used in informal English by members of small, specialised groups, usually those that consider their activities to either be analogous to or directly involve magic (such as within hacker culture;[4] and Pagans, Neopagans and Wiccans)[5] to refer to those outside the group.
  • "Muggle" (or geomuggle) is used by geocachers to refer to those not involved in or aware of the sport of geocaching. A cache that has been tampered with by non-participants is said to be plundered or "muggled".[6][7]
  • The NBC science fiction drama series Heroes features a dog named Mr. Muggles, who is owned by the Bennet family. The writers of the show have stated that the dog's name is an allusion to the Harry Potter series as, like Harry, Claire Bennet has been adopted by a family who does not have any special abilities.
  • Used by some Greek fraternities and sororities to describe non-Greek students on their respective campuses.
  • "Muggle" is a term coined in 2010 by the Tricking group The South West Muggle Slayers used to describe non-trickers.

See also

HP books.png Harry Potter portal


  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 2010
  2. ^ JK Rowling's World Book Day Chat, 4 March 2004
  3. ^ "BBC: 'Muggle' goes into Oxford English Dictionary". BBC News. 24 March 2003. Retrieved 5 January 2010. 
  4. ^ Jargon File: muggle
  5. ^ Faith von Adams, "I Roomed With A Muggle", New Witch Magazine, Issue 5 (Fall 2003) pg. 34
  6. ^ "Geocaching Glossary". Retrieved 20 September 2007. 
  7. ^ "Muggle". GeoWiki. Retrieved 20 September 2007. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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