However, part of a spell's magic is knowing the true meaning behind the incantation — which all happen to be derivatives of latin words.
By taking away the magic and whimsy of Harry's world, we can look at each spell from a strictly etymological stand point. Hermione would definitely approve.
Besides, we all have that one friend who is constantly disrupting your enjoyment of the series to discuss Muggle things like science or language.
Consider us that friend.
The commonly used summoning charm literally means “I summon” in Latin. Such a direct translation clearly sounds a lot better than just saying "I summon" in English.
2. Finite Incantatum
This counter spell is a derivative of Latin words, rather than a direct translation. Finite is a Latin imperative plural (a command directed at many people) of the word "finis" or "ad finem," which means "to end." Incantatum is the passive participle of the Latin incanto, which simply means "bewitching." Put them together, it literally means "to end bewitching."
Broken up into its Latin roots, this spell combines "expello," which means mean “I banish” with "arma," which means “weapons." Naturally, this spell is to disarm your opponent.
Taken from the Latin word, "lumen," it literally means "light." 'Nuff said.
Nox is the Latin word for "night." Naturally, this is the counter charm to Lumos.
6. Expecto Patronum
Every good wizard must know this spell, especially when Dementors are about. The Latin "patronus" literally means "a protector or influential person." Expecto means "I look" or "I wait." Put them together, and you have "I wait for a protector." To Hogwarts students, their protectors are animals like stags and bunnies.
This spell comes from the Medieval Latin, "obliviscor," which means, “I forget.” In case you haven't already guessed, it makes you forget everything.
Another straightforward spell, confundo is derived from the Latin "confundus," which means "to confound or confuse." Can you guess what it's used for?
9. Petrificus Totalus
This spell that physically petrifies or freezes your opponent is a mix of three words, with three different origins, "petros" meaning “rock or stone” in Greek, "facio" meaning “to make or to do," and "totalis," meaning “whole” in Medieval Latin.
While this spell sounds a lot like the English word "ridiculous," it can also be a derivative of the Latin word "ridiculum," which means "laughable." It's just spelled a little more magically.
While this is another spell that sounds exactly like English, it's also derived from the Latin. "stupeo." which means "to be stunned."
This cruel curse is a combination of two words. Sectum is the passive participle of the Latin verb "seco," which means "severed." Sempra is derived from the Latin word "semper," which means "continuously." Quite literally, it is used to continuously slash at a victim. Gruesome.
There is not direct word corresponding with "imperio." However, the root "imper" is seen in other Latin words like "impero," which means "I command." Makes sense, since this Unforgivable Curse gives the spell caster total control over their victim.
The Cruciatus curse literally means "I torture" in Latin. Such a simple spell with disastrous consequences.
15. Avada Kedavra
J.K. Rowling has spoken about the root of this spell. According to Rowling, its root is actually Aramaic and derives from the original "abracadabra," which means "let the thing to be destroyed." In this case, the thing is a person. Scary stuff.
Consider your Harry Potter buzz officially killed.