Selected Names in Resolving a Misunderstanding and Their Origins
Gertrude Gamp: “Gamp” is a surname that appears on the Black Family Tree created by JKR; I chose “Gertrude” because it is old-fashioned and sounded good with “Gamp.”
Valerianna: from “Valerian,” an herb with sedative properties; the roots, which are used in herbal medicine, smell strongly and disgustingly like a combination of vomit and wet dog. (“Valerian” is also the name of a couple Roman emperors and at least a couple saints, but I did not have them in mind when I created her character!)
Cormac MacAirt: Cormac mac Airt was said to have been the wisest, most powerful king to rule Ireland from the ancient high seat of Tara. There are various legends about him, which you can find on the Internet.
Quinlivan: from Irish, caoindealbhain, gracefully-shaped, athletic.
Merwyn: Welsh; reputedly related to the name “Merlin.”
Egeria: Roman goddess of fountains and childbirth; a water Nymph; also female counselor.
Egidius: from the Latin version of the name “Giles” (“Aegidius”); St. Giles is the patron saint of Edinburgh and patron of beggars.
Collum: Latin, dove; variant of Columba, an Irish saint
Siofre: a variant of “Siofra”; Irish, pronounced as though it has an “sh” at the beginning (may mean elf or changeling, but I wouldn’t bet on it).
Tyree: comes from the name of a small, sparsely populated island in the Inner Hebrides (it turns out it is also a real last name, which was unsurprising, but which I hadn’t known when I decided to use it).
Perseus: mythological killer of Medusa
Malcolm: Follower of St. Columba; Malcolm was named in honor of his grandfather, Collum McGonagall
Morgan: Celtic, dweller by the sea
Murdoch: Scottish, protector of the sea
Melina: Greek, from meli, honey.
Thea: Greek, (gift of) God; pronounced "tay-uh"
Hafrena: variant of Celtic "Hafren," Celtic version of "Sabrina," goddess of the Severn river
Professor Dustern: from German, düster, gloomy, dark, dismal.
Professor Birnbaum: German, pear tree.
Madam Perlecta: from L. perlegere, to read over or to scan.
Madam Valentius: from L. valentius, healthier, more potent/vigorous.
Gerhardt Sachs: His last name was borrowed from the Meistersinger Hans Sachs, although it is a fairly common family name.
Nyima: Tibetan, sun.
Yaxley, Flint, Crouch, and Black are, obviously, all names that appear in canon. I have borrowed some of the characters with those names; I have also created relatives for them when it suited the needs of the story. By the way, a “Pollux Black” really does appear on the Black Family Tree, and it appears from the dates on it that Pollux did, indeed, father his daughter Walburga at the age of thirteen. I tried to explain this with a far-out theory in “RaM”; I have a feeling, though, that JKR just isn’t particularly good at arithmetic and maintaining the details of her story, and that’s why it looks as though Pollux Black and Irma Crabbe started their family when he was only thirteen. (I know it’s biologically possible; it just seems unlikely in this context!)
The meanings given here for the names are the ones I was thinking of when I used them, so they may not reflect anyone else’s notions!
Alvarium album: white apiary / white beehive (Minerva’s password in “A Startling Revelation” and other chapters)
Amputatio: I cut off / I amputate
Apiarus: from apiarum, beehive, apiary (Albus’s nom de plume from “Minerva’s Project”)
Carissima: most beloved
Cludere (cludo): to block up, to close
Commuto gemellium volumen alter alia: Change into a twin of the other book
Consolari Sat Gignere Medella: To Comfort Enough to Bring Forth Healing (Egidius family motto, used by Minerva)
Consubstantialitas: like quality/nature/essence
Converto integumentum caeruleum: Change the bookbinding to blue
Cor audacissimum: Boldest heart
Desidero: I desire
Desineo: I finish, end, cease, stop
Detumescens: cease swelling / bring down swelling
Ducere est Imperare: To Lead is to Rule (Gamp family motto.)
Geminio: Twin / I twin
Integra: untouched, entire, whole, complete
Lavare: to wash, to cleanse
Patere (pateo; patibis): stand open; be accessible; allow; permit
Patefacio: uncover, open up
Pulcherrima: most beautiful
Spero et expecto: I hope and I await/expect. (Latin: exspecto)
Stare et attendere: stand still and listen (Malcolm’s spell)
Substantialitas: of/belonging to essence/substance
Tenax: steadfast, tenacious, persistent
Note: The Latin is derived from real Latin, but it’s magical Latin, and may not be grammatically correct!