Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Weird Word of the Week: Quidditch

Dear Wonderful Weird Readers,

Thanks especially to Weird Wynn, AKA Jeff, for his comment on quiddity.

Madame L also wondered if the brilliant J.K. Rowling took the name of her wizards' game, quidditch, from that Latin-derived word, quiddity, which means the essence of a thing.

But it's not so, according to the author herself, in a 1999 radio interview with Diane Rehm:

JKR: I love making up words. There are a few key words in the books that wizards know and muggles, as in us - no-magic-people, don't know. Well, "muggle" is an obvious example. Then there's "quidditch." Quidditch is the wizarding sport. A journalist in Britain asked me... She said to me, "now, you obviously got the word "quidditch" from "quiddity," meaning the essence of a thing, it's proper nature," and I was really really tempted to say, "yes, you're quite right," because it sounded so intellectual, but I had to tell her the truth, which was that I wanted a word that began with "Q" -- on a total whim -- and I filled about, I don't know, 5 pages of a notebook with different "Q"-words until I hit "quidditch" and I knew that was the perfect one - when I finally hit "quidditch." 

If you're a fan of the Harry Potter books, you may enjoy reading that entire interview. 

1 comment:

AskTheGeologist said...


NOT the pluperfect subjunctive form of "Qud" - as in chewing one's Qud?

(Yes, I know: al-Quds is Arabic for Jerusalem)