Draco Malfoy

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Rowling plays with language throughout the Harry Potter series.  Consider this:

One of the main characters in J.K. Rowling’s series is Draco Malfoy. This is no accidental name.  Draco, in Latin, means dragon, or even, snake.  Draco Malfoy is in Slytherin House.  No surprise there.  Snakes slither.

The Latin draco is the source of English words like, drake, rankle, and, of course, dragon.  Interestingly, the word dinosaur was not coined until the year 1841, when Sir Richard Owen first used the word.  So… what were dinosaurs called before anyone used the word dinosaur?  Dragons.  But, that is a post for another time.

Back to Draco Malfoy.  He has, you may have noticed, a last name… Malfoy.  Does that have any meaning?  Of course it does.  As we have seen, J.K. Rowling likes to play with names.

Malus, in Latin, means bad, or evil.  The mal prefix in Draco’s last name, means, evil.  What about foy?  It turns out, foy is the French word for faith.  Ultimately, it derives from the Latin word fides, also meaning faith.  From fides, English derives bona fidefido (a once popular name for dogs), fidelityinfidelityaffidavit, and faith.  

Malfoy, then, means bad faith, or evil faith.  

The story takes an ever more interesting twist when we take a close look at the name of Draco’s father, Lucious Malfoy.  Next time, my friends.  Next time.