You’ve probably been saying Voldemort’s name wrong for decades

You've probably been saying Voldemort's name wrong for decades

Harry Potter fans, hold onto your butterbeer because we are about to reveal that everything you thought you knew about one of the most important Harry Potter characters for the last 20-plus years is, in fact, wrong.

It turns out that ‘He Who Must Not Be Named’ (aka Voldemort) may not have received that menacing title out of fear – as you’d initially think. Instead, the Dark Lord’s title may have come from the fact no one can actually pronounce Voldemort. That’s right, the big bad of the franchise is more like ‘He Who Cannot Be Correctly Named’ – not as intimidating, though, is it?

All the confusion from this mispronouncing revelation comes from the fact that according to Harry Potter creator JK Rowling, the T in Voldemort is meant to be silent. This is because his name has French origins. As one user on the Harry Potter subreddit explained, in French, “‘vol’ means, variously, ‘flight’ or ‘theft’; ‘de’ means ‘of’ or ‘from’; and ‘mort’ means ‘death'” – keeping in theme with the evil character’s general demeanour.

However, it is pretty easy to forgive all our collective butchering of Voldemort over the years and not being aware of the silent T from the get-go. In all the Harry Potter movies, a silent T was never used once when the name came up, nor was the pronunciation or French connection ever mentioned in the novels on which the fantasy movies are based on.

Fans on the subreddit also noted that Jim Dale, who read the Harry Potter audiobooks, used to pronounce Voldemort with the silent T but switched to the common pronunciation of the name once the movies came out – so is this all Warner Bros’ fault?

Perhaps? Or perhaps, like one Reddit user hilariously pointed out, all of this confusion is because of the character himself. “I blame Voldemort for the mispronunciation,” they wrote. “You can’t taboo a word and make everyone fear saying it and then get mad when ballsy muggles turn around and pronounce your name wrong.”

Personally, we agree the villain is to blame (nothing beats a fictional scapegoat, eh?), and despite the new revelation, let’s be honest, the T is here and here to stay.

Emma-Jane Betts

Staff Writer

Updated: Jul 28, 2022

Harry Potter
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