harry potter

You’ll Never Guess the American Word for ‘Muggles,’ Seriously, You Won’t, and If You Say You Did We Won’t Believe You

Author J.K. Rowling Visits The Empire State Building
“You’re what the French call ‘les non-magies.’” Photo: Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Just as Americans and Britons in the real world have different racial slurs, J.K. Rowling has revealed that American and British wizards in the Harry Potter universe have different slang terms for non-magical humans. Potter readers know them as “Muggles,” but EW reports that, in Rowling’s screenplay for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the film’s Jazz Age New York wizards refer to an inferior as a “No-Maj,” as in no magic. The difference is fitting: Muggle is as cozily unglamorous as the rest of English slang is, while No-Maj sounds like a terrible bistro that just opened up somewhere in Soho.

J.K. Rowling Reveals American Word for ‘Muggles’