Strictly British

fairy lights
Christmas light strings. This is a play on words, since Flitwick decorates his classroom with Christmas lights - "fairy lights" - that are real, live fairies.

In general, refers to something that may be fancied, but when referring to a person means "sexually attractive" (NSOED).

  • "You've never been more interesting, and frankly, you've never been more fanciable"
    - Hermione (HBP11)

Depends on context. As a verb, this can mean 'want' or 'like' (usually when referring to things or actions), but when referring to people, indicates romantic attachment (think 'footloose and fancy-free'). As a noun, a 'fancy' is a kind of small cake.

Father Christmas
Santa Claus.

  • It was certainly nothing like Father Christmas
    - speaking of a gnome (CS3) (British edition only)

fenland map fen
An alkaline marsh, distinguishing it from a bog which is always acidic.

The Fenland is an area of low-lying, very flat land (some of it below sea-level) in eastern England. Although nearly all of it is now drained and is a very fertile agricultural area, historically it was a place of marshes extending as far as the eye could see and well beyond. The counties included in the Fenland are: Cambridgeshire (almost all of it), Huntingdonshire (all of it), Norfolk (parts in the western area), Lincolnshire (south); and Bedfordshire (parts of the northern area). Historically, Oliver Cromwell was known to the people of Cambridgeshire as "the Lord of the Fens" for his efforts on their behalf early in his career in Parliament. Famous works of fiction set in the Fenland include Dorothy L. Sayers' The Nine Tailors.

Drainage has resulted in shrinking of the soil, to the extent that some rivers, notably much of the Norfolk part of the Great Ouse, flow well above the surrounding land and are contained only by massive earthen embankments. The Isle of Ely, miles from the sea, is so-named because it was an island in the surrounding miles of fens.

Someone in his or her fifth year of school.

  • Fifth-years were allowed to be out in the corridors until nine o'clock (OP18)

A child in his or her first year of school.

A state of confusion or panic. A colloquialism, probably related to the flapping of the hands like wings.

flat (noun)
U.S.: apartment.

flutter (adj)
Excited or trembling, with a fluttering heart, due to some sort of shock.

  • "I'm all of a flutter" (PS5)

flutter (verb)
Bet - "Fancy a flutter" means "Would you care to make a bet"

U.S.: soccer.

  • ...Dean had tacked up a poster of Viktor Krum over his bedside table. His old poster of the West Ham football team was pinned right next to it (GF12)

Someone in his or her fourth year of school.

  • "Now, the ball will be open only to fourth-years and above -"
    - McGonagall (GF22)

U.S.: Bangs (hair). The term 'bangs' in the U.K. has risqu"eacute; connotations and is not used to refer to hair.

  • Once, Aunt Petunia, tired of Harry coming back from the barber's looking as though he hadn't been at all, had taken a pair of kitchen scissors and cut his hair so short he was almost bald except for his fringe, which she left 'to hide that horrible scar' (PS2)

  • ...he stared at his feet to avoid catching anyone's eye, flattening his fringe as he did so (OP7)

  • a sallow-faced wizard with a short black fringe (OP22)

A man's double-breasted long-skirted coat not cut away in front; now worn chiefly on formal occasions (NSOED).

  • ...he was also wearing the strange assortment of clothes so often chosen by inexperienced wizards trying to look like Muggles: in this case, a frock coat and spats over a striped one-piece bathing-costume (HBP10)

front three
In rugby, the forwards who make up the first row in a collision with their opponents are referred to as the front row. By extension, "front three" in this context means the three players who will be first to meet the opposing team.

  • Bagman uses this term to refer to the Irish Chasers (GF7)

A thick, stuffy smelly atmosphere (NSOED). An example would be 221 B Baker Street while Sherlock Holmes was thinking about a three-pipe problem - he was given to smoking while pondering such matters.

  • The misty fug his breath had left on the window sparkled in the orange glare of the streetlamp outside (HBP3)

Primary editor: Michele L. Worley.
Original page date 28-October-2005; Last page update 4-August-2007 MLW