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Clearly the term "mudblood" is a slur in the Harry Potter universe. Is there a polite way for witches and wizards to talk about magical people born of muggles?

  • Hermione Granger? Lily Evans? No. I am not saying that their blood is is dirty; I’m just saying they're ones that are called it. Hermione more than anyone else. I would just call them another human being with magical powers ignoring the parentage. I would also argue that the term Mudblood cannot have a polite form: because it's suggesting that there is a polite way to be derisive (but I probably take that too literally - as is my way). – Pryftan Feb 20 at 0:02
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Yes, at least three

  1. Most prominent is, of course, Muggleborn (or "Muggle-born" when used as an adjective). Ron draws an explicit distinction between the two terms in Chamber of Secrets1:

    "Mudblood's a really foul name for someone who is Muggle-born — you know, non-magic parents. There are some wizards — like Malfoy's family — who think they’re better than everyone else because they're what people call pure-blood."

    Chamber of Secrets Chapter 7: Mudbloods and Murmurs"

    And it's good enough for Dumbledore, which is good enough for me:

    "And imagine," Dumbledore went on, "what might have happened then... The Weasleys are one of our most prominent pure-blood families. Imagine the effect on Arthur Weasley and his Muggle Protection Act, if his own daughter was discovered attacking and — killing Muggleborns... Very fortunate the diary was discovered, and Riddle's memories wiped from it. Who knows what the consequences might have been otherwise..."

    Chamber of Secrets Chapter 18: Dobby's Reward"

  2. North American wizards have their own version of "Muggleborn", No-Maj-born, which is used on Pottermore:

    Pure-blood families, who were well-informed through wizarding newspapers about the activities of both Puritans and Scourers, rarely left for America. This meant a far higher percentage of No-Maj-born witches and wizards in the New World than elsewhere.

    Pottermore History of Magic in North America: Seventeenth Century and Beyond

  3. The Pottermore article on "pure-bloodedness" mentions the word Magbob, an archaic term from the time of the Hogwarts Founders, which evidently fell out of use in the intervening centuries (emphasis mine):

    [Salazar] Slytherin's discrimination on the basis of parentage was considered an unusual and misguided view by the majority of wizards at the time. Contemporary literature suggests that Muggle-borns were not only accepted, but often considered to be particularly gifted. They went by the affectionate name of 'Magbobs' (there has been much debate about the origin of the term, but it seems most likely to be that in such a case, magic 'bobbed up' out of nowhere).

    Pottermore Pure-Blood


1 Hat-tip to Au101, in comments, for suggesting I include this quote

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    Agreed. If it's good enough for Dumbledore... – Thane Brimhall Nov 21 '15 at 7:24
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    Is there any canon source establishing whether "muggleborn" refers only to those whose parents were muggles, or if it can be used to refer to a person with any degree of muggle ancestry, even if both their parents were practicing wizards/witches? "Mudblood" seems to be used by bigots to mean the latter, paralleling the one-drop rule... – Hypnosifl Nov 21 '15 at 21:57
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    @Hypnosifl Can you give an example of when "mudblood" was used to describe the latter? I only recall specific instances of it being used to describe people born to Muggle parents (such as Hermione and Lily) - I don't remember it being used to describe any half-bloods or other wizards, but my memory could be squiffy :) – Luna Nov 21 '15 at 23:15
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    @Hypnosifl I believe non-bigots would use "half-blood" in that case. Consider Ron in CoS: "'It's a disgusting thing to call someone,' said Ron, wiping his sweaty brow with a shaking hand. 'Dirty blood, see. Common blood. It's ridiculous. Most wizards these days are half-blood anyway. If we hadn't married Muggles we'd've died out.'" – Jason Baker Nov 22 '15 at 0:22
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    Not worth making an answer of my own, but you might consider adding the quote in Mudbloods and Murmers (CoS) from Ron: "'Mudblood's a really foul name for someone who was Muggle-born - you know, non-magic parents.'" Not only does this explicitly contrast the two terms, but it establishes that "Muggle-born" refers to those whose parents were Muggles. Just thought the quote was worth having under this question and I'd feel cheap posting the same answer as you with just a different quote – Au101 Nov 22 '15 at 23:05
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Witches and wizards of Muggle birth are referred to as "Muggle-born" or "Mudbloods". Harry told Horace S.

One of my best friends is Muggle-born" [HBP, Horace Slughorn]

Likewise Hermione describes herself with the term "Muggle-born".

I'm Muggle-born, you see. [HBP, The Half-blood Prince]

There are plenty of examples where "Mudblood" is the preferential insult Malfoy hurls at Hermione.

don't touch my hand, now. I've just washed it, you see; don't want a Mudblood sliming it up. [GoF, The Weighing of the Wands]

There is a confrontation between James P. and Severus S. where the latter calls her a Mudblood.

I don't need help from filthy little Mudbloods like her! [OotP, Snape's Worst Memory]

James wanted Snape to apologize and he told Lily he'd never call her that.

The polite way is the clear indication of their parentage, "Muggle-born", or Witch or Wizard.

0

Muggle-borns or Half-bloods as it may be.

  • 1
    While this is correct, some references or examples of these being seen as "polite" terms would be great to flesh your answer out. – phantom42 Nov 21 '15 at 20:52
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    "Half-blood" and "muggleborn" have different meanings. "Half-blood" means anyone who isn't pureblood, while "muggleborn" specifically means both parents are muggles. – Kevin Nov 22 '15 at 2:06

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