In the first Hogwarts letter that Harry receives Dumbledore has following titles:

Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorc., Chf. Warlock, Supreme Mugwump, International Confed. of Wizards

What is "Supreme Mugwump"?

As definition for Mugwump I found following:

a person who remains aloof or independent, especially from party politics

Which does not make much sense in the context.

Note: the Bulgarian translation is something like "supreme muggle enemy" which makes even less sense.

  • 7
    In UK English, the term "Mugwump" is generally used (somewhat derisively) to indicate a big boss, in much the same way that you might call someone the "Grand High Poo-Bah or a "muckity-muck". I'm thinking that JKR was just trying to get across that he's got lots of important titles.
    – Valorum
    Jan 20, 2016 at 21:43
  • 5
    As a sidenote: in german it is translated to "ganz hohes Tier" which is a humorous idiom for a big boss (word-by-word translated it would be "a very big animal").
    – jwsc
    Jan 21, 2016 at 7:23
  • 3
    The aloof from party politics bit does make sense. Many political structures have positions that are "above politics" in that the holder is not meant to engage in the political disputes of the legislative bodies. The monarchs in most constitutional monarchies would be such, as would presidents in many countries where that position had less immediate power than a separate prime-minister position. (Even the main exception to that, the United States, was intended to be so, with the presidential election process designed to avoid party politics, though clearly failing to do so).
    – Jon Hanna
    Jan 21, 2016 at 10:15
  • @JonHanna see the speaker of the House of Commons for a start. Technically independent but also politically powerful
    – user46509
    Jan 21, 2016 at 11:16
  • In the Hebrew translation the word "Mugwump" is just transliterated into Hebrew characters.
    – Alex
    Nov 21, 2018 at 1:47

2 Answers 2


The Supreme Mugwump is the name for the head of the International Confederation of Wizards.

The International Confederation of Wizards is a wizarding intergovernmental organisation, roughly equivalent to the United Nations.

Sometime before 1991, Albus Dumbledore was appointed as a representative of the British Ministry of Magic to the International Confederation and became Supreme Mugwump, but was dismissed from his position following the Ministry's denunciation of Voldemort's return in 1995. He was restored as a member after the Ministry's acceptance of Voldemort's return, in 1996, but not as Supreme Mugwump.

If you are asking what does the word mean I have found this.

Mugwump (pronounced /ˈmʌɡwʌmp/) This archetypal American word derives from the Algonquian dialect of Native Americans in Massachusetts. In their language, it meant “war leader”. The Puritan missionary John Eliot used it in his translation of the Bible into their language in 1663 to convey the English words duke, officer and captain. Mugwump was brought into English in the early nineteenth century as a humorous term for a boss, bigwig, grand panjandrum, or other person in authority, although often one of a minor and inconsequential sort.

  • Combined with the definition of "mugwump" provided by @vap78 the position may have generally been non-voting, only casting a vote to break ties.
    – T.J.L.
    Jan 20, 2016 at 21:13
  • So the closest we'd have for a Muggle counterpart would be Hervé Ladsous, for the lack of an equivalent for Ban Ki-moon? Jan 20, 2016 at 23:25
  • 1
    Nice answer - I would recommend to add the pure British meaning of "Mugwump" as noted by @Richard in a comment to the question.
    – vap78
    Jan 22, 2016 at 14:05

Mugwump has a different definition than those already here:

from 1800s US politics: a "fence-sitter, with his 'mug' on one side and his 'wump' on the other"

generally, a politician who couldn't or wouldn't make up his mind.

Not sure where I originally found this reference, it was decades ago.

  • You might link to the Wikipedia article on the subject.
    – user14111
    Jan 20, 2016 at 23:52
  • 1
    Actually this meaning (influential & independent) was right in the question.
    – TaW
    Jan 21, 2016 at 9:07
  • That doesn't necessarily seem like a different meaning from the definition OP posted, which includes "a person who remains [..] independent [..] from party politics" (removed text includes additional things due to the term being broader).
    – Kat
    Jan 27, 2016 at 20:15

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