‘And what on earth’s a Squib?’ said Harry.

To his surprise, Ron stifled a snigger.

‘Well – it’s not funny really – but as it’s Filch ...’ he said. ‘A Squib is someone who was born into a wizarding family but hasn’t got any magic powers. Kind of the opposite of Muggle-born wizards, but Squibs are quite unusual. If Filch’s trying to learn magic from a Kwikspell course, I reckon he must be a Squib. It would explain a lot. Like why he hates students so much.’ Ron gave a satisfied smile. ‘He’s bitter.’

Chamber of Secrets - pages 110-111 - British Hardcover

If a Squib is 'kind of the opposite of a Muggle-born wizards' wouldn't that make a Squib more Muggle than wizard? Does a Muggle strictly have to be born to Muggle parents to be considered a Muggle, or can the lack of magic render a person, even of wizarding parentage, a Muggle?

Hermione can say in all truthfulness that she is a 'Muggle-born witch.' The nickname (albeit derogatory) for a Muggle-born is 'Mudblood.' Filch can say in all truthfulness that he is a 'wizarding-born non-magic person,' which, according to Hagrid is a Muggle.

'Squib' may be derogatory in the same way as 'Mudblood' is. Neville laments his family thought he was a Squib when he showed no magical tendencies as a child; the Longbottoms were so rattled at the thought of Neville being a Squib that they, among other things, threw him out a second-story window to see if he would bounce. So could 'Squib' actually be a derogatory term meaning the opposite of 'Mudblood'? After all, the Ministry doesn't allow Squibs to register as magical beings, and many Squibs are schooled and trained in Muggle professions. Squibs don't get a Hogwarts letter.

Wizards can be born to Muggles. Can Muggles be born to wizards?

ETA 11.22.14: In regard to this question, I was glancing through Philosopher's Stone, and I came across this, that Neville said:

‘Well, my gran brought me up and she’s a witch,’ said Neville, ‘but the family thought I was all Muggle for ages. My great-uncle Algie kept trying to catch me off my guard and force some magic out of me – he pushed me off the end of Blackpool pier once, I nearly drowned – but nothing happened until I was eight.’
Philosopher's Stone - page 93 - Bloomsbury - chapter seven, The Sorting Hat

Could what Neville says contribute to the theory and/or conclusion that Squibs are, or are not, Muggles? How do we apply what Neville said?

  • Just want to point out that if a wizard/witch and a Muggle have children, the children are entirely likely to be non-magical (see Gilderoy Lockhart's biography on Pottermore). I'm not completely sure, but I don't think those are considered Squibs, only Muggles, since they don't seem to be extremely uncommon. So the answer would be that Muggles can be born to witches and wizards. This would still fit with the accepted answer, though, since such a child would be more likely to grow up in a Muggle environment than a magical one. – BolteAltamont Feb 10 '14 at 6:13
up vote 48 down vote accepted

No, Muggles cannot be born to wizards, and a Squib is not a Muggle. Being a Muggle is not just about a lack of magical ability, it is also about not being a part of the Wizarding World. This is reflected in Ministry of Magic statutes regarding Wizarding secrecy. Things such as doing magic in front of Muggles is forbidden. Obviously, if a Squib were a Muggle, then this statute would apply to his/her parents and family members, and they would not be able to do magic in the Squib's presence. Clearly, this is permissible. Hence, a Squib is not a Muggle.

I think it is less clear what the status of the non-magical parents of wizards and witches might be. For instance, Hermione is clearly able to tell her parents about the magical world (as they accompany her to Diagon Alley, etc), and not breach any of the Wizarding World's secrecy laws. I would say these family members are still considering Muggles by virtue of not having been born into the Wizarding World, and therefore unaware of most of the Wizarding community. However, Squibs are clearly a part of the Wizarding World, just a part with an inability to perform magic.

  • 3
    That's such a great point about the International Statute of Secrecy. :) – Slytherincess Apr 9 '12 at 1:06
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    I always found the whole "muggle family of a witch/wizard" to be a bit strange with regards to the Statute of Secrecy... Political reasons aside, when Harry performed the Patronus Charm in front of Dudley in OotP he was raked across the coals for performing magic in front of a muggle, even though said muggle was his family and was already well aware of the magical community. Surely the magical community is not entirely devoid of logical thinking in the upper ranks of their legal system? – Jason Aug 10 '15 at 17:46
  • @Jason Hermoine says in book 1 that mean great wizards/witches lack good logical skills. But besides that, the Ministry wanted to get rid of Harry at the time when Harry performed that Patronus charm, so they would have taken any excuse. – DonyorM Jan 26 '16 at 8:06
  • @DonyorM fair enough, but that's like sending a 15 year old to life in max security for getting into a fight at school. That degree of failure of critical thinking is reserved for politicians and there most ardent supporters in the muggle world, most normal people have at least some degree of sense. – Jason Jan 26 '16 at 12:03
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    @DonyorM perhaps this is a sign of too few checks and balances in the Wizarding world, having a real legal branch would have put a stop to this. – Jason Jan 26 '16 at 12:29

One big difference I can remember between Muggles and Squibs is that Squibs can see magical creatures. When Harry has to scare off the Dementors from attacking Dudley and himself in Order of the Phoenix, what saved him in the Wizengamot court was the fact that Mrs. Figg, a Squib, saw him fighting off the Dementors. A Muggle can't see Dementors, like most magic creatures.

As to the offensiveness of the word, I never thought it was offensive of itself, but many Wizards look down on those who can't do magic. Mrs. Figg called herself a Squib without being ashamed of it, but it's obvious that Squibs are not admired in the Wizarding community. I don't think Squib is on level with Mudblood in offensiveness, however. Mudblood focuses on background despite ability, whereas Squib focuses on ability over background. At least that's how I always interpreted it.

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    I do not think squibs can see dementors, despite Ms. Figg's testimony that she saw them. Her testimony regarding their appearance is described as unconvincing. She says "They were big. Big and wearing cloaks," which is sort of accurate, but not the way anyone who had actually seen them would describe them. She does however very accurately describe how they felt. But, of course, muggles are able to feel dementors as well. – user5730 Apr 9 '12 at 0:41
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    Mrs. Figg certainly believed she could see the dementors, and her actions immediately after the attack were certainly of a person who had witnessed exactly what had happened, and not what a Muggle might think had happened. – KeithS Apr 9 '12 at 22:54
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    This seems wrong: scifi.stackexchange.com/a/85970/976 – DVK-on-Ahch-To Sep 28 '15 at 19:28
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    Mrs. Figg didn't believe she could see dementors. They had, at some previous point, been described to her (as I'm sure they were to anyone in the magical community when learning about Azkaban as a child), and she knew what was going on from the feeling they produce and seeing Harry's patronus. Her description in court was of her memory of how they were described. – Jason Jan 26 '16 at 11:46
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    The ministry must have been pretty silly then, if they didn't realize that Mrs. Figg was stating something blatantly impossible. – Adamant Feb 15 '16 at 18:44

One aspect that the other answers have not identified:

Hogwarts has Muggle-repelling charms on it.

“But Hogwarts is hidden,” said Hermione, in surprise, “everyone knows that … well, everyone who’s read Hogwarts: A History, anyway.”

“Just you, then,” said Ron. “So go on — how d’you hide a place like Hogwarts?”

“It’s bewitched,” said Hermione. “If a Muggle looks at it, all they see is a mouldering old ruin with a sign over the entrance saying DANGER, DO NOT ENTER, UNSAFE.”

Filch is a squib and works within Hogwarts.

Obviously, he is immune from the Muggle-repelling charms.

Therefore, squibs are not Muggles.

  • 2
    Not necessarily - for example, Dumbledore might have cast a charm on Filch to give him access. Or perhaps the charms don't work if you already know exactly where and what it is, or if you arrive on the train, or similar. – Harry Johnston Feb 18 '16 at 20:08
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    Or if the charms only work on people who are outside the castle grounds. – EvilSnack Oct 26 '16 at 5:01

I am taking the main question to be:

Wizards can be born to Muggles. Can Muggles be born to wizards?

Yes. If a wizard or witch has not openly disclosed to their spouse of their magical abilities and the child born has no magic abilities they will be raised as a Muggle. Even if the magical parent revealed their status, the child would still be a Muggle for all intents and purposes. My understanding is that this child will not be able to interact with any other wizards (or the Wizarding World at large) beyond their one parent.

To answer the title:

Is a Squib a Muggle?

No. A squib is born to two magical parents but has no magical ability. Since they are born into a magical household they will be able to interact with the Wizarding World.

  • A non-magical child of a wizard/witch is a squib, no matter how they are brought up. – user32390 Feb 16 '16 at 2:50
  • @MathiasFoster: evidence? – Harry Johnston Feb 18 '16 at 10:05
  • @HarryJohnston ‘A Squib is someone who was born into a wizarding family but hasn’t got any magic powers' - Ron. – user32390 Feb 18 '16 at 18:51
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    @MathiasFoster: that's all very well, but he wasn't writing a definition for the dictionary or reciting a legal decision! What exactly he meant by "wizarding family" is open to debate - if one parent is a witch or wizard but is living as a Muggle, and the other parent doesn't know about the wizarding world at all, that doesn't sound like a wizarding family to me. – Harry Johnston Feb 18 '16 at 20:01

It's much simpler than all these answers about heritage.

A muggle is a non magical person. A squib is a magical person unable to perform magic either at all or not well enough.

It's like this: all ford f series are trucks, but not all trucks are fords. They aren't exactly opposites.

Keep in mind what Ron said is from the perspective of a 12/13 year old.

  • 1
    Um.... they are opposites though. A squib is the opposite of a muggleborn – user35971 Oct 6 '17 at 18:13

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