Since Voldemort's name was considered the embodiment of all things evil, was he ever used as a swear word or a similar cuss? In many books and franchises, evil beings are used in curses, such as in one episode of Stargate a disguised Jaffa/Goa'uld sympathizer told O'Neill to "Go to Sokar" as in “go to hell”, or something along the lines of “You look as bad as a reincarnated Voldemort” or “kids, if you don't behave and eat your veggies you won't be strong enough and Voldy will eat you”?

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    It seems to be crystal clear in the books. Except for Dumbledore and Harry, 100% of wizarding population in Britain was afraid of his name and called "you know who" Apr 8, 2015 at 14:12
  • Your last example is more of a portrayal of Voldemort as a boogeyman, than a bad word.
    – phantom42
    Apr 8, 2015 at 14:15
  • Yeah, I know, a bit of a digress from the original idea of a bad word, I was just aiming for anything even vaguely related.
    – P3X310
    Apr 8, 2015 at 14:33
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    Don't call him by his name or you'll end up on his death-list, you son of a Voldermort.
    – Theik
    Apr 9, 2015 at 12:57

3 Answers 3


No, absolutely not.

The vast majority of wizards feared the Dark Lord too much to dare speak his name, and even those in the Order who did use his name feared it too much to use it casually. Wizards basically can be put into three categories; Death Eaters, people actively opposing the Dark Lord (like the Order of the Phoenix), and ordinary wizards with no allegiance either way.

Ordinary wizards were terrified of the Dark Lord, and wouldn't dare use his name at all.

The largest category of wizards is those who fear to speak the Dark Lord’s name. Many of them aren’t involved in the fight either against him or with him at all, and were just trying to live through the war. Even most wizards who were actively involved in fighting him still didn’t dare speak his name, including powerful ones like Professor McGonagall. Hagrid explains this to Harry - people didn’t say the name because they still feared its owner.


‘Well – I don’ like sayin’ the name if I can help it. No one does.’

‘Why not?’

‘Gulpin’ gargoyles, Harry, people are still scared. Blimey, this is difficult. See, there was this wizard who went … bad. As bad as you could go. Worse. Worse than worse. His name was …’ Hagrid gulped, but no words came out.”
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 4 (The Keeper of the Keys)

Death Eaters either respected or feared the Dark Lord, and wouldn't use him as a swear.

Death Eaters call him either “the Dark Lord”, or “my Lord” when speaking to him directly. (The only time a Death Eater ever referred to him as Voldemort was Barty Crouch Jr. in disguise as Moody.) The Death Eaters who served him out of genuine loyalty respected him highly, those who served him out of fear of the consequences of not serving him feared him, and all Death Eaters regardless of their motivations knew they didn't want to be the target of the Dark Lord's wrath.

“How come Voldemort wants it?’

Several of the Death Eaters let out low hisses.

‘You dare speak his name?’ whispered Bellatrix.

‘Yeah,’ said Harry, maintaining his tight grip on the glass ball, expecting another attempt to bewitch it from him. ‘Yeah, I’ve got no problem with saying Vol––’

‘Shut your mouth!’ Bellatrix shrieked. ‘You dare speak his name with your unworthy lips, you dare besmirch it with your halfblood’s tongue, you dare –”
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 35 (Beyond the Veil)

The Death Eaters clearly express shock at Harry using the Dark Lord’s name so casually, and Bellatrix is absolutely livid with him for it. Though it’s true that Harry is more unworthy than most, the Death Eaters never use his name even respectfully, so would certainly not use it as a swear word. For the ones who serve him out of genuine loyalty, his name wouldn’t carry the negative associations needed to be a swear word, and those who fear him wouldn’t dare do anything to incur his wrath. Whether serving him out of fear or admiration, no Death Eater would be willing to do that - especially since the Dark Lord is likely to find out about it, a concern that would affect them more than other wizards, since they directly interact with him.

Those against the Dark Lord who used his name still wouldn’t use it lightly.

The only reason anyone in the Order of the Phoenix seemed willing to use the Dark Lord’s name is because Dumbledore kept telling them they should. He tells McGonagall this when they’re on Privet Drive before they leave Harry there.

“My dear Professor, surely a sensible person like yourself can call him by his name? All this “You-Know-Who” nonsense – for eleven years I have been trying to persuade people to call him by his proper name: Voldemort.’

Professor McGonagall flinched, but Dumbledore, who was unsticking two sherbet lemons, seemed not to notice. ‘It all gets so confusing if we keep saying “You-Know-Who”.’ I have never seen any reason to be frightened of saying Voldemort’s name.”
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 1 (The Boy who Lived)

While some Order members do use his name, none of them would be glib enough to use it as a swear word. Even Dumbledore and Harry, the two people least afraid of using the name, took the threat he posed seriously enough that they wouldn’t do anything like that.

He also wouldn't be used to scare children to behave.

Generally, when parents use something to scare their children, it's something that doesn't actually scare the parents too. Boogeymen are usually imaginary monsters that pose no real threat to anyone. The Dark Lord certainly was neither. Even during the years after his downfall, when the majority of the wizarding world thought he was gone and they were safe from him, they were still scared of the mere idea of him.

It’s possible, but not necessarily likely, that this may change with time.

The Dark Lord was very much a real threat when people feared to speak his name. As the fear of him fades into history, people will likely be less afraid to say his name than before. This doesn’t necessarily translate into his name becoming a swear word though. We do see historical wizards’ names being used as swear words, but none of them we know of had done anything comparable. The main wizard whose name we see used as a swear word is Merlin, who actually seems to be quite a respected figure in the wizarding world.

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    Just to reinforce your second last paragraph -- think of Jews post WWII using "Hitler" as a swear word. There's absolutely no way they would have. Perhaps they would have cursed his name, but they wouldn't have frightened their children with the concept -- it's much too morbid and so much life was lost that it would be disrespectful to do so.
    – Aurelius
    Aug 12, 2018 at 18:17

TL;DR - Not really.

The fear of Voldemort was such that most wizards didn't dare even speak his name, referring to him simply as "You-know-who" or "He-who-must-not-be-named" (or "The Dark Lord" if you were a Death Eater). For a while, during book 7, the name was literally cursed, reporting the position of the people who used it to Voldemort.

So, in general, no, the name was never used as a colloquial curse. The only members of the magical community shown to consistently use the name "Voldemort" were members of the Order of the Phoenix, and even most of them needed the inspiration provided by Dumbledore or Harry to do so.

I don't have the books on me at the moment, but I thiiink the only open mocking/use of Voldemorts name came from the Weasley twins. Could be wrong about that though.

  • Yeah, I was thinking the Weasley twins might have done something like that. Can any Weasley expert confirm or deny this?
    – P3X310
    Apr 8, 2015 at 14:32
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    I also don't have the books with me, but I don't remember the twins every making a play off of the name "Voldemort". However, in the Half-Blood Prince, they did make a play off of "You-Know-Who" with one of their products being "You-No-Poo" which, if my memory serves me correctly was advertised as "The constipation sensation gripping the nation.", or something of that sort.
    – bz032002
    Apr 8, 2015 at 17:11
  • @bz032002 I was hoping to have forgotten about that; thanks a lot ;-P Apr 8, 2015 at 20:39
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    Peeves calls Voldemort "Voldy" after his death ("And Voldy's gone moldy, now let's all have fun!"), but given that Peeves is a poltergeist and was therefore never even human, he's a special case.
    – E. J.
    Apr 9, 2015 at 22:18

The fear around saying Voldemort's name probably came from the existence of the taboo curse tgat we see in DH. Even if Voldemort never actually used this curse during the First Wizarding War, he and his followers were terrifying enough that even the slightest possibility that he might would probably have been enough to make people scared of saying his name.

As such, people wouldn't be saying it as a swear word. Though I can see kids a few generations later using it to shock their grandparents.

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