What is the difference between Apparating and Disapparating? Are there specific circumstances wherein it would be called Apparition versus Disapparition, and vice versa?

Calling it Apparition and Disapparation when coming from Point A to Point B, and then going right back to Point A somewhat makes sense to me, because it implies a straightforward arrival and return loop. However, if a witch or wizard Apparates from his/her home to the Ministry, then continues on to Diagon Alley for some shopping, then stops by a friend's for a visit, and then returns home, to me this implies going forwards in succession. This seems like a different kind of loop: Point A, to B, to C, to D, and then back to A. It's not a direct arrival/return from Point A and B.

I haven't been able to discern any pattern to when JKR uses Apparition versus Disapparition in canon -- it seems random to me. Can anyone clarify the difference between the two using canon/JKR references?

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    Disapparating would be disappearing and Appriating is the reappearing.
    – Chad
    Jan 13, 2012 at 16:42
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    if an Apparition is a ghost what would a Disapparition be??? ;) perhaps an edit for consistancy - I'm not knowledgeable about Harry Potter but should it not be apparating/apparation Jan 13, 2012 at 16:46
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    @Chad -- Thing is, whether one is Apparating or Disapparating, both disappearing (from Point A) and appearing (at Point B) are occurring simultaneously. :) Jan 13, 2012 at 16:52
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    @Slytherincess - It seems she mostly used the term Disappriate as the spell name. But when referring to the event it depended on which location she was referring to... So if someone was leaving the scene they would disapperate out. If they were entering the scene then they would apperate in. Though I recall reading about people "apperating in" one chapter and then "disapperating in" in a later chapter.
    – Chad
    Jan 13, 2012 at 17:10
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    @Chad -- I get what you're saying. Apparition/Disapparition occurs simultaneously, but is defined by direction of travel? Jan 13, 2012 at 17:14

5 Answers 5


"To apparate" is to undergo the process of apparition. "we apparated from there to here." "To disapparate" is to disappear on the starting side of an apparition. "They disapparated, now they're gone." "Apparate"may also be used to describe the appearance side, but I can't think of an example distinguishing that from the whole process where "appear" wouldn't be better.

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    That's about what I was thinking: It's semantics. When you disappear, you're disapparating. When you appear elsewhere, you're apparating. To say, "Let's apparate!" is simply an easy way to say, "Let's disapparate here and apparate there."
    – Tango
    Jan 14, 2012 at 0:32
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    A simple example: I travelled to Germany. I left England to do so.
    – Jon Story
    Nov 18, 2015 at 13:13
  • Or teleport to or more generally teleportation.
    – Pryftan
    May 17, 2018 at 2:23

From the Wikipedia article:

Apparition is a magical form of teleportation, through which a witch or wizard can disappear ("Disapparate") from one location and reappear ("Apparate") in another. It is sometimes accompanied by a distinctive cracking or popping sound, though this is associated with ineptitude rather than success; the most skilled wizards can Apparate "so suddenly and silently" that they seem to have "popped out of the ground" (Dumbledore). The act is also accompanied by a very unpleasant squeezing sensation, as though being sent through a tight rubber tube, according to Harry.[HP6]

If we look at the etymology of the word apparate

From late Latin apparēre (to appear)
    as of a servant who appears on being summoned.

On the question of consistency:

Goblet of Fire:

"He seemed really weak -- I don't reckon he was up to Disapparating or anything."
"You can't Disapparate on the Hogwarts grounds, haven't I told you enough times?" said Hermione. (hardcover ch 29 pg 564) [Harry was suggesting the person left Hogwarts by Disapparating]

The air was suddenly full of the swishing of cloaks. Between graves, behind the yew tree, in every shadowy place, wizards were Apparating. (hardcover ch 33 pg 646) [Wizards were arriving by Apparating]

Order of the Phoenix:

And with another loud crack, the twins Disapparated [leaving the room] (hardcover ch 9 pg 165)

Deathly Hallows:

The door slammed shut and at the same moment a loud crack echoed inside the cellar...
revealing Dobby the house-elf, who has just Apparated into their midst. (hardcover ch 23 pg 467)

This question didn't come up until I was already into the 4th book, so I don't recall any examples of Apparation in the first three. However, it seems fairly consistent that Apparate means to arrive, and Disapparate means to leave a location. It has nothing really to do with one's final destination (such as your multiple point trip). It all has to do with whether someone is entering a location or exiting a location through Apparation.

As to the noise produced by Apparition, as the quote from the Harry Potter wiki states the noise is dependant on the wizards ability to perform Apparation.

It seems like most wizards don't bother learning to get so good at the spell to eliminate the sound. Indeed most wizards are so inept at Apparation that they prefer the Floo network or Portkeys. Fred and George clearly were only willing to study long enough to get certified, but weren't the least concerned about being heard.

Since the Death Eaters had to be a lot more subtle and hidden in their movements, they are significantly better at it.

Goblet of Fire:

The air was suddenly full of the swishing of cloaks. Between graves, behind the yew tree, in every shadowy place, wizards were Apparating. (hardcover ch 33 pg 646) [Wizards were arriving through Apparation]

Half-Blood Prince:

But then, with a very faint pop, a slim, hooded figure appeared out of thin air on the edge of the river...
With a second and louder pop, another hooded firugre materialized. (hardcover ch 2 pg 19)

Based on this description it can be assumed that Narcissa is better at Apparation than Bellatrix. Most of the Death Eaters are proficient enough that they can come in almost silently though. As they would need to be able to move stealthily.

House-elfs are apparently not as skilled (or unconcerned with being as skilled) with Apparation.

Chamber of Secrets:

With a crack like a whip, Dobby vanished.

Half-Blood Prince:

There was a loud crack, and a house-elf appeared. [Kreacher] (hardcover ch 3 pg 51)

Deathly Hallows:

The door slammed shut and at the same moment a loud crack echoed inside the cellar...
revealing Dobby the house-elf, who has just Apparated into their midst. (hardcover ch 23 pg 467)

As their uses of Apparation are quite loud this may suggest they have the bare minimum for performing that magic. At the same time, since they are not constrained in Apparation as wand-users are, it maybe different rules apply to thier use of the spell.

Tonks and Dumbledore seem to be quite adept at Apparation. As no noise is associated with their Disapparation from the Burrow.

Half-Blood Prince:

Tonks hurried past Dumbledore and Harry into the yard; a few paces beyond the doorstep, she turned on the spot and vanished into thin air... [Dumbledore] made Mrs. Weasley a bow and followed Tonks, vanishing at precisely the same spot. (hardcover ch 5 pg 82)

People who want to be stealthy work hard at Apparation in order to reduce noise (ie Death Eaters, Aurors, and Dumbledore). People who aren't worried about being heard (such as Fred, George, and Ministry officials) are likely just getting good enough to be certified, but being quiet is not a priority to them.

  • I should have said this in my question and will edit it in, but I'm somewhat innately distrustful of the Wiki/HP Wiki because it's inconsistent. For example, where in canon or from JKR is this from: It is sometimes accompanied by a distinctive cracking or popping sound, though this is associated with ineptitude rather than success. In GoF, twenty Ministry officials make a popping noise when they appear at the scene of the Dark Mark. In OOTP, popping and cracking is heard from hundreds of people coming into the Ministry. Everyone seems to pop or crack. :) Jan 13, 2012 at 17:58
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    They've got Pop, they've got Crackle. What happened to Snap? Jan 13, 2012 at 18:00
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    @Slytherincess Those are both groups of government officials, how skilled can they really be?
    – Kevin
    Jan 13, 2012 at 18:04
  • @Jack B Nimble -- Are you side-stepping the question? ;) Hmm, aren't there licorice snaps in Potterverse? I'm pretty sure there are in GoF the movie at least. :) Jan 13, 2012 at 18:05
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    I would have expected Fred and George to put a great premium on being able to apparate without attracting attention. Apr 26, 2014 at 2:51

The letters "d-i-s". :)

Seriously though, the clearest way to understand the difference between "Apparate" and "Disapparate" is to substitute the words "appear" and "disappear". That should make the difference between them clear.


There is actually a passage in Chapter Thirty-Six of Goblet of Fire that shows that the difference between them is simply that "Disapparating" is the leaving-the-current-location phase, and "Apparating" is the going-to-the-new-location phase. When Snape describes the Dark Mark to Fudge, he says:

When he touched the mark of any Death Eater, we were to Disapparate, and Apparate, instantly, at his side.

This is further demonstrated by a passage in Chapter Niineteen of Deathly Hallows:

The night reached such a depth of velvety blackness that he might have been suspended in limbo between Disapparation and Apparation.

Clearly, Disapparating and Apparating are two sequential parts of the same process.


Seconding Jack B Nimble's answer.

Apparition is teleporting from one point to another. Whether you use one verb or the other depends fully on what your point of view is. If you see someone teleporting away, you say they Disapparated. If you see someone appearing where you are, you say they Apparated. The person themself will say they did both (as it's a process, see book 6 when Harry describes it for the first time, as quoted in another reply), or whichever seems more important to them (leaving a place VS going somewhere).

It's exactly like emigration and immigration in real life : whether you use one word or the other depends on where you are (or which country's point of view you are taking).

When the process of Apparition is considered as a whole (as in, learning to Apparate), the verb "Apparate" seems to be preferred, which is consistent since the noun is Apparition and not Disapparition (could be Disparition too I guess xD). It suggests that Apparition is perceived by wizards as a way to go somewhere, primarily, as opposed to a way to escape.

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