SAT/ACT vocab words from Harry Potter Spells

Harry Potter: Expecto Patronum with Legos

It probably comes as no surprise that I'm a huge Harry Potter fan.

One of the things that I loved the most about the series was how J.K. Rowling was able to weave her love of words into the magical world of Hogwarts. So I'm happy to report that all of those hours you spent playing Harry Potter: Spells on your iPhone can be counted as studying!

Here is a sampling of the SAT/ACT vocabulary words that you can learn from Harry Potter Spells:


The Confundo spell confuses or confounds people - just like how the lecturer confounded her audience with her convoluted logic or the ragtag football team confounded sports pundits by beating the top-ranked team.


The Crucio spell causes excruciating pain, probably similar to what it might feel like to be literally crucified on a cross or figuratively crucified by the press.

Expecto Patronum

The Expecto Patronum spell causes a protector to appear to shield you from dementors, which makes sense since it is Latin for "I await a protector." Patronum is related to the Latin word for father - pater - which has numerous English spinoffs including paternal, patrimony, patron, patronage, patronize, and patriotic - just to name a few!


The Impedimenta spell impedes your opponent's ability to attack you by putting impediments in their way. Similarly, disaster relief workers try to impede the flood's progress with sandbags and other impediments.


The Impervius spell comes in handy on a rainy day when you need to make your glasses impervious to water. You can also be impervious in metaphysical ways - like how the lip-synching starlet was impervious to criticism from the media.


The Obliviate spell makes you oblivious by wiping out your memory of what just happened. In other cases, people are oblivious because they were not paying attention in the first place.

Petrificus Totalus

The Petrificus Totalus spell is the body-bind spell that petrifies your entire body. Neville Longbottom was physically petrified by Hermione at the end of the Philosopher's Stone. I was figuratively petrified after watching Psycho to the point that I couldn't take a shower for a week!


The Stupefy spell stuns you, putting you into a state of stupefaction. People are generally stupefied when they hear about other people doing stupendous things: for example, the 80-year old woman who just ran a marathon.

For a more comprehensive review of Harry Potter spells and their etymologies, check out the Harry Potter Wiki: List of Spells - it contains a whopping 150+ SAT/ACT vocabulary words! Who says studying for the SAT or ACT isn't fun?!


Photo Credit: Louis K.