"Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" by J.K. Rowling, Foreword & Introduction

Set in the Harry Potter universe, this book purports to be an encyclopedia of magical creatures written by the wizard Newt Scamander.

Here are links to our lists for the book: Foreword & Introduction, Acromantula–Erumpent, Fairy–Mackled Malaclaw, Manticore–Yeti

Here are links to our lists for works in the Harry Potter universe: The Sorcerer's Stone, The Chamber of Secrets, The Prisoner of Azkaban, The Goblet of Fire, The Order of the Phoenix, The Half-Blood Prince, The Deathly Hallows, The Cursed Child, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Read more...

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. ministry
    a government department
    The Ministry of Magic consented to this unprecedented release to raise money for Comic Relief, a well-respected Muggle charity.
  2. unprecedented
    novel; having no earlier occurrence
    The Ministry of Magic consented to this unprecedented release to raise money for Comic Relief, a well-respected Muggle charity.
  3. disclaimer
    a voluntary repudiation of legal claim to something
    I was permitted to reissue the book only on condition that a disclaimer was included, assuring Muggle readers that it was a work of fiction.
  4. glaring
    extremely obvious or conspicuous
    For now, I shall confine myself to correcting a few of the more glaring inaccuracies in recent press reports.
  5. retrospect
    contemplation of things past
    An interest in magical beasts was considered dangerous and suspect, and taking a case full of such creatures into a major city was, in retrospect, a serious mistake.
  6. edict
    a formal or authoritative proclamation
    I am proud to say that one year after my visit, President Seraphina Picquery instituted a Protective Order on Thunderbirds, an edict she would eventually extend to all magical creatures.
  7. deter
    turn away from by persuasion
    At President Picquery’s request, I made no mention of the more important American magical creatures in the first edition of Fantastic Beasts, because she wished to deter wizarding sightseers.
  8. persecution
    causing someone to suffer
    As the American wizarding community was subject to greater persecution at that time than their European counterparts, and given that I had inadvertently contributed to a serious breach of the International Statute of Secrecy in New York, I agreed.
  9. counterpart
    a person or thing having the same function as another
    As the American wizarding community was subject to greater persecution at that time than their European counterparts, and given that I had inadvertently contributed to a serious breach of the International Statute of Secrecy in New York, I agreed.
  10. inadvertently
    without knowledge or intention
    As the American wizarding community was subject to greater persecution at that time than their European counterparts, and given that I had inadvertently contributed to a serious breach of the International Statute of Secrecy in New York, I agreed.
  11. breach
    a failure to perform some promised act or obligation
    As the American wizarding community was subject to greater persecution at that time than their European counterparts, and given that I had inadvertently contributed to a serious breach of the International Statute of Secrecy in New York, I agreed.
  12. reinstate
    bring back into original existence, function, or position
    I have reinstated them in their rightful place in this new edition.
  13. bog
    wet spongy ground of decomposing vegetation
    I look back across the years to the seven-year-old wizard who spent hours in his bedroom dismembering Horklumps and I envy him the journeys to come: from darkest jungle to brightest desert, from mountain peak to marshy bog, that grubby Horklump-encrusted boy would track, as he grew up, the beasts described in the following pages.
  14. lair
    the habitation of wild animals
    I have visited lairs, burrows and nests across five continents, observed the curious habits of magical beasts in a hundred countries, witnessed their powers, gained their trust and, on occasion, beaten them off with my travelling kettle.
  15. commission
    place an order for
    The first edition of Fantastic Beasts was commissioned back in 1918 by Mr. Augustus Worme of Obscurus Books, who was kind enough to ask me whether I would consider writing an authoritative compendium of magical creatures for his publishing house.
  16. compendium
    a publication containing a variety of works
    The first edition of Fantastic Beasts was commissioned back in 1918 by Mr. Augustus Worme of Obscurus Books, who was kind enough to ask me whether I would consider writing an authoritative compendium of magical creatures for his publishing house.
  17. augment
    enlarge or increase
    I was then but a lowly Ministry of Magic employee and leapt at the chance both to augment my pitiful salary of two Sickles a week and to spend my holidays travelling the globe in search of new magical species.
  18. conscience
    motivation deriving from ethical or moral principles
    Once a month, however, they transform into savage, four-legged beasts of murderous intent and no human conscience.
  19. centaur
    a mythical being that is half man and half horse
    The centaurs’ habits are not human-like; they live in the wild, refuse clothing, prefer to live apart from wizards and Muggles alike and yet have intelligence equal to theirs.
  20. troll
    supernatural creature thought to live in caves or mountains
    Trolls bear a humanoid appearance, walk upright, may be taught a few simple words and yet are less intelligent than the dullest unicorn and possess no magical powers in their own right except for their prodigious and unnatural strength.
  21. prodigious
    great in size, force, extent, or degree
    Trolls bear a humanoid appearance, walk upright, may be taught a few simple words and yet are less intelligent than the dullest unicorn and possess no magical powers in their own right except for their prodigious and unnatural strength.
  22. governance
    the act of exercising authority
    We now ask ourselves: which of these creatures is a ‘being’—that is to say, a creature worthy of legal rights and a voice in the governance of the magical world—and which is a ‘beast'?
  23. crude
    belonging to an early stage of technical development
    Early attempts at deciding which magical creatures should be designated ‘beasts’ were extremely crude.
  24. decree
    issue an authoritative order
    Burdock Muldoon, Chief of the Wizards’ Council in the fourteenth century, decreed that any member of the magical community that walked on two legs would henceforth be granted the status of ‘being’, all others to remain ‘beasts’.
  25. dismay
    the feeling of despair in the face of obstacles
    In a spirit of friendship he summoned all ‘beings’ to meet with the wizards at a summit to discuss new magical laws and found to his intense dismay that he had miscalculated.
  26. relentless
    never-ceasing
    Little could be heard over the squawking of the Diricawls, the moaning of the Augureys and the relentless, piercing song of the Fwoopers.
  27. sundry
    consisting of a haphazard assortment of different kinds
    As wizards and witches attempted to consult the papers before them, sundry pixies and fairies whirled around their heads, giggling and jabbering.
  28. forswear
    formally reject or disavow
    Embittered, Burdock Muldoon forswore any further attempts to integrate non-wizard members of the magical community into the Wizards’ Council.
  29. integrate
    make into a whole or make part of a whole
    Embittered, Burdock Muldoon forswore any further attempts to integrate non-wizard members of the magical community into the Wizards’ Council.
  30. delegation
    a group of representatives
    Meanwhile a large delegation of ghosts (who had been barred under Muldoon’s leadership on the grounds that they did not walk on two legs, but glided) attended but left in disgust at what they later termed ‘the Council’s unashamed emphasis on the needs of the living as opposed to the wishes of the dead’.
  31. gait
    a person's manner of walking
    Troll representatives were questioned in the absence of goblins and judged not to understand anything that was being said to them; they were therefore classified as ‘beasts’ despite their two-legged gait; merpeople were invited through translators to become ‘beings’ for the first time; fairies, pixies and gnomes, despite their humanoid appearance, were placed firmly in the ‘beast’ category.
  32. extremist
    a person who holds radical views
    We are all familiar with the extremists who campaign for the classification of Muggles as ‘beasts’...
  33. phoenix
    a legendary bird that burned to death and emerged reborn
    The dragon, the griffin, the unicorn, the phoenix, the centaur—these and more are represented in Muggle works of that period, though usually with almost comical inexactitude.
  34. travail
    work hard
    Examine this surviving fragment of manuscript, written by one Brother Benedict, a Franciscan monk from Worcestershire:
    Todaye while travailing in the Herbe Garden, I did push aside the basil to discover a Ferret of monstrous size.
  35. hitherto
    up to this point; until the present time
    Muggle persecution of wizards at this time was reaching a pitch hitherto unknown and sightings of such beasts as dragons and Hippogriffs were contributing to Muggle hysteria.
  36. acrimonious
    marked by strong resentment or cynicism
    No fewer than seven weeks of sometimes acrimonious discussion between wizards of all nationalities were devoted to the troublesome question of magical creatures.
  37. conform
    adapt oneself to new or different conditions
    In 1750, Clause 73 was inserted in the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy, to which wizard ministries worldwide conform today:
    Each wizarding governing body will be responsible for the concealment, care and control of all magical beasts, beings and spirits dwelling within its territory’s borders.
  38. contravene
    go against, as of rules and laws
    The International Confederation of Wizards has had to fine certain nations repeatedly for contravening Clause 73.
  39. kelpie
    a water spirit in the form of a horse
    Meanwhile the world’s largest kelpie continues to evade capture in Loch Ness and appears to have developed a positive thirst for publicity.
  40. intervention
    the act of getting involved
    Creatures such as the Tebo, the Demiguise and the Bowtruckle have their own highly effective means of camouflage and no intervention by the Ministry of Magic has ever been necessary on their behalf.
  41. innate
    inborn or existing naturally
    Then there are those beasts that, due to cleverness or innate shyness, avoid contact with Muggles at all costs—for instance, the unicorn, the Mooncalf and the centaur.
  42. adept
    having or showing knowledge and skill and aptitude
    Finally, and most commonly, we have beasts that are too small, too speedy or too adept at passing for mundane animals to attract a Muggle’s attention—Chizpurfles, Billywigs and Crups fall into this category.
  43. mundane
    found in the ordinary course of events
    Finally, and most commonly, we have beasts that are too small, too speedy or too adept at passing for mundane animals to attract a Muggle’s attention—Chizpurfles, Billywigs and Crups fall into this category.
  44. conspicuous
    obvious to the eye or mind
    Nevertheless there are still plenty of beasts that, whether wilfully or inadvertently, remain conspicuous even to the Muggle eye, and it is these that create a significant amount of work for the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures.
  45. plausible
    apparently reasonable and valid, and truthful
    The Office of Misinformation will in such a case liaise directly with the Muggle prime minister to seek a plausible non-magical explanation for the event.

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.