“You’re joking, Weasley!” said Malfoy, behind them. “You’re not telling me someone’s asked that to the ball? Not the long-molared Mudblood?” (Harry Potter 4 [US Version]: p.404)[Bold font is mine]

N.B.: Malfoy, who hates Hermione very much, is insulting her. In the past, he hexed her front teeth into long, beaver-like teeth. However, her teeth are normal now. Mudblood is an insulting word in the magical world.

I know a molar is any of the large teeth at the back of the mouth. So I can’t understand why he refers to back teeth after his hex to her front teeth.

Does ‘long-molared’ have special meaning? Or does he say so on purpose in order to express his indifference to Hermione?

  • 4
    Maybe "long-incisored" just doesn't have the same ring to it.
    – Urbycoz
    Jul 20, 2011 at 8:07
  • 3
    You may have caught on to something the editing team missed.
    – JoseK
    Jul 20, 2011 at 8:16
  • @Urby: or long-fanged
    – JoseK
    Jul 20, 2011 at 10:39

3 Answers 3


No, it has no special meaning.

I expect Ms Rowling used the phrase "long-molared" because either:

  1. she felt it sounded better than the technically accurate
  2. it was a mistake, that got missed by proof-readers.
  3. she felt it was a likely mistake for Malfoy to make.

...or a combination of these.

  • 2
    +1 Here in the USA the proper insult for this situation would be buck-toothed. Perhaps they don't use that one in England. Or perhaps it didn't sound pretentious enough for Malfoy (he thinks of himself as kind of upper-class, after all).
    – T.E.D.
    Jul 20, 2011 at 13:45
  • T.E.D. - No, buck teeth refers to prominent front teeth. The molars are the teeth for grinding at the rear of the mouth.
    – Marcin
    Jul 21, 2011 at 7:39
  • @Marcin - ...which is wrong, as we have all been saying (and that's why I voted up this answer). It is her front teeth Malfoy had been obsessing over the entire series. Perhaps the dude just had some weird tooth fetish. Too bad he missed his calling as a dentist.
    – T.E.D.
    Jul 21, 2011 at 12:18

I agree with @Urbycoz it has no special meaning. I think Rowling has deliberately chosen to trade off complete precision against some poetic qualities of the resulting phrase. Hermoine had large front teeth - incisors, not molars - but when insulting people all you really need to get across is "big teeth".

"Long-molared Mudblood" uses two trochees alliterating with "m": MOL-ared MUD-blood. It also employs variation rather than repeating a common word. The more musical phrasing carries the reader along with more momentum, as well as emphasizing Malfoy's role as a snobby git.


It's a reference to the phrase "Long in the tooth" which means someone old (and can be either positive or negative).

That phrase refers to the apparent extension of the incisors (eye teeth) by gum loss that occurs as one ages.

As to the choice of "molar" rather than "incisor"? Only Ms Rowling can say for sure, but I imagine it is for scansion as much as anything.

  • 2
    Seems unlikely. They're all still school-aged after all.
    – Urbycoz
    Jul 20, 2011 at 13:35
  • 1
    In any other context I'd agree with this - "Long in the tooth" immediately came to mind. (But I wouldn't be so quick to vote it down.) A classic way of judging the age of a horse, and what you might find in the mouth of the gift horse into which you don't look. Jul 20, 2011 at 13:50
  • 1
    @Mrcin – I’m glad to get your informative comments, which might help me when reading other stories. Thanks.
    – user7493
    Jul 21, 2011 at 7:31

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