13 Things From The First ‘Harry Potter’ Book That Got Changed For Americans


Eighteen years ago today, the first ever book in the "Harry Potter" series was published in the U.K., which slowly but surely started a chain reaction of magic and wonder for kids all around the world.

But children growing up anywhere other than Britain missed out on a LOT of cultural flavor when that very first book, "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone," was brought to international readers. Case in point? If you grew up in the United States, you probably read "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," because everybody knows that American kids have no idea what a philosopher is, MAAAAN.

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ron dgaf

What else did British audiences read that the rest of us across the pond didn't, and vice versa? Here are just a few examples:


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Harry tells Hagrid he knows "math" in the US edition and "maths" in the UK. Either way, he's never going to have to know it again when he gets to Hogwarts, amirite?


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Ever heard of Knickerbocker glorys? Jacket potatoes? Humbugs? Crumpets? Do you use the term 'pudding' to refer to dessert? Do you call fries 'chips?' Then you're probably not American.

Owl genders

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The original text of "The Philosopher's Stone" read, "Harry counted out five little bronze coins and the owl held out its leg so he could put the money into a small leather pouch tied to it. Then it flew off through the open window." In the American version, the owl was referred to as "him," not "it."


ron gape

When Harry first meets the Weasleys outside Platform 9 3/4, they "gawped" at him. In America, they "gawked." Both words mean the same thing, just one is... gawpier.

Dean Thomas

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dean thomas

When the first years are sorted in the American edition, the text reads: "And now there were only three people left to be sorted. 'Thomas, Dean,' a black boy even taller than Ron, joined Harry at the Gryffindor table. 'Turpin, Lisa,' became a Ravenclaw and then it was Ron's turn." In the UK version, though, Dean isn't mentioned in this scene at all -- and neither is his race. Was this an edit on Rowling's part? No idea.


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You know, that thing all Potterheads did in front of every movie theater and bookstore.

Rounders bat

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In the United States, literally nobody knows how to play cricket, so this term was helpfully changed to be about a baseball bat.

School terms

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In the original text, Hermione didn't just have the best grades of anyone else in first year -- she came "top of the year." She also had "lessons" instead of classes and "revision time-tables" instead of a study schedule.


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Fun fact, did you know that in British English (and Canadian English, too!) put a weirdo apostrophe in the middle of the word Halloween? That's because it's technically a contraction for "Hallow's Evening." Also, watch out for trolls that day.

Jumpers vs. Sweaters

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Quick, what does Molly Weasley make all of her children (and Harry) for Christmas every year? Did you say jumpers? Congratulations, you're a Brit.


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madame pomfrey

Madame Pomfrey is the school nurse at Hogwarts, which in Brit-speak makes her the Matron.


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That's what Harry calls his dead mom in British English. You're welcome for the tears.

It's a draw!

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American English favors the word "tie" over "draw," so when Gryffindor and Slytherin got the same number of points at the end of the year, the text in the British edition read, "They had drawn for the House Cup." NGL, it's hard not to picture a posse of Hogwarts students lovingly illustrating the House cup in their sketchbooks.