Severus Snape around the world

Updated  January 9th, 2006 (in green)
Some entries may have changed according to new information I got

I've studied a bit in Linguistics and I must say I also enjoy cultural differences.  They can teach us so much about ourselves, our way of living and thinking. That's why I decided to begin this list!  I already know a couple of translation of Snape's name. But really, I can't know or find them all alone!

Therefore, if you speak a language which is not listed here, please inform me of your language's translation of Severus Snape and what it means.  Even if it's the same, I want to know how you pronounce it! Include: Name, language (dialect), country, meaning (if translated) and etymology if you know!

Warning: I will not list all countries for each language! That would take too long! So I just put the languages' mother countries. For example, English - England. I won't put USA, Canada or Australia! So bear that in mind and please don't feel hurt if your country is not listed next to its official language! If it's a dialect different from the original country however, I'll post it.

 One very good reference 
Harry Potter International

United Kingdom

The canon Severus Snape
English - England
Severus: a) strict in judgment, discipline, or government  b) strict or stern bearing or manner
Etymology: Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin severus   Date: 1548
Snape: Rowling said she was inspired by the name of a town in England. I don't know which Snape village she was referring too however. I'd say North Yorkshire's. And, She mentioned that she wanted it to sound like a hissing snake and remind us of snake and "to snap"(to utter sharp biting words) which is quite Snappish in character alright.

Non-canon: other meaning, names and places called  Severus or Snape

Another meaning though not related to the story from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1996, 1998)
\Snape\, v. t. (Shipbuilding) To bevel the end of a timber to fit against an inclined surface.

Other interesting facts which give Snape's name a certain realism!

Snape is a real family name dating from the 1790's.
All Snape recorded over England by regions here (most popular places: Staffordshire, Lancashire and Shropshire parishes)

Snape is a village in Suffolk

Snape is a village in North Yorkshire

Snape Green is the name of a village in Lancashire

Fair Snape - The name of a fell at the western edge of the Forest of Bowland

Snape castle in the city of Snape, North Yorkshire

The Snape Family legend

One of my site's visitors is an authentic Snape from England. Here is a legend that runs in her family about their origin.  Though nothing can be proved, I thought it would be nice for you all to know about it still. Which English family doesn't have its legend about their origins?  Here is one told to my visitor by her dad and aunt: Their name would come from the druid times when people used to worship the sun, the moon and other natural phenomena. They said that their ancestors, the Snapes, were kind of druid leaders able to perform "magic" and ceremonies. The Snapes were said to be commonly found near the peat marshes of England because those places were seen as mystical due to the constant mist hanging over them. People used to believe they could contact the dead from there.  Also, the Snapes would not have been seen as friendly and apparently were quite partial to sacrificing odd humans if they wanted to. Lindow man of Cheshire in the United Kingdom is supposed to be one of those human sacrificing marshes.   

Septimius Severus - More information on the Roman Emperor (may have some relationship with Severus's name) Thanks to SM!

 Saint Severus - There are a couple of Saints named Severus. Here's an example of St.Severus the Gaul  and of St. Severus of Avranches

Severus Snape Around the World Translations


Note: I separated Europe in different geographical regions upon the Merriam-Webster's classification. Usually from left to right on a map.

West Europe

Sefran Sneip
Welsh - Wales
"fran" in sefran means "crow" and the surname is only a phonetic translation. Pronounce sevraan snape
Severo Snape
Portuguese - Portugal
Severo: severe, rigorous

Severus Snape
Spanish - Spain
Pronunciation: - Severus: /s/ /e/ /b/ /e/ /r/ /u/ /s/
-Snape: /e/ /s/ /n/ /e/ /i/ /p/  (at the beggining of the word we pronounce the s like it had an e (like in 'desk') before it.

Severus Rogue
French - France  
Rogue: a rogue (as in English) It's the exact meaning of Snape in English. However, the alliteration is totally lost! I cannot say how much this sounds horrible in my language!  It doesn't slide out of your tongue at all which is unusual for French.

Severus Sneep
Dutch Language - mainly Netherlands and Belgium
Sneep : doesn't mean anything, its a phonetic translation. 

Swiss - Switzerland

South Europe

Severus Piton
Italian - Italy
Pronunciation: pi as in see
Piton: the right spelling is pitone which means a python.(I guess they changed the spelling to make it look more like a family name!)

 Lucius Septimius Severus
(Thanks to Zizzi) Most Italian Snape sites talk about this, but it's rarely found on any English sites. That's why I decided to include it here. "Severus" is the name of the Italian family. Actually, there has been a whole dynasty of Severi. Lucius Septimius Severus (146 - 211 a.d.) was a Roman emperor.    Here is a bibliography of him.

Robaus Raws
Slovenian - Slovenia (not Slovakia)
rude, brutal, gruff or having rough manners
to scuffle, to tussle or near the word "strike" in Slovenian.

Severus Raws
Croatian - Croatia
(in Slovenian) Raws: to scuffle, to tussle or near the word "strike"  

Bosnian - Bosnia

Severus Snejp
Serbian - Serb territory in ex-Yugoslavia

Yugoslavian - Yugoslavia
Séverous Snéip
Greek - Greece

Северус Снейп
Bulgarian - Bulgaria
 The first name to represent Severus is coming from the Bulgarian word for North - СЕВЕР.

North Europe

Severus Snape
Icelandic - Island

Severus Slur
Norwegian - Norway
Slur : 2 potential meaning
a) might be a combination of the Norwegian words "slu" and "lur", which both translate as cunning.
b) if you remove the letter L of slur, you get "sur" which means both sour and grumpy

Severus Snape
Swedish - Sweden

Severus Kalkaros
Finnish - Finland
Kalkaros: pronounced as written (a-letters as in "arm") Comes from the word "kalkkarokäärme"  which means rattlesnake

Severus Snape
Danish - Denmark

Severus Snape
Estonian - Estonia

Severas Sneipas
Lithuanian - Lithuania

Central Europe

Severus Snape
German - Germany
Pronunciation: stress on the second syllable of se-ve-rus

Austrian - Austria

Severus Snape
Czech - Czech Republic

Sewer or Seweryn Snape
Polish - Poland
Sewer or Seweryn: same meaning than Severus, from Latin

Severus Snape
Slovak - Slovakia

Perselus Piton
Hungarian - Hungary
Perselus: probably comes from Perseus, the difference is only the L letter. This is the latin form of his name. In Hungary, they prefer to write the Greek version of the name which is, phonetically, /Perszeusz/. Perseus was the Greek hero from mythology who cut off the head of the gorgon Medusa, the woman who had snakes as hair and transfigured anyone looking at her into stone.  If I remember correctly, Perseus used a mirror to protect himself from her spell and was afterwards famed for his cunning.  This link between the legend and Snape is very interesting indeed. It holds a strong symbol: Snape cutting the head of the snake-woman. It's paradoxal because Snape is a Slytherin. I love this translation!
Piton: like the Italian version, it means a python in Hungarian

East Europe

Северус Снэйп or
Ñåâåðóñ Ñíåãã (Sewerus Snejp - 1st variant)  or
Ñåâåðóñ Ñíýéï (Sewerus Snegg - 2nd variant)
All depends on the alphabetic system used
Russian - Russia
Pronunciation: The pronunciation of the 1st variant is the same as in English (Severus Snejp), and the pronunciation of the official variant is Se-ve-rus Snegg. In both, the first name means "north", and the last name means "snow".
Meaning: In Russia, we could say that Severus Snape is not somebody who is strict and snappish, but somebody who is very cold, frosty.


Ñåâåðóñ Ñíåéïn
Ukraine, Ukrainian
Pronunciation:the same as in Russian, only pronounciation is slightly different

Meaning: it means nothing in Ukrainian.

Severus Plesneala
Romanian - Romania
Meaning: “plesni” would mean to burst, to bang but also to slap someone's face 






(reference same for all
Asian languages)




Asia Minor and West Asia

Severus Snape
Turkish - Turkey

East Asia

Note: usually, in Asia, the u sounds more like oo (boot)

Mandarin - China
a)Xi1-fu2-le4-si1 Si1-nei4-pu3  (for pronunciation see: CJVlang Site)
b)Si1-nei4-pu3 jiao4-shou4
Symbols are just for sound, not for meaning. However, each character represents a word: noun, adjective, verb, etc.
Sai4-fo2-le4-si1 Shi2-nei4-bu3 (for pronunciation see: CJVlang Site)
Taiwan dialect - Taiwan
Symbols are just for sound, not for meaning. However, each character represents a word: noun, adjective, verb, etc.

Vietnamese - Vietnam

Pronunciation: Sé-bu-ru-su   Su-né-i-pu
Japanese - Japan
Meaning: phonetic. It also exists in Japanese-Roman alphabet 

South Korea
Pronunciation: Se-be-lu-seu Seu-ne-i-peu

North Korea
Pronunciation: Se-be-lu-su Su-ne-i-pu

Meaning: phonetic. It also exists in Korean-Roman alphabet

Severus Snape
Indonesian - Indonesia



North and Central Americas



South America