"Harry had already attempted a few of the Prince's self-invented spells. There had been a hex that caused toenails to grow alarmingly fast."
—The Toenail-growing hex[src]

A hex is a type of Dark charm,[1] whose effects cause moderate suffering to the victim. As a moderate type of Dark magic, hexes are slightly worse than jinxes but are not as dark as curses.[5]


Hexes can be defended against using Hex-deflection.[6] Hexes may also be countered by using a Hex-Breaker or Hex Zapper, which counters their effects.[7]

Hexes can be used in a defensive and offensive capacity. For instance, in 1996, Ginny Weasley gained a reputation for being an accomplished caster of the Bat-Bogey Hex after using it to free herself from Dolores Umbridge's Inquisitorial Squad[8] and also for casting it on Zacharias Smith from her carriage on the Hogwarts Express.[9]

List of Hexes

Name Incantation Effect
B Bat-Bogey Hex Causes the target's bogeys to turn into large, black bats and fly out their nose.[2]
Bedazzling Hex Disguises things[10]
D Densaugeo Grotesquely elongates teeth[11]
E Engorgio Skullus Swells head[12]
H Horn tongue hex Turns the target's tongue into a horn[13]
Hurling Hex Unclear, possibly causes a broomstick to attempt to hurl its rider off[14]
I Illegal growth hex Head grows[15]
Instant scalping hex Shaves all the hair off a target's scalp[13]
K Knee-Reversal Hex Switches knees from front of legs to back.[2]
M Mutatio Skullus Mutation[12]
P Pepper Breath Inflicts fiery hot breath[13]
R Head Shrink Spell Redactum Skullus Shrinks head[12]
S Stickfast Hex Colloshoo Makes target's shoes stick to ground[1]
T Tail-growing hex Gives the victim a tail[2]
Tickling Hex Titillando Tickles target and weakens[1]
Toenail-growing hex Causes its victim's toenails to grow alarmingly fast[16]
Twitchy-Ears Hex Makes victim's ears twitch[6][2]


The word "hex" may derive from Pensylvania German hexe meaning "to practise witchcraft" or German hexen "to hex",[17] a meaning that the word still retains today when used as a verb. Its usage as a noun in contemporary English may refer to "a magic spell" or "a charm" and usually carries an connotation of ill will (though it used to refer to a an evil witch; such as a Hag as well).[17][18] In Dutch, a witch is called a heks, which is pronounced the same way as hex.

Behind the scenes

  • Even though Rowling herself specified the differences between curses, hexes, and jinxes, she states that "Within the Potter world, the boundaries are flexible and I imagine that wizards may have their own ideas."[19] This shows that the categorisation of dark charms is not set and stone, and may sometimes be used interchangeably. This explains why some spells are known by multiple names, like why the Stinging Jinx is also sometimes known as the Stinging Hex.


Notes and references

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