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"With the Severing Charm, cutting or tearing objects is a simple matter of wand control. The spell can be quite precise in skilled hands, and the Severing Charm is widely used in a variety of wizarding trades. Useful as it is, this charm should be practised with caution, as a careless swipe of the wand can cause injury."
Miranda Goshawk[src]

The Severing Charm (Diffindo) was a charm used to precisely and accurately cut something.[1] If used inappropriately, it could cause death or injury.[1]

It was taught in first-year,[4] fourth-year[5] and fifth-year[3] Charms classes at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It was also covered in first-year[6] and second-year[2] Herbology classes at Hogwarts.

A spellbook for this charm could be found in one of the Herbology greenhouses;[2] the charm was also detailed in both Book of Spells[1] and The Standard Book of Spells, Grade 1.[4]


"The Severing Charm was created in the fifteenth century by wizarding seamstress Delfina Crimp who created it as an easy and convenient way of cutting cloth and thread."
Book of Spells[src]

Delfina Crimp using this charm to shorten a dress

This spell was invented in the fifteenth century by seamstress and witch Delfina Crimp. She made the spell because prior to her discovery, most spells used to cut things (such as the fabric she wanted to cut magically) were apt to burn or shred things. However, a rival Muggle clothes maker, Snickerton, realised that she could do magic and raided her shop with friends. They held her tied up and nearly killed her. However, she convinced them to release her to scratch a wart on her chin. When allowed to do so, she drew it out, revealing the wart to be her hidden wand. She then Disapparated with a sack of gold.[1]

It is implied that Crimp may have continued to use it, or cast a curse on Snickerton with similar effects, as all of his subsequent creations were found sliced up.[1]

Known uses

""Diffindo!" Cedric’s bag split. Parchment, quills, and books spilled out of it onto the floor. Several bottles of ink smashed."
— Harry Potter using the charm to cut open Cedric Diggory's school bag[src]


Caster(s) Date Notes
Delfina Crimp 1400s The charm was invented in this time by Delfina Crimp and used by her to make and tailor clothing.[1]
Filius Flitwick 1987–1988 school year Professor Filius Flitwick taught this spell to his fourth-year charms students.[5]
Jacob's sibling
Used it to sever the Acromantula web that stuck Charlie Weasley to the ground.[7]
Harry Potter 23 November, 1994 Used it to cut Cedric Diggory's bookbag to delay him from class so that he could warn Cedric privately about the First Task of Triwizard Tournament.[8]
14 September, 1996 Used it to detach the front cover of his shop-bought potions textbook to replace it with an annotated version using the Mending Charm.[9]
28 December, 1997 Used it to break the ice from the frozen pool in the Forest of Dean, where Severus Snape had hidden the Sword of Gryffindor.[10]
Ron Weasley 25 December, 1994 Used it to sever the lace sleeves of his dress robes before the Yule Ball.[11]
Hermione Granger 1 August, 1997 Used it to remove the bindings on Ron Weasley conjured by Antonin Dolohov after a fight in a cafe; she trembled so much that she cut Ron with it.[12]
25 December, 1997 Used it to remove the Salazar Slytherin's locket from Harry Potter's chest shortly after they were attacked by Nagini in Bathilda Bagshot's home in Godric's Hollow.[13]
Peter Pettigrew (possibly) 24 June, 1995 Possibly used it nonverbally to break Tom Riddle's Gravestone.[14]
Lord Voldemort (possibly) March, 1998 Possibly used it nonverbally to break Albus Dumbledore's tomb.[15]


"“Diffindo!” yelled Harry, trying to sever the feelers wrapping themselves tightly around Ron before his eyes, but they would not break. Ron fell over, still thrashing against his bonds."
— Harry Potter failing to sever brain tentacles attached to Ron Weasley's head[src]
Caster(s) Date Notes
Harry Potter 18 June, 1996 Attempted to sever the tentacles of brain, which attacked Ron Weasley after he summoned it in the Brain Room during the battle in Department of Mysteries, but unsuccessful.[16]
2 September, 1997 Attempted to break Mary Cattermole free of the Accusation chair, but unsuccessful.[17]
3 September, 1997 Attempted to destroy Salazar Slytherin's Locket in Dartmoor, but unsuccessful.[18]

Known practitioners


The incantation is the Latin first person active indicative for "to split, cleave or open".

See also

Behind the scenes

Diffindo as seen in Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells


Notes and references

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Wonderbook: Book of Spells
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
  4. 4.0 4.1 Pottermore - The Standard Book of Spells, Grade 1
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 4, Chapter 12 (Working with Snape) - Charms Lesson "Diffindo"
  6. 6.0 6.1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game) - Console versions
  7. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 4, "TORVUS AND THE TROUBLED FOREST" Achievement
  8. 8.0 8.1 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 20 (The First Task)
  9. 9.0 9.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 11 (Hermione's Helping Hand)
  10. 10.0 10.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 19 (The Silver Doe)
  11. 11.0 11.1 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 23 (The Yule Ball)
  12. 12.0 12.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 9 (A Place to Hide)
  13. 13.0 13.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 18 (The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore)
  14. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 32 (Flesh, Blood and Bone)
  15. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 24 (The Wandmaker)
  16. 16.0 16.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 35 (Beyond the Veil)
  17. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 13 (The Muggle-Born Registration Commission)
  18. 18.0 18.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Charms (class)
PS Wingardium Leviosa feather.gif
Charm-book writers and developers
Blagdon Blay · Daisy Pennifold · Delfina Crimp · Miranda Goshawk · Jarleth Hobart · Basil Horton · Helixa Hyslop · Syna Hyslop · Randolph Keitch · Levina Monkstanley · Orabella Nuttley · Mnemone Radford · Scarpin · Elliot Smethwyck · Felix Summerbee · Violeta Stitch
Professors Fortinbras · Filius Flitwick · Unidentified 19th-century professor · Unidentified male professor
Textbooks Achievements in Charming · Extreme Incantations · Quintessence: A Quest · The Standard Book of Spells
Charms studied at Hogwarts
Anti-Alohomora Charm · Ascendio · Banishing Charm (Depulso) · Blackboard Writing Spell · Blue sparks · Box Blasting Charm (Cistem Aperio) · Bubble-Head Charm · Cheering Charm · Cleaning Charm · Colour Change Charm (Colovaria) · Confundus Charm (Confundo) · Counter-charm for hiccoughs · Dancing Feet Spell (Tarantallegra) · Descendo · Disarming Charm (Expelliarmus) · Disillusionment Charm · Drought Charm · Entrancing Enchantments (Theoretically) · Eradication Spell (Deletrius) · Engorgement Charm (Engorgio) · Extinguishing Spell · Exploding Charm (Bombarda) · Fire-Making Spell (Incendio) · Freezing Charm (Immobulus) · Freezing Spell (Glacius) · Full Body-Bind Curse (Petrificus Totalus) · General Counter-Spell (Finite Incantatem) · Gouging Spell (Defodio) · Growth Charm · Ice Jinx · Knitting Charm · Knockback Jinx (Flipendo) · Leg-Locker Curse (Locomotor Mortis) · Levitation Charm (Wingardium Leviosa) · Locking Spell (Colloportus) · Locomotion Charm (Locomotor) · Lumos Solem Spell (Lumos Solem) · Mending Charm (Reparo) · Memory Charm (Obliviate) · Muffliato Charm (Muffliato) · Nonverbal spells · Pack Charm (Pack) · Red Sparks (Vermillious) · Reductor Curse (Reducto) · Scouring Charm (Scourgify) · Seize and pull charm (Carpe Retractum) · Severing Charm (Diffindo) · Shrinking Charm (Reducio) · Silencing Charm (Silencio) · Slowing Charm (Arresto Momentum) · Skurge Charm (Skurge) · Softening Charm (Spongify) · Spell for growing legs · Substantive Charm · Summoning Charm (Accio) · Tickling Charm (Rictusempra) · Unlocking Charm (Alohomora) · Vinegar to wine spell · Wand-Extinguishing Charm (Nox) · Wand-Lighting Charm (Lumos) · Lumos Maxima · Water-Making Spell (Aguamenti)
Blossom Degrasse · Miranda Goshawk · Quiac Marinus · Beaumont Marjoribanks · Nepali wizard · Gethsemane Prickle · Sanjay Shanker · Selina Sapworthy · Phyllida Spore · Tilden Toots · Hadrian Whittle · Sir Winogrand
Herbology at Hogwarts
Herbology Award · Herbology Lesson Cup · Herbology Race Cup · Herbology Store
Greenhouses One · Two · Three · Four · Five · Six · Seven · Professor's Office
Professors Herbert Beery · Pomona Sprout · Neville Longbottom · Unnamed Professor (19th century)
Textbooks Flesh-Eating Trees of the World · Ingredient Encyclopedia · One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi · Winogrand's Wondrous Water Plants
Plants studied and grown at Hogwarts
Aconite · Alihotsy · Asphodel · Belladonna · Bouncing Bulb · Bubotuber · Bubotuber pus · Chinese Chomping Cabbage · Cowbane · Devil's Snare · Dirigible plum · Dittany · Fanged Geranium · Fat cactus-like plant · Fire seed bush · Flitterbloom · Floo · Flutterby bush · Fluxweed · Gillyweed · Ginger · Hemlock · Honking daffodil · Ivy · Knotgrass · Lady's Mantle · Lavender · Leaping Toadstool · Lovage · Mandrake · Mimbulus mimbletonia · Mistletoe · Moly · Nettle · Peppermint · Puffapod · Raspberry · Rose · Sage · Screechsnap · Scurvy grass · Self-fertilising shrub · Shrivelfig · Snargaluff · Sneezewort · Sopophorous plant · Sopophorous bean · Spiky Bush · Spiky Prickly Plant · Stinksap · Sugar Shrub · Toad-eating plant · Tormentil · Umbrella Flower · Valerian · Vampiric vegetation · Venomous Tentacula · Walking plant · Wax vegetables · Whomping Willow · Wiggentree · Wild rice · Wormwood
Spells taught in Herbology at Hogwarts
Fire-Making Spell (Incendio) · Herbivicus Charm (Herbivicus) · Incendio Duo Spell (Incendio Duo) · Lumos Solem Spell (Lumos Solem) · Severing Charm (Diffindo)
The Standard Book of Spells
Book of Spells 1.png
Grade 1 · Grade 2 · Grade 3 · Grade 4 · Grade 5 · Grade 6 · Grade 7
Charms included in the series: Dancing Feet Spell (Tarantallegra) · Disarming Charm (Expelliarmus) · Engorgement Charm (Engorgio) · Fire-Making Spell (Incendio) · Freezing Charm (Immobulus) · General Counter-Spell (Finite Incantatem) · Levitation Charm (Wingardium Leviosa) · Locking Spell (Colloportus) · Memory Charm (Obliviate) · Mending Charm (Reparo) · Nonverbal spell · Severing Charm (Diffindo) · Skurge Charm (Skurge) · Softening Charm (Spongify) · Substantive Charm · Summoning Charm (Accio) · Tickling Charm (Rictusempra) · Unlocking Charm (Alohomora) · Wand-Lighting Charm (Lumos)