"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] It was taught in second year charms classes[4] and Fourth year classes,[5] and if used inappropriately can cause death or injury.[1]

A spellbook for this charm could be found in one of the Herbology greenhouses;[2] this was also detailed in both Book of Spells[1] and The Standard Book of Spells, Grade 1.[6]


"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
This spell was invented in the fifteenth century by seamstress and witch Delfina Crimp. She made the spell because prior to her discovery, cutting spells were apt to burn or shred things. However, a rival muggle clothesmaker, 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, revealing the wart to be her hidden wand. She brought her wand forth and disapparated with a sack of gold.

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


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 & Jacob's sibling 1987–1988 school year Professor Filius Flitwick taught this spell to his Fourth year charms students.[5]
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.[7]
14 September, 1996 Used it to detach the front cover of his shop-bought potions textbook to replace it with a vandalised version using the Mending Charm.[8]
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.[9]
Ron Weasley 25 December, 1994 Used it to sever the lace sleeves of his dress robes before the Yule Ball.[10]
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.[11]
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.[12]
Peter Pettigrew (possibly) 24 June, 1995 Used it nonverbally to break Tom Riddle's Gravestone.[13]
Lord Voldemort (possibly) March, 1998 Used it nonverbally to break Albus Dumbledore's tomb.[13]


Caster(s) Date Notes
Harry Potter 18 June, 1996 Used it 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.[14]
2 September, 1997 Used it to break Mary Cattermole free of a chained chair, but unsuccessful.[15]
3 September, 1997 Used it to destroy the Salazar Slytherin's locket in Dartmoor, but unsuccessful.[16]

Known practitioners


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

See also

Behind the scenes


Notes and references

The Standard Book of Spells
Book of Spells 1
Grade 1 · Grade 2 · Grade 3 · Grade 4 · Grade 5 · Grade 6 · Grade 7
Charms included in the series: Banishing Charm · Dancing Feet Spell · Disarming Charm · Engorgement Charm · Fire-Making Spell · Freezing Charm · General Counter-Spell · Levitation Charm · Locking Spell · Memory Charm · Mending Charm · Severing Charm · Softening Charm · Substantive Charm · Summoning Charm · Tickling Charm · Unlocking Charm · Wand-Lighting Charm

Charms (class)
PS Wingardium Leviosa feather
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 · Fred Weasley · George Weasley · Violeta Stitch
Professors Fortinbras · Filius Flitwick · Unidentified male Charms Professor
Textbooks Achievements in Charming · Extreme Incantations · Quintessence: A Quest · The Standard Book of Spells
Charms studied at Hogwarts
Banishing Charm (Depulso) · Blackboard Writing Spell · Blue sparks · Bubble-Head Charm · Cheering Charm · Cistem Aperio · Cleaning Charm · Colour Change Charm (Colovaria) · Confundus Charm (Confundo) · Counter-charm for hiccoughs · Dancing Feet Spell (Tarantallegra) · Descendo · Disillusionment Charm · Drought Charm · Eradication Spell (Deletrius) · Engorgement Charm (Engorgio) · 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 · Knitting Charm · Knockback Jinx (Flipendo) · Leg-Locker Curse (Locomotor Mortis) · Levitation Charm (Wingardium Leviosa) · Locking Spell (Colloportus) · Locomotion Charm (Locomotor) · 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 Scouring Charm (Skurge) · Softening Charm (Spongify) · Spell for growing legs · Substantive Charm · Summoning Charm (Accio) · Tickling Charm (Rictusempra) · Unlocking Charm (Alohomora) · Vinegar into Wine · Wand-Extinguishing Charm (Nox) · Wand-Lighting Charm (Lumos) · Lumos Maxima · Water-Making Spell (Aguamenti)
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