What does 'Foaming Burbles' mean in the next sentence from the 'Harry Potter: Goblet of Fire', page 153

The principal’s latest accusation was that Brilly had put Foaming Burbles in all the school toilets.

I understand that Foaming means 'produce foam', but what about 'burbles'?

  • It's not English.
    – Colin Fine
    Oct 1, 2022 at 14:30
  • I'd guess it's a brand of bubble bath, or whatever the witchy equivalent is.
    – Stuart F
    Oct 1, 2022 at 22:13

2 Answers 2


Your guess is as good as mine. It is a made up word, made up by JK Rowling for a product that exists only in the fantasy world of Harry Potter.

It seems to be onomatopoeic: it is something that makes a sound like "burble", and produces (large amounts?) of foam, so it is probably a prank product.


This isn't actually a sentence from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; rather, it is one of the sample sentences from The Unofficial Harry Potter Vocabulary Builder, by Sayre Van Young. Each entry consists of a word, its pronunciation and meaning, a page reference to where the word can be found in the Harry Potter series, and a sample sentence showing usage of the word.

In this case, accusation is found on page 153 of the American edition:

“Now, Mum,” said Fred, looking up at her, a pained look on his face. “If the Hogwarts Express crashed tomorrow, and George and I died, how would you feel to know that the last thing we ever heard from you was an unfounded accusation?”

Everyone laughed, even Mrs. Weasley.

The sample sentences are presumably creations of the book's author, Sayre Van Young; the foreword to the book hints that by reading all the sample sentences, you can piece together hints towards a larger story.

Those of you who look up more than one or two words will soon realize there's a story going on here, and you may wonder what happens to Brilly, Willow, Annie, Tamika, Ravi, and all the other characters mentioned (especially the evil Blackpool).

Check out the Epilogue at the end of the book.

Foaming Burbles, therefore, are an invention by Sayre Van Young of something that would feel at home in the Harry Potter universe. Presumably, as mentioned in the other answer, they are some kind of wizarding prank, likely something Brilly would have bought from Fred and George's joke shop. They show up at least once more in another sample sentence:

The tuba players in the school marching band began to break ranks as their bewitched tubas suddenly sprouted giant fountains of Foaming Burbles.

The use of capital letters implies that Foaming Burbles is a brand name - so these are probably a specific product that you can buy in a joke shop.

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