The scary-sounding “mor” in evil characters’ names

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Harry Potter’s nemesis, “The Dark Lord” Voldemort.

Harry Potter’s nemesis, “The Dark Lord” Voldemort.

Yes, it’s Monday. The dreaded words starts with the letters M-O-N, which also includes the Middle English word for moon – Monen Day.

But how about the syllable M-O-R? There’s an odd similarity among the names of bad guys in movies and books.

Sherlock Holmes had the criminal mastermind Professor Moriarty. Harry Potter had “The Dark Lord” – Voldemort. And there was Morbius the Living Vampire in Spider-Man. Doctor Who also had a Morbius. King Arthur was betrayed by Mordred. There was the evil genius of “The Island of Dr. Moreau” by H.G. Wells.

What’s up with the syllable “mor” – and why does it sound so creepy?

James Harbeck is a writer based in Toronto and author of the book “Songs of Love and Grammar”. He also wrote about the sinister-sounding “mor” for The Week.