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What is a misty fug?

Calling all young wizards! I picked up a copy of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince a couple days ago, and I haven’t had a lot of time to get far into the story, but I am intrigued by something that Harry Potter is described as doing while sleeping next to his bedroom window. At the beginning of chapter 3, the book says that Potter makes a “misty fug” on the window pane:

“The misty fug his breath had left on the window sparkled in the orange glare of the streetlamp outside, and the artificial light drained his face of all color, so that he looked ghostly beneath his shock of untidy black hair.”

Now, at first, I thought that this phrase was an editing mistake. I thought that J. K. Rowling meant to write about a “misty fog”. But, then, that would be kind of repetitive, wouldn’t it? I mean, is there a kind of fog that is not misty? It didn’t make any sense to me. I quickly grew resentful. How could what may soon prove to be the most popular book of all time be allowed to run through such a sloppy editing process as to overlook such an obvious mistake?

This afternoon, however, I did a Google search on the phrase “misty fug”. I was surprised to find several web pages that use the phrase. Most of these web pages seem to be British. I can only conclude that a misty fug is something uniquely of the United Kingdom, perhaps a magical artifact of some kind.

If you’re an inhabitant of the British Isles, a professor of linguistics, or an anglophile of some sort, I am begging you for help. Please don’t leave me in the dark. Tell me know what a misty fug is, and spread the word, so that the literary reputations of J.K. Rowling and her editors are not unjustifiably besmirched.

11 thoughts on “What is a misty fug?”

  1. Jim says:

    Perhaps Misty Fug is a woman Harry Potter knows.

  2. Sarge says:

    Breath on a mirror, or on a window, the condensation is called a “fug”. In the part of the world I reside in the word discribes the humid, hot, enervating weather we’re experiencing now. Soon I must step out of my comfy house into the “fug”.

  3. Sarge says:

    Found it in “The Joy of Lex” which while elderly is still a useful book.

  4. J. Clifford says:

    Webster’s thick dictionary includes the word “fug” as a term that is used by the British to describe “stuffy air in a room etc. when overheated and full of stale breath and tobacco smoke [origin unknown]”

    I have to admit that I’m surprised. It looked like a typo to me. Well, now I think I’ll start incorporating the word fug into my vocabulary, conspicuously talking about how much I wish my office was not quite so fuggy.

    A fuggy day in Londontown?

  5. MK says:

    Oh, I caught a case of the Misty Fug once. Trust me, you don’t want it.

  6. Tatiana says:

    I thought it was a typo too. I’ve never heard anything called fug. It’s an interesting word.

  7. Sarge says:

    Showing my age again, there was a musical (well, I GUESS it was music) group back in the sixties called The Fuggs. Their lyrics would have distressed Tipper Gore, I fear.

  8. HareTrinity says:

    Oh, hey… Read that today. Was also confused, but concluded from the context (and its obvious placing) that it must just be some word I’ve not heard of that means…

    Condensation from breath on glass or such. Now Sarge has confirmed that, I have the strange urge to use that word in public…

    Sounds like another writing essay; find a use for the word “fug” in a likely sentence.

  9. Angela says:

    Wouldn’t you like to lick MY misty fug? Faaaaaabulous! Hic!

  10. Maureen says:

    I do like all the other answers better – but really, it’s just a typo.

    1. Anonymous says:

      No it’s not

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