Chapter 7: The Slug Club
The 'Slug Club' is a circle of students collected by Horace Slughorn (see Chapter 4). It is an exclusive little coterie as Professor Slughorn prefers to hobnob with well-connected students or students likely to do well in their later careers. The name derives from the first part of Slughorn's surname, 'Slug', which also happens to refer to a slimy wormlike gastropod, like a snail without a shell, that comes out at night to feed.
Although Slughorn himself uses the name 'Slug Club' affectionately, it doesn't sound particularly flattering. The name conjures up a picture of Slughorn as a large fat slug, or of the members as being slug-like, with connotations of sliminess or 'despicable, morally reprehensible'. There is also a connection with 'sluggard'.
A more detailed discussion of how this pun is treated (along with a grading of 'Pass' or 'Fail') is found at Slughorn, Slug Club, Sluggish.
As I have mentioned elsewhere, the word for 'club' is a convoluted borrowing. It appears originally to have been a Japanese attempt to render the English word 'club' in Chinese characters, as 倶楽部, pronounced kurabu. It was then borrowed into Chinese as 俱樂部 / 俱乐部 jùlèbù. Vietnamese borrowed this, presumably when Vietnamese still used Chinese characters, as câu lạc bộ. Japanese seldom uses 倶楽部 nowadays, preferring katakana クラブ kurabu.
(Detailed notes on the chapter can be found at Harry Potter Lexicon)
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