Several Tintin Books

The pen name of Georges Remi, author and illustrator of Tintin. Remi, a Belgian, reversed his initials and turned their French pronunciation into a pen name. Pronounced (in American English) Air Zhay (RG). Hergé’s self portrait appears in crowd scenes in a number of books, along with portraits of his wife and some associates.

Example include King Ottokar’s Sceptre, pages 37 and 59; Tintin in the Congo, page 1, frame 1; The Calculus Affair, page 15 frame 8 (at the bottom, next to the tent, smoking and taking notes).


Many Tintin adventures

castle (Spanish)
See Alexander Deubelbeiss’s explanation of the etymology.

Chief Avakuki

The Broken Ear

Have a cookie!

Professor Alembick

King Ottokar’s Sceptre

alembic: a vessel with a beaked cap or head, formerly used in distilling

Baron Almaszout

King Ottokar’s Sceptre

almost out (Bianca Castafiore calls him Halmaszout in The Castafiore Emerald.)

Sheik Bab El Ehr

Land of Black Gold, The Red Sea Sharks (in a newspaper)

babbler, one who babbles
Also note the bird, the Arabian Babbler (Turdoides squamiceps).

Jacob Balthazar

The Broken Ear

Balthazar: one of the three Magi, a wine bottle holding 13 quarts, a male given name

Ali Bhai

Tintin’s alias in Cigars of the Pharaoh

alibi: the legal defense of having been elsewhere at the time a crime was committed

Shifat Ahmed Adnan, of Bangladesh, informs us that “Bhai” means brother, and is used in Bengali, Hindi and Urdu (maybe in Arabic too) as an honorific. “Ali” is, of course, a common given name.

James Biddup & Co.

Red Rackham’s Treasure

bid up
Auctioneers selling Marlinspike Hall

Max and G. Bird

The Secret of the Unicorn (Max Bird is mentioned in Red Rackham’s Treasure.)

bird: any warm-blooded vertebrate of the class Aves
The Bird brothers were criminal antique dealers.

The Well of Bir Kegg

Land of Black Gold

beer keg


The Shooting Star

bollewinkel: in Brussels dialect, a local confectioner’s shop


The Castafiore Emerald

bolt: a bar or rod that fastens a door or gate; any strong rod, pin or screw for fastening two parts together, usually threaded to receive a nut

Mr. Bolt is the handyman who spends most of The Castafiore Emerald not fixing Captain Haddock’s broken marble stair.

Bounce Bros. Removals


The Castafiore Emerald

A moving company that delivers Signora Castafiore’s piano. We can only hope they treat furniture better than their name suggests.


The Secret of The Unicorn

The Bird brothers’ dog, named after Marcus Junius Brutus, one of the assassins of Julius Caesar

Cuthbert Calculus

Professor Calculus first appears in Red Rackham’s Treasure.

Saint Cuthbert, 635-687, an English monk and bishop

calculus: a method of calculation, especially one of several highly systematic methods of treating problems by a special system of algebraic notations, as differential or integral calculus

After his introduction in Red Rackham’s Treasure, Calculus becomes one of the four most important characters in the Adventures, along with Tintin, Snowy and Captain Haddock. According to the Hergé Foundation official site, Calculus is based on Augute Piccard, inventor of the bathyscaphe and a professor at Brussels University in the 1930s and 1940s.

Bianca Castafiore

Many Tintin Adventures

Bianca: Italian, white

Castafiore: Italian, chaste flower

(based on Italian-to-English dictionary)


The Blue Lotus, Tintin in Tibet

The name Chang carries no funny meaning, but it’s notable nonetheless. Chang Chong-Chen was not a name made up for the boy introduced in The Blue Lotus; it was the name of a real Chinese student at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. Hergé consulted the real Chang while researching The Blue Lotus. Not only did this consultation inform The Blue Lotus, it changed Hergé’s work forever. All subsequent stories are well researched and therefore more accurate.
Chang did the Chinese calligraphy in The Blue Lotus, and many of the signs carry political messages appropriate to the events unfolding in China and more or less accurately depicted in The Blue Lotus.

In the beginning of Tintin in Tibet, at the Hotel des Sommets, Tintin shouts “Chang!” when he has a nightmare about Chang and again the next morning when he reads Chang’s letter. Later another hotel guest reprimands her Pekinese dog named Chang. Finally a hotel housekeeper makes the sound “Chang” when she sneezes twice.

The River Coliflor

A river in San Theodoros


E. Cutts

Several Tintin Adventures

The butcher in Marlinspike village, [’e cuts (meat)]

di Gorgonzola

The Red Sea Sharks and others

gorgonzola: A strongly flavored, semisoft variety of Italian milk cheese, veined with mold.

According to The Emir Ben Kalish Ezab, di Gorgonzola is an international crook, a shipping magnate, newspaper proprietor, radio, television and cinema tycoon, air-line king (the owner of Arabair), dealer in pearls, gun-runner, trafficker in slaves and the man who helped put Bab El Ehr in power. He appears, often as Rastapopoulos, in several Tintin adventures.

The Djelababi Tribe

Cigars of the Pharaoh

jelly baby (similar to the American gummy bear, but shaped like a human), also similar in sound to djelabah, a loose-fitting hooded gown worn by men in North Africa


A corporal in Cigars of the Pharaoh who recruits Tintin.

been done

The Maharaja of Gaipajama

Cigars of the Pharaoh, The Blue Lotus

gay pajama


The Blue Lotus

gibbon: the smallest of the great apes
See, for example, Hylobates lar
Gibbons is, of course, a common English name.

Samuel Goldbarr

The Broken Ear gold bar, a bar of gold

Captain Haddock

All Tintin adventures after his first appearance in The Crab with the Golden Claws

Captain Haddock adds more than any other character to the vocabulary of the books.

haddock: a North Atlantic food fish of the cod family, Melanogrammus aeglefinus

Hasch Abaibabi

The location of the emir’s castle in Land of Black Gold

hush a bye baby


The location of the pyramid near San Theodoros in Tintin and the Picaros

hot water bottle


The Castafiore Emerald

Iago is the parrot Bianca Castafiore gives to Captain Haddock.

Iago is also the villain in Shakespeare’s Othello. Iago is so pathological in Othello, it seems unfair to brand the poor parrot with the name.

The origins of “Alcazar”
By Alexander Deubelbeiss
Alcazar is the name of a revolutionary Central American Head of State. As you probably know, alcazar is also a Spanish word for an Arab-style castle, such as exist in the south of Spain. The word itself is a Spanish adaptation of the Arabic word for “castle.”
What I first heard about today, in a historical linguistics class, is the origin of that Arabic word: it is not an Arab by birth, but comes from the Latin word “castru” (in classical Latin it’s actually “castra,” the version with "u" is later and spoken language). Now the Latin word “castru” has entered the Spanish language in another, more direct way: there is the word “castro,” which according to my dictionary, is a type of Celtic fortified village. But “Castro” also happens to be the name of a revolutionary Central American Head of State...