Every nation has culture- and language-specific words that do not have a direct translation in other languages, and many of these expressions are part of the daily vernacular. We collected some Hungarian words that do not have exact English equivalents and provided the translation of the overall meaning to bring Hungarian closer to you.

Let us know if you are familiar with the English equivalent of any of the following expressions or you can complement our list with other words.

1. aranyh铆d (n.) [蓱r蓱刹hi藧d] 鈥済olden bridge鈥
meaning: the glistening reflection of the setting sun on the surface of the lake or ocean

2. b谩ty/枚cs, n艖v茅r/h煤g (n.) [b蓱藧/蓹t蕛, n蓽藧ve藧r/hu藧g]
meaning: older/younger brother, older/younger sister
in Hungarian, we have separate words for older and younger siblings depending on their gender

3. h谩ryj谩nos (n.) [h蓱藧rij蓱藧n蓲蕛]
meaning: a person boasting with fictional or exaggerated deeds
a common noun derived from the name H谩ry J谩nos, a character in a Hungarian folk opera

4. h谩zis谩rk谩ny (n.) [h蓱藧zi蕛蓱藧rk蓱藧刹] 鈥渄omestic dragon鈥
meaning: an ill-tempered, nagging, and constantly dissatisfied housewife
the English word with the closest meaning is probably 鈥榮hrew鈥

5. k谩r枚r枚m (n.) [k蓱藧r蓹r蓹m] 鈥渟chadenfreude鈥
meaning: malicious enjoyment derived from observing someone else鈥檚 misfortune, usually accompanied by envy

6. neb谩ncsvir谩g (n.) [n蓻b蓱藧nt蕛vir蓱藧g] 鈥渉urt-me-not flower鈥
meaning: a super-sensitive person, someone who is easily offended

7. vil谩gf谩jdalom (n. with German origin) [vil蓱藧gf蓱藧jd蓱l蓲m] 鈥渨orld pain鈥
meaning: a peculiar, pessimistic concept of the world, according to which we seek happiness in the world but can never find it; German 鈥榃eltschmerz鈥
鈥淚t signifies a mood of weariness or sadness about life arising from the acute awareness of evil and suffering.鈥 (Beiser, Frederick C. (2016). Weltschmerz: Pessimism in German Philosophy, 1860-1900)

8. irgum-burgum (interjection) [irg蕣m-b蕣rg蕣m]
meaning: it indicates feigned or playful anger, often addressed to children

9. tutyimutyi (n. and adj.) [t蕣tjim蕣tji]
meaning: a weak-willed, helpless, or wimpy person, someone with little physical strength

(8. and 9. are playful expressions similar to the English 鈥榠tsy-bitsy鈥 or 鈥榣ickety-split鈥)

10. mad谩rl谩tta (adj.) [mad蓱藧rl蓱藧t藧蓱] 鈥渟een by birds鈥
meaning: originally, it referred to the food a shepherd or farmer brought home when he returned from the field; leftover food

11. kolb谩szol (slang v.) [k蓲lb蓱藧s蓲l] 鈥渢o sausage around鈥
meaning: to loiter, walk, or wander aimlessly

12. piszmog (v.) [pism蓲g]
meaning: to do something small, meticulous, or tedious that takes a long time but does not have a real purpose

13. sz枚szm枚t枚l (v.) [s蓹sm蓹t蓹l]
meaning: to fidget with something, do something slowly and meticulously

the meaning of these expressions (10. and 11.) are quite similar, but in the case of 鈥榮z枚szm枚t枚l鈥, someone is doing something unimportant usually without being aware that it does not have a purpose

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Read alsoCovidinka, Hungarian for covidiot 鈥 Here is the dictionary of the COVID-19 pandemic

Featured image: bokik.hu

Source: Daily News Hungary

7 comments
  1. A few do have an english word, like 鈥榟谩ryj谩nos鈥 is 鈥榤ythomaniac鈥, 鈥榥eb谩ncsvirag鈥 is 鈥榯ouchy鈥, 鈥榢谩r枚m鈥 is 鈥榮chadenfreude鈥 as indicated above, 鈥榟谩zis谩rk谩ny鈥 can be 鈥榝ishwife鈥檕r 鈥榟arridan鈥 or 鈥榯ermagant鈥 and the list goes on. It is wise to remember that the English language has a lot more words that the Hungarian language.

  2. Paulus, nonsense. Hungarian has far more words and because it is agglutinative new words can be continually formed from a root word, noun or verb. It is also a richer vocabulary and thousands of years older.

  3. #Edward: I am afraid it is your opinion that is nonsense. Hungarian, in common with Englush is a mish mash of other languages so they did not have a 鈥榯ime鈥 when they started – the people living in the British Isles were not mute, they had a language which developed, so Hungarian cannot be called older. Secondly, English has numerous new words added each year, it is not a static language so agglutination is irrelevant. As for a 鈥榬icher鈥 vocabulary, define 鈥榬icher鈥. A close friend here in Budapest is a Hungarian famous Professor of Linguistics and upon reading your comment above, agreed that you are incorrect.

  4. For what it鈥檚 worth, English does have agglutinative words – shame-less-ness and hope-less-ness being 2 examples, derived from an agglutinated plural marker -(e)s.

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