The Hungarian language is wonderful. It has many unusual expressions and irregularities, as well as a rich vocabulary. All this makes it one of the most difficult languages to learn. We would like to back up this claim with the following article, which presents a number of interesting Hungarian idioms.
1. As one makes his bed, so he sleeps his dream — Ki mint veti ágyát, úgy alussza álmát
The English equivalent would be: you make the bed you lie in. The meaning of this saying is that you can make your fate. If you make the bed good, you will have good dreams. So, if you work and put in the effort, you can achieve anything.
2. Backwards with the greyhounds — Hátrább az agarakkal
The meaning of this is to hold back. But it is not a threat, it is more a piece of advice.
3. The stake of the play is not beans — Nem babra megy a játék
The stakes are high. So, there is a serious risk in what we do. The origin of the saying is that in the old days, in various card and dice games, the bets were not in money but in beans. When the game was not played for beans, the stakes were money instead of beans.
4. The owl tells the sparrow that her head is big — Bagoly mondja verébnek, hogy nagyfejű
Imagine this situation. One person mocks another person for something, but that person is even more guilty of it.
5. He swallows the frog — Lenyeli a békát
That is, he puts up with something and endures it. In English, the expression ‘he swallows the bitter pill’ is used.
This probably needs no explanation. Alcohol makes it easy to make bad decisions.
7. Even a mother cannot understand the words of a mute child — Néma gyereknek az anyja sem ért a szavát
This proverb highlights the importance of communication. Because if we do not say what we want, the other person cannot help us.
8. Each should sweep before his own house — Mindenki a maga háza előtt söpörjön
Everyone should mind their own business. Instead of interfering in other people’s lives, let’s first see what we can improve in our own lives.
9. Have a close look at the mother and then marry her daughter — Nézd meg az anyját, vedd el a lányát
There are two interpretations of this. On the one hand, if you look at the mother, you can see how she will look when she is older. On the other hand, you can often see the mother’s inner qualities in her daughter.
10. He who works has no time to earn money — Aki dolgozik, az nem ér rá pénzt keresni
If a job is hard and pays little, then one cannot earn additionally in a second job.
10+1 He is the kid of our dog — A mi kutyánk kölyke
A child of somebody related to the speaker, who was granted – or will be granted – preferential treatment at the expense of outsiders. Among others, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán used this phrase. In 2018, during the Croatian–French World Cup final, Orbán said that “Croatian football is the kid of our dog.”