You seemed to like our previous article about some interesting English and Hungarian word pairs that are pronounced the same or in a similar manner. Despite the coincidental similarity, these expressions do not have a common etymological origin, the same word form, or meaning. Based on your suggestions, we have complemented our list with 32 additional pairs.

bale [beɪl] (ENG) – bél [beːl] (HUN)
meaning1: bowels, intestines
meaning2: kernel (of nuts)

beer [bɪə/bɪr] (ENG) – bír [biːr] (HUN)
meaning: to be able to carry something

bent (past tense of ‘bend’)[sɛnt] (ENG) – bent [bɛnt] (HUN)
meaning: inside, within

cane [keɪn] (ENG) – kén [keːn] (HUN)
meaning: sulphur

case [keɪs] (ENG) − kész [keːs] (HUN)
meaning: complete, ready, finished

cheek [ʧiːk] (ENG) – csík [ʧiːk] (HUN)
meaning: band, stripe

coot [kuːt] (ENG) − kút [kuːt] (HUN)
meaning: well

fail [feɪl] (ENG) – fél [feːl] (HUN)
meaning1: half (of something)
meaning2: to be afraid, to fear something or somebody

fame [feɪm] (ENG) – fém [feːm] (HUN)
meaning: metal

fog [fɒg] (ENG) – fog [fɒg] (HUN)
meaning1: to catch (e.g. fish), grasp, hold
meaning2: shall (auxiliary)
meaning3: tooth

hay [heɪ] (ENG) – héj [heːj] (HUN)
meaning: peel(ings), skin

hate [heɪt] (ENG) – hét [heːt] (HUN)
meaning1: seven
meaning2: week

hit [hɪt] (ENG) – hit [hit] (HUN)
meaning: belief, faith, trust

Kate [Keɪt] (ENG) – két [keːt] (HUN) (modified form of ‘kettő’ [kɛtːøː])
meaning: two

law [lɔː] (ENG) –[lɔː] (HUN)
meaning: horse

lent (past tense of ‘lend’)[lɛnt] (ENG) –  lent [lɛnt] (HUN)
meaning: below, down

less [lɛs] (ENG) – lesz [lɛs] (HUN)
meaning: will be

mane [meɪn] (ENG) – mén [meːn] (HUN)
meaning: stallion

may [meɪ] (ENG) – mély [meːj] (HUN)
meaning: deep

mint [mɪnt] (ENG) – mint [mint] (HUN)
meaning: as, like

old [əʊld] (ENG) – old [ɒld] (HUN)
meaning1: to dissolve, melt
meaning2: to undo, untie (e.g. a knot)

raise [reɪz] (ENG) – réz [reːz] (HUN)
meaning: brass, copper

rave [reɪv] (ENG) – rév [reːv] (HUN)
meaning: ferry(boat), harbour

Sam [sæm] (ENG) – szem [sɛm] (HUN)
meaning1: eye
meaning2: grain (e.g. of sand)

sent (past tense of ‘send’)[sɛnt] (ENG) – szent [sɛnt] (HUN)
meaning: holy, sacred, saint

sieve [sɪv] (ENG) – szív [siːv] (HUN)
meaning1: heart
meaning2: to breathe in, inhale, suck

sole [səʊl] (ENG) – szól [sɔːl] (HUN)
meaning: to speak, say something

sore [sɔː(r)] (ENG) – szór [sɔːr] (HUN)
meaning: to sprinkle, scatter, spread

tale [teɪl] (ENG) – tél [teːl] (HUN)
meaning: winter

toll [təʊl] (ENG) – tol [tɒl] (HUN)
meaning: to push

tool [tuːl] (ENG) – túl [tuːl] (HUN)
meaning1: beyond, over
meaning2: excessively, too

Why? [waɪ] (ENG) – váj [vɑːj] (HUN)
meaning: to hollow (out), scoop, deepen

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Source: Daily News Hungary

5 comments
  1. how about where the meanings are kind of the same – creates some questions

    house – ház
    noise – nesz
    ware – áru
    spotty – pöttyös
    brown ü barna
    foot – fut (run)
    sing – zeng (even the -ing ending meaning continuous motion)
    poor – pór
    cough – köhög
    add – ad as in hozzáad
    all – álló (nap)
    petty – piti
    cock – kakas

    these come to mind, but there are many more

  2. Hmm. Some do not sound the same such as cane/kén, because the ‘e’ is pronounced as an ő at the end of cane. But the one that is totally wrong is why/váj. The ‘wh’ is NEVER pronounced as a ‘v’. It is a Digraph, 2 letters that make one sound, just like cs and zs for instance, are digraphs. in Hungarian. There is no equivalent sound to ‘wh’ that I can think of in Hungarian and most hungarians struggle with the english ‘w’ ‘wh’ and ‘th’ pronounciation. They rarely get it right.

  3. Thanks for this article.
    As an Englishman, it’s an invaluable aid to my ongoing mission to learn some Hungarian.

  4. #Paul: Hungarian is really not as difficult as is made out. Particularly if you studied Latin at school (as I did, back in the mists of time). The tricky bit, methinks, is having to conjugate verbs in a different way for the definite and the indefinite, a concept which is alien to english.

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