11 Awesome Hungarian Words That Will Change The Way You Look At The World

“As many languages you know, as many times you are a human being.”
Tomas Garrigue Masaryk

There is a unique and exciting culture behind every single language of the universe. And learning a foreign language opens up doors to new worlds full of opportunities – and well, surprises.

I am not sure if you have ever had the same impression but when I speak a different language, I will often feel like a different person. What is the reason behind this? I guess it is simply the fact that every language has it’s own logic, it’s own expressions and it’s own words that are not always directly translatable to other languages.

As many of you may already know (or have noticed), English is not my mother tongue. I was born in Budapest, the capital of Hungary – and well, I come from an extremely multicultural background (that’s why I speak multiple languages) but my native language is Hungarian.

And as I have mainly been talking about my OCD for the last few months (well, I guess that’s why I started this blog), I thought it was time to write about something else – just to make my blog a little bit more “diverse”. So, I was like “why not sharing a few fun facts about Hungarian language with my readers”.

Hungarian is not as widely spoken as English and I guess it’s probably a language that most of you will never start learning. BUT – it does have a huge vocabulary of words that describe different feelings and emotions. Some of these words are untranslatable to English, others are just pretty interesting and can help you look at things from a different perspective.

So, let’s take a look at the list….

1. Elvágyódás = The Desire To Get Away From Where You Currently Are

Do you sometimes have the desire to get away from where you are?

There are moments when you just want to escape from your current reality and you just want to be somewhere else. And by saying that, I do not necessarily mean travelling. Elvágyódás is more like a melancholic longing for another place or time that is far away from your reality.

2. Hiányérzet = The Feeling That Something Is Missing

Now this is a feeling that I am pretty sure all of us have had. Just think about the last time you were packing your luggage for your next trip and you suddenly had the feeling that something was missing. Something that you couldn’t name because you just did not know what it was but you just felt that it was missing.

Or another example is when you watch a movie and you feel that something was just missing from it. Like when the movie itself is not bad but you just have the impression that it’s not…complete. Or the same applies to relationships, when you like your partner but you feel that something you cannot name is missing from your relationship.

3. Egészség = Health (lit. “Wholenessness”)

As you can see “egészség” is a word that is easily translatable to English.

Why is it still on this list? Because of the logic behind the word itself – if we wanted to do a word-by-word translation of it, it would literary mean “wholeness” (“egész” = “whole” , “ség” = “ness”). And I think this makes a lot of sense – like if you think about it, when you are not healthy, you will not feel like a “whole person”.

4. Kétségbeesés = Despair (lit. “Fallen into doubt”)

Doubt is a terrible feeling that can easily turn your life into a living nightmare. So, no wonder why the Hungarian word for despair is “kétségbeesés” which literary means a situation in which you have fallen into doubt. I particularly like this word because I think it is very descriptive and when I hear it, I will always imagine a person fallen into a dark pond that’s full of doubt and despair.

5. Káröröm = Happiness Obtained From The Misery Of Others

Source: Marija Tiurina

Have you ever felt secretly happy for witnessing or learning about the troubles, failures or misery of others?
Well, it is definitely not a noble feeling but apparently a lots of Hungarians felt the same, so we created our own word to describe it: káröröm (lit. damage-joy).

And my nation did not only come up with a word that describes this feeling but we also have a proverb that says “The greatest joy is “damage-joy” – meaning the greatest happiness is when you see others (usually your enemies) suffering. It is nice, is it not?

Interesting fact: this word also exists in German and it could be translated as “Schadenfreude”.

6. Borúlátó = Pessimist (lit. A person who always thinks that the sky is cloudy)

I personally love rainy weather – I just enjoy reading a good novel while listening to the sounds of raindrops on my window. So, I have never been able to fully understand why many people associate a cloudy sky with pessimism. However, in Hungarian there’s a word for “pessimist” that literary means a person who always thinks (lit. sees) that the sky is full of clouds.

7. Nebáncsvirág = A Person Who’s Extremely Easily Offended (lit. Hurt-Me-Not-Flower)

My personal opinion is that this is not a very nice word – like some of us are more easily offended than others and I think it’s a perfectly normal thing as everyone has their own personality. But in my native language, we actually have a word to describe to describe a person who gets offended very easily – and it is nebáncsvirág, which literary means “hurt-me-not-flower”.

8. Önfeledt = Carefree (lit. Self-Forgotten)

When you feel carefree and happy, you will not care about what other people think. You just forget about yourself – and that’s the feeling that the Hungarian word “önfeledt” describes: those moments when all you do is having fun without worrying too much about what others think about you.

9. Odaadás = Devotion (lit. Giving All Of Yourself To Someone Else)

Odaadás (the closest translation of this word is “devotion”) describes the loyalty to someone, the feeling when you would give all of yourself to another person without getting anything in return. Or it can also mean extreme dedication to your work (when you work with devotion).

10. Kiborulni = Freaking Out/ Losing It (lit. Spilling Out)

Accidentally spilling your drink on your clothes can totally ruin your night out on the town. So, no wonder why the Hungarian word for “freaking out” literary means “spilling (out)” – I mean, let’s admit, I too would freak out if I spilled wine on my favorite pair of jeans. But I guess this is most probably not the origin of the word but it has more to do with the feeling that you have when you just have to let your emotions out (spill them).

11. Pihentagyú = A Person Who Has A Very Lame Sense Of Humor (lit. Someone With A “Well-Rested Brain”)

Do you know anyone with a weird sense of humor? Do you have a friend who just loves sending you terrible puns at midnight and who never seems to get tired of it?

Well, I can give you the right word for such people: pihentagyú – which basically means a person with a relaxed, “well-rested” brain. And no offense really, because I am proud to tell you that I am one of those people who often get called “pihentagyú” (I have a very particular sense of humor).

Share Your Thoughts!

Languages are just simply fascinating as they help you expand your mind and see things from a different perspective. I really hope you have found this post interesting – even though it’s a little bit different from the ones I normally publish.

And please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section. Is there any expression on this list that you particularly liked – and if yes, why? And if you speak any other language than English, please share a few exciting facts about your (native/second) language in the comment section! 🙂

Further Reading

Hugs ❤

Mark

19 thoughts on “11 Awesome Hungarian Words That Will Change The Way You Look At The World

  1. A fascinating post, Mark. Thanks for sharing.
    I am familiar with the word Schadenfreude. I wonder why more languages don’t have a specific word for this unfortunate emotion.. 🤗🌷

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Sally 🙂 thank you – I am glad you found it interesting ❤

      Well, honestly it did surprise me when I learnt that not all languages had a word for this emotion.

      Maybe it has to do something with a nation's culture like who knows – maybe Hungarian and German people get this feeling more often than others do – would be nice to see a research on that.

      Where did you learn German?

      Cheers

      Mark

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I like the words you picked. Elvágyódás doesn’t have a translation in Dutch but it seems so right for a certain feeling that I’m quite familiar with. Hiányérzet seems to be just right; it describes ‘that’ feeling. Good to have a word to pinpoint something that is missing! And Egészség must be to most wise one. Fun post!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am glad you liked the words 🙂
      Yeah – Elvágyódás is one of my favorite words cause I have this feeling so often.
      And well, same with Hiányérzet – especially when I am at the airport, I will always have the impression that….I just forgot something but I don’t know what.
      Do you have any untranslatable words/ unique expressions in Dutch?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ‘gezellig’ which means something like cozy but not quite. Gezellig is an atmosphere. When you go out for drinks ‘gezellig’. When you’re cosy at home ‘gezellig’. When something is not fun/scary ‘niet gezellig’.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the idea of having a single word to describe the feeling that something is “missing”. I remember a friend who spoke a Welsh Gaelic language talked of a hearith ( pronounced hear-eyeth) to describe the feeling of attachment for a place and wanting to be there especially when far away from that place.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes! One word for this feeling is very useful indeed 🙂
      “Hearith” does sound very beautiful and it’s very nice to have a word for the feeling it describes because I guess most of us gets this feeling from time to time. Thank you for sharing this! 🙂

      Mark

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes – actually that’s right, the meaning of gloating is indeed pretty close to Káröröm.
      I love the logic behind “balat-sibuyas” , it is really descriptive!
      May be a stupid question, but these words are in Tagalog, right?

      Thanks for sharing them! 🙂

      Cheers

      Mark

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi there 🙂

        Wow 200 dialects – that is a lot. I have wanted to learn Tagalog ever since I became addicted to your cuisine – or to be more specific, when I fell in love with Halo halo 😀 (and well, obviously not because of that but the Philippines is also a very beautiful country but never actually got the chance to visit it :()

        Blessings ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ohhhh… halu-halo 🍨😊 One day you’ll visit the country (in the summer and at a more peaceful time)–skip Manila and go straight to the provinces with white sand beaches and snorkeling/diving/surfing sites 🌊🌴☀ Say “Kumusta” for “How are you”, “Salamat” for “Thank you” and “Walang anuman” for “Welcome” but they all speak English anyway, lol.

        Hungary has always been at the top of my list for countries to visit, so am really happy that I got to do it before the previous year ended. Your country is soooo GRAND!!!! 😍 But once is not enough, I would need to stay for a year or two, just to explore Budapest alone, and to learn the language too 😉 Cheers! 🍻

        Liked by 1 person

      3. haha yes ❤ halo halo is simply amazing. I will never forget the first day I tried it. It was a pretty funny story 'cause it happened on my first trip to London and at that time I did not use to know what it tasted like – I just loved the way it looked in pictures and I wanted to make sure that I wouldn't miss the chance trying it so I called a Filipino restaurant while still in Hungary to check with them if they'd have some halo halo for us. (I was like…calling from Hungary, gonna be in London next week. will u have halo halo?) now…i can tell you they were laughing at us when we arrived to the place haha 😀

        Salamat for the words! 🙂 Nice to know a few words in the local language even if everyone speaks English :)))

        Ohh glad to hear that you enjoyed your stay in Budapest ❤ And I agree with you – once is definitely not enough so you should come back once this whole crisis is over! 🙂 Would you also like to learn the language? :O

        Cheers,

        Mark

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Really? Lol, that’s funny–other things aside, going to London from Hungary to have halu-halo, lol. You’re cool! 🍨😎

        Yes, someday I hope to be in Budapest again (for a longer time). When I do, I hope to learn the language. I’ve learnt a couple of European languages ages ago, but as I haven’t been speaking them, I just forgot 😦

        Wishing you a blessed weekend, Mark. Keep well, and stay safe 🍀🌿☀🌊🌴

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Apologies for the late replyyy :$ (Lot of things going on haha)

        Haha thank you! Well… halo halo was not the only reason why I went to London but it was one of the main reasons to be honest 😀 And the start of an addiction….the only problem is that it’s very difficult to find halo halo in Hungary 😦 and even the ingredients. So I normally have mais con yelo ’cause it’s much easier to prepare.

        Which European languages have you learnt? 🙂

        Wish you a lovely evening & stay safe ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Hey–thanks for giving me the idea for maize con hielo, lol, I might try that some time. 🍧

        I learnt Spanish–for the language course elective in school (4.5hrs/week for 2 years), lol. I did German as well for one term (half a year), but didn’t finish that one (long story).

        I won’t be quick to reply either soon as I’d be getting back into my pre-pandemic routine. So here’s a gift 🎁 before I get busy again–pronouns in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd person in both singular and plural forms: Ako, Ikaw, Siya = I, You, He/She; Tayo, Kayo, Sila = We, You, Them 👍😉 Take care!

        Like

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