An Introduction to the Hungarian Language in 12 Phrases

Learning hungarian
Learning hungarian | Pixabay
Alex Mackintosh

The Hungarian language is challenging at the best of times, with a reputation as one of the most difficult languages to learn in the world. Getting to know its idioms is a great place to start if you want to surprise someone with your knowledge of local phrases: check out these expressions which will help you on your way to total fluency!

Örül, mint majom a farkának

Translation: To be as happy as a monkey about its tail
Meaning: In Hungary, if you’re extremely happy about something then this is the expression you’d say – equivalent to the English idiom, to jump for joy.


Miért itatod az egereket

A water droplet

Annyit ér, mint halottnak a csók

Translation: It’s worth as much as a kiss is to a dead person
Meaning: A phrase used to say that something is simply not worth the effort and won’t be appreciated.

Apád nem volt üveges!

Translation: Your dad wasn’t a glassmaker!
Meaning: If you want to tell someone they’re in your line of vision and are blocking your view, this is the phrase to say (and probably gets a lot of use come festival season!).

Murano Glass Workshop

Majd ha piros hó esik!

Translation: When red snow falls!
Meaning: As red snow is more or less impossible, this expression is the same as saying ‘when pigs fly!’ in English and suggests that whatever it is that’s being spoken of is probably never going to happen.

Flying Pig

Kutyaból nem lesz szalonna

Translation: You can’t make bacon out of a dog
Meaning: Used to suggest that a person can’t change their ways, in English the equivalent would be ‘once a thief, always a thief’. The idea is that just as it’s impossible to make bacon out of a dog, so it’s impossible for the person in question to change.

Nem kolbászból van a kerítés

Translation: The fence is not made from sausage
Meaning: This one depends on your views of sausage, but means that something may not live up to expectations.


Aki kíváncsi, hamar megöregszik

Translation: If you’re too curious, you’ll get old quickly
Meaning: A warning not to be too curious, just as in English the expression ‘curiosity killed the cat’ tells us not to be too inquisitive.

Egyik kutya, másik eb

Translation: One is a dog, the other is a hound
Meaning: This expression refers to two things which are more or less the same.


Eső után köpönyeg

Translation: After the rain comes the raincoat
Meaning: An expression used to refer to the gift of hindsight: a good idea which only occurs after the fact, just like wearing a raincoat once it’s stopped raining!


Ez nem az én asztalom

Translation: This is not my table
Meaning: In Hungarian if you say something is not your table, this means it isn’t your area of expertise – or your responsibility.


Ha lúd, legyen kövér

Translation: If it’s a goose, it should be fat
Meaning: In essence: if you’re going to do something, you should do it properly! This phrase is said to tell someone to do whatever it is they’re doing to the fullest.

Snow Goose
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article