Talk:Hungarian proverbs

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A,Á[edit]

  • Addig jár a korsó a kútra, míg el nem törik.
    • Translation:
      • A mug keeps going to the well until it breaks eventually.
      • A jar goes to the well until shattered.
    • Interpretations:
      • You cannot do anything wrong/bad (or illegal) for a long time because sooner or later your secrets will come to light.
      • Sooner or later life will show you what you do is wrong.


  • Ágyúval lő verébre.
    • Translation:
      • Shooting sparrows with a cannon.
    • Interpretation:
      • To handle a small problem with too much theatrical or without real approach.
      • More smoke than fire.


  • Aki Á-t mond, mondjon B-t is.
    • Translation:
      • He who says A, should also say B.
    • English analogy:
      • In for a penny, in for a pound.
  • A könyvek néma mesterek
    • Translation:
      • Books are silent masters.


  • Apád nem volt üveges.
    • Your father wasn't a glazier.
    • Interpretation:
      • Step aside because I can't see through you.


  • A szükség a legnagyobb tanítómester.
    • variant: A szükség a legjobb mester
    • Translation:
      • Necessity is the greatest teacher.
  • Az orvosból lesz a legrosszabb beteg.
    • Translation:
      • Doctors make the worst patients!


  • Ajtóstul ront a házba.
    • Translation:
      • Kicking the door down on entering the house
    • Interpretation:
      • To do something without premeditation.
  • A hűség hegyeket mozgathat meg.
    • Translation:
      • Faithfulness can move mountains.


  • A szerelem vak.
    • Translation:
      • Love is blind.
    • Interpretation:
      • Being in love, one may not see the true nature of their sweetheart.


  • A szerencse forgandó.
    • Translations:
      • Luck is inconstant.
      • The wheel of fortune is ever turning.
    • Interpretation:
      • You cannot rely on your luck because it keeps changing.


  • Aki egyszer hazudni mer, több hitelt nem érdemel.
    • Translation:
      • Once you have lied you don't deserve credit.


  • A szerencsét keltegetni kell.
    • Translation:
      • Luck needs to be cultivated (nurtured).


  • Az ellentétek vonzzák egymást.
    • Translation:
      • Opposites attract each other.


  • A név kötelez.
    • Translation:
      • Nobility obliges.
    • Interpretation:
      • To keep one's family name in honor, one must keep to certain values.
      • You are obliged by the values of what you represent.


  • A szamár is akkor megy a jégre táncolni, amikor a legjobb dolga van.
    • Translation:
      • The donkey will dance on ice only if its well-being is exceptional.


  • A fuldokló még az utolsó szalmaszálba is belekapaszkodik.
    • Translation:
      • The drowning person will even hold on a piece of straw.
      • Interpretation: someone in despair may not realize that a helping hand will push him/her into an another trouble (or ultimately won't help at all).
  • A fal nem üt vissza.
    • Translation:
      • The wall will not punch back.
    • Interpretation:
      • Vent your anger without hurting anyone.


  • Aki egyszer már megégette magát, az fél a tűztől
    • Translation:
      • Who has burnt once is scared of fire.
    • Interpretation:
      • Once you experienced something bad, you will have a fear of it.
    • English analogy:


  • Aki mer, az nyer.
    • Translation:
      • He who dares, wins.
    • Interpretation:
    • No risk, no fun.


  • Azt sem tudja, hogy eszik-e vagy isszák.
    • Translation:
      • He/She has no idea about whether it should be eaten or drunk.
    • Intepretation:
      • He/She has no idea how to use it.
      • He/She has no idea about it.


  • Alkalom szüli a tolvajt.
    • Translation:
      • Opportunity makes the thief.


  • Az idő minden sebet begyógyít.
    • Translation:
      • Time heals all wounds.
    • Interpretation:
      • You will get over your bad experiences as time goes by.


  • Ahány ház, annyi szokás.
    • Translation:
      • There are as many customs as houses.
    • Interpretation:
      • Everyone has his/her own habits.


  • Amit nem tudunk az nem fáj.
    • Translation:
      • What we don't know doesn't hurt.
    • Interpretation:
      • Sometimes it's better not to listen, because the truth can hurt.


  • Aki délelőtt bolond, délután is az.
    • Translation:
      • A fool in the morning is fool in the afternoon.



  • A fehér liliomnak is lehet fekete az árnyéka.
    • Translation:
      • Even a white lily can cast a black shadow.
    • Interpretation:
      • Beauty can hide (personal, internal) ugliness.


  • Az nevet, aki utoljára nevet.
    • Translation:
      • He who laughs last, laughs best.
    • Interpretation:
      • The winner/who stay alive is the happiest (usually related to card games)


  • Az éhség a legjobb szakács.
    • Translation:
      • Hunger is the best chef.
    • Interpretation:
      • When you're hungry, you loose the pickiness which food generally you like or not.


  • Az öndicséret büdös.
    • Translation:
      • Egoism stinks.
    • Interpretation:


  • Az idő pénz.
    • Translation:
      • Time is money.
    • Interpretation:
      • Don't procrastinate.


  • Az egyik szemem sír, a másik nevet.
    • Translation:
      • One of my eyes is crying, the other one is laughing.
    • Interpretation:
      • I am half-sad, half-happy about it.


  • Akasztják a hóhért.
    • Translation:
      • The hangman is being hanged.
    • Interpretation:
      • Used when someone gets a subordinate role in a situation where usually they have the upper hand.


  • Akkor zárja be a karámot, amikor a ló már megszökött
    • He locks the stable door but the horse has escaped already
      • Interpretation: he acts too late, the trouble has already happened


  • A szomszéd fűje/kertje mindig zöldebb.'
    • Translation:
      • The grass is always greener in the neighbour's garden.
    • English analogy:
      • The grass is always greener on the other side.



  • Átesett a ló túlsó oldalára.
    • Translation:
      • He fell onto the other side of the horse.
    • Interpretation:
      • Trying to avoid a problem or situation, he overcompensated and now has the opposite problem.
      • For example: Someone was very thin and the doctor told him to eat more. He ate and ate and ate because he didn't want to get ill but he ate so much that now he is overweight.

B[edit]

  • Bagoly mondja a verébnek, hogy nagyfejű
    • Translation:
      • The owl says the sparrow big-headed.
    • English analogy:
      • The pot calls the kettle black.
  • Bajban ismerszik meg a jó barát.
    • Translation:
      • A friend in need, is a friend indeed.
  • Bal lábbal kelt fel.
    • Translation:
      • He got up putting his left foot first on the floor.
    • NOTE:
      • It is said when someone started his day in a bad mood.
  • Belead apait, anyait.
    • Translation: Gives fatherliness, motherliness into it
    • Meaning: Gives it everything he can muster.


  • Bolond likból bolond szél fúj.
    • Other version: Bolond lyukból bolond szél fúj.
    • Translation:
      • From a silly hole, a silly wind blows.
    • NOTE:
      • Usually used when the speech of the person talking to you makes no sense.
  • Bort iszik vizet prédikál
    • Translation: Drinks wine while spewing water
    • meaning: does what he says not to do
  • Boszorkányok pedig nincsenek
    • Translation:
      • The truth is that there are no witches.
  • Beszélni ezüst, hallgatni arany.
    • Translation:
      • Speech is silver; silence is golden.


  • Biztos, ami biztos.
    • Translation:
      • Sure what is sure.
    • English equivalent:
      • Just to be on the safe side.

C[edit]

Cs[edit]

  • Csak a fejét (üsd), hogy meg ne sántuljon!
    • Translation: Only hit his head so he doesn't start limping.
    • Interpretation:
      • Very satire: if two people fight, one should aim the head to cause more damage than just disable the enemy.
  • Csak az téved, aki csinál is valamit.
    • Only those can go wrong, who really do something (Only those who do something can muck it up.)
    • Interpretation:
      • It's still better do something with mistakes, than just wait for someone/something else.

D[edit]

E,É[edit]

  • Ebül szerzett jószág ebül vész el.
    • Translation: Something you stole will be also stolen from you.


  • Egy ember barátjairól ismerszik meg.
    • Translation: You can tell a man by his friends.


  • Egy fecske nem csinál nyarat. (on page)
    • There is a problem with the "meaning" part of this, as every Hungarian I've spoken to says it's closer to the idea of this URL: Hungarian sayings
  • Ennek a fele sem tréfa.
    • Translation: Not a half of it is a joke.
    • Meaning: This is not to be taken lightly.
  • Eső után köpönyeg.
    • Translation: Coat after rain.
    • Approx. "it's no use crying over spilt milk".
    • English analogy:
      • closing the stable door after the horse has bolted
  • Elefánt a porcelánboltban.
    • Elephant in a porcelain shop
    • NOTE: Describes extreme clumsiness.
    • English analogy:
      • A bull in a china shop.


  • Evés közben jön meg az étvágy.
    • Appetite comes whilst eating.
    • Interpretation:
      • Even if you don't like something to do, you probably will get to like it meanwhile


  • Egy fenékkel nem lehet két lovat megülni.
    • You can not sit on two horses with one bum.


  • Egy újabb szeg a koporsójába.
    • Another nail in his/her coffin.


  • Eszi a kefét.
    • He's eating the brush.
    • meaning: he's going through a bad patch. Or he's dealing with the consequencies of his bad decisions.


  • Ép testben ép lélek.
    • A sound mind in a sound body.
    • Interpretation:
      • The health of body makes your soul healthy too.
  • Édes a bosszú.
    • Vengeance tastes sweet.

F[edit]

  • Fejétől bűzlik a hal
    • Translation: The fish stinks from the head.
    • Meaning: If there is trouble in an organisation (moral/ethical/otherwise), chances are it started at the top.


  • Fejjel rohan a falnak.
    • Run head first into the wall
    • Meaning: Act without thinking


  • Felkötheti a gatyáját.
    • He should tie up his pants (usually referring to a belt or liederhosen)
    • Meaning: He needs all he can muster to do the job properly.
    • English analogy:
      • He ought to pull his socks up.

G[edit]

Gy[edit]

  • Gyerek és bolond mindig igazat mond.
    • A child and a fool will always tell the truth.
    • Fool is somewhat like a forgetful, innocent, slightly mad person.


  • Gyom mindenütt terem.
    • Weeds grow everywhere (In every community you'll find bad things happening or bad persons present.)


  • Gyakorlat teszi a mestert.
    • Direct translation: Practice makes the master
    • Practice makes perfect

H[edit]

  • Ha rövid a kardod, toldd meg egy lépéssel.
    • Traslation: If your sword is short, lengthen it with a step.
    • Meaning: if your tools/resources are limited, then improvise.
    • Meaning: In times of difficulty, summon up your reserved strength.


  • Ha szivárványt akarsz látni, először végig kell nézned az esőt.
    • If you want to see a rainbow you must first sit through the rain.
    • Interpretation:
      • Yin-yang, you have to go through sadness before reaching the happiness.


  • Ha nincs otthon a macska, cincognak az egerek.
    • Direct translation: If the cat's not at home, the mice will sing (make mice noise)
    • If the cat's away, the mice will play
    • Interpretation:
      • If the boss isn't home, the employees feel they can do whatever they want.
      • If the boss isn't home, the employees become bold enough to make gossips and talk about the boss behind his/her back.


  • Harapófogóval kell kihúzni belőle.
    • Have to use pliers to get it out of him (the person)
    • Note: The person in question is unwilling to go into details.


  • Hülyébb, mint a cipőmtalpa!
    • He/She is stupider than my shoe-sole.
    • Note: He/She is quite idiot.

I,Í[edit]

  • Isten útjai kifürkészhetetlenek.
    • God works in mysterious ways.

J[edit]

  • Jó kezdet, fél siker
    • Translation: Good start, half success.
    • Interpretation:
      • Preparations and a good start leads to success.


  • Jó pap holtig tanul.
    • Translation: A good priest learns till he dies.
    • Interpretation:
      • Learning is important.


  • Jó tett helyébe jót várj.
    • Translation: Expect good if you do good.


  • Jó munkához idő kell.
    • Good work needs time.
    • Interpretation:
      • If you do something in rush, the results may be bad. So just take your time to work thoroughly.


  • Jóból is megárt a sok.
    • You can have too much of a good thing


  • Jobb ma egy veréb, mint holnap egy túzok.
    • Translation: Rather a sparrow today than a bustard tomorrow.
    • English analog: A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.


  • Jobb félni, mint megijedni.
    • Translation: It's better to be afraid than to be frightened.
    • Interpretation:
      • It's better to be prepared when the storm hits the fan, than completely lose everything.


  • Jobb adni, mint kapni.
    • It's better to give than to receive

K[edit]

  • Kerülgeti, mint macska a forró kását.
    • Translation: He is circling around it like a cat around the hot porridge.
    • Meaning: this proverb is usually used to describe when someone wants something but is too afraid to say so.


  • Két legyet üt egy csapásra.
    • 2 flies with one swat
    • English counterpart: 2 birds with one stone


  • Késő bánat, eb gondolat.
    • Late regret is in vain. Meaning: There are things ( words said, events happened etc) one cannot undo/change/make it better,one just has to live with the consequences and move on.


  • Kinek a pap, kinek a papné (tetszik).
    • Translation: Some like the priest, some like the wife of the priest.
    • Meaning: One's opinion might be drastically different than someone else's. More like: One's taste is different from others' tastes.
    • It is also thought that in the original saying the word "pap" was actually a family name ( hence Mr. and Mrs. Pap)and not a priest pap.


  • Ki a kicsit nem becsüli, a nagyot nem érdemli.
    • Whoever doesn't appreciate small tokens of (appreciation/gratitude), doesn't deserve larger (appreciation/gratitude)
  • Könyökömön jön ki.
    • Translation: It is coming out of my elbow.
    • Meaning: It happened so often that it makes me bored.


  • Közös lónak túros a háta.
    • Translation: A jointly owned horse has a roughed-up back.
    • Meaning: "The tragedy of commons" - A commonly owned/used horse will be over-used and not taken care of properly.


  • Kukoricázni.
    • No direct translation, 'corn' used as a verb. Ne kukoricázz - don't hesitate
    • Meaning: "to hesitate"

L[edit]

  • Lassan járj, tovább érsz.
    • Translation: Walk slowly, you'll get further.
    • Interpretation:
      • Don't be hasty with decisions, think twice.


  • Lassú víz partot mos.
    • English analog:Still waters run deep.
    • Meaning: Persistence will be rewarded.


  • Láttam én már éjjeliőrt nappal meghalni.
    • Translation: I've already seen nightwatchmen die in broad daylight.
    • Meaning: Even if something (usually a bad thing in the sense of this proverb) is unlikely, it may still happen.


  • Legszebb öröm a káröröm.
    • Direct translation: The best joy is someone else's misfortune (schadenfreude).

Ly[edit]

M[edit]

  • Madarat tolláról, embert barátjáról.
    • Translation: You can judge a bird from it's feathers and a person from their friends
    • English analogue: Birds of a feather flock together


  • Májusi eső aranyat ér.
    • The May rain is worth gold.
    • April showers bring May flowers. The name of the month doesn't fit but the sense of the proverb is the same. The agriculture needs the rain especially in May (at least in Hungary).


  • Meghaltam és vidéken vagyok eltemetve.
    • Translation: I'm dead and buried in the countryside.
    • Meaning: I'm busy, don't disturb me.
  • Mindenhol jó, de legjobb otthon!
    • Translation: Anywhere is good, but home is best!
    • English analogue: There's no place like home.
  • Minden jó, ha jó a vége.
  • Translation: All is well that ends well.
    • Interpretation:
      • If the end is good, then it doesn't matter if meanwhile something was bad.


  • Maga alatt vágja a fát.
    • Cutting the tree right under oneself
    • Interpretation:
      • Someone makes his/her future situation worse. With or without the person's self-knowledge.


  • Minden lében két kanál.
    • Literal translation: (the person) is two spoons in all liquids
    • Meaning: "He is liable to do anything" or "He sticks his nose in everything".
    • English analogue: Have a finger in every pie.


  • Más tollával ékeskedik.
    • Using another's feather to impress
    • Interpretation:
      • When someone steals/repeats a meaningful/valuable/good thing from other and acts proudly if it was his/her own creation.
  • Minden csoda három napig tart.
    • All miracles last 3 days.
      • Meaning: Novelty always wears off eventually.
  • Minden kezdet nehéz.
    • All beginnings are hard
  • Megrágta az idő vasfoga.
    • Time's iron teeth have chewed it.
    • NOTE: Rusty, old, weathered. Description of an old/antique item

N[edit]

  • Nagyobb a füstje, mint a lángja.
    • Translation: More smoke than flame.
  • Ne ítélj, hogy ne ítéltess.
    • Translation: Don't judge if you don't want to be judged.
  • Nekem nyolc.
    • Translation: It's "eight" to me.
    • Meaning: It doesn't matter to me, I don't care.


  • Nem ijed meg a maga árnyékától.
    • Translation: He is not afraid of his own shadow.
    • Interpretation:
      • A brave person.


  • Nincsen rózsa tövis nélkül.
    • There is no rose without thorns.
      • Meaning: Nothing is perfect.


  • Nem a ruha teszi az embert.
    • Translation: It's not the clothes that make a man (person)
  • Ne etess!
      • Meaning: Don't feed me!
    • Interpretation:
      • Don't bullshit me.




  • Ne szólj szám, nem fáj fejem.
    • Mouth don't utter any words and then I won't have a headache.
      • Meaning: He who says nothing doesn't have to worry about it.


  • Nem eszik olyan forrón a kását(, ahogy főzik).
    • The porridge isn't eaten as hot (as it's made)
      • Interpretation: Don't be so hasty, you may be wrong/you misunderstood the situation or something.
      • Meaning: Be patient.


  • Nem akarásnak nyögés a vége.
    • Unwillingness ends in groaning
    • Not trying will end in crying
      • Interpretation: some tasks must be finished even if you don't want to. If you don't do it, then later you'll regret it.
  • Nem léphetsz kétszer ugyanabba a folyóba.
    • You can't step into the same river twice
    • Interpretation:
      • To cheer up someone after a bad thing happened: the statistically the chances are good that you won't experience the same.


  • Nem töltött káposzta, hogy föl lehessen melegíteni.
    • It's not stuffed cabbage (a yummy Hungarian meal) that you can heat again.
    • Meaning: in some things you just cannot retrace your steps to try again, or things are not as good the second time around.


  • Nem fér meg két dudás egy csárdában.
    • Two pipers don't fit in one pub.
    • Interpretation:
      • Two extroverted, strong personality can't stay together for a long time because of the inability to accept the other.


  • Nézd meg az anyját, vedd el a lányát.
    • Look at the mother and marry her daughter.
    • NOTE: This phrase to my knowledge is used in the Gypsy songs of old, when a prospective lady is checked out and is asked to marry.
    • Explanation: By looking at the mother, you not only see what type of person your future mother-in-law is but also you get an indication of the kind of upbringing the daughter had received, of her characteristics and domestic capabilities. Plus the possibility of how she will look like in twenty-odd years' time.


  • Nincs lehetetlen, csak tehetetlen.
    • Nothing is impossible, only people who can't do them.
    • Where there is a will, there is a way.

Ny[edit]

O,Ó[edit]

  • Okos enged, szamár szenved.
    • The smart one yields and the fool (ass/donkey) suffers.
    • Interpretation:
      • Sometimes it's wise to let the other win when you know he/she isn't correct - so he/she will look stupid and not you because you argued with him/her.

Ö,Ő[edit]

  • Ökör iszik magában.
    • Ökör = Bull. But in this context in my opinion it means: The weak minded drinks alone (by themselves).

direct translation: ox drinks alone.
means: man should not drink alone. (a hungarian)

P[edit]

  • Pénz beszél, kutya ugat.
    • Money talks, dogs bark
    • Interpretation:
      • Informal in business: you can say whatever you want, but I will take you seriously (or do something for you) only if you give me money.

R[edit]

S[edit]

  • Sörre bor mindenkor, borra sör meggyötör.
    • Translation: Beer on wine, everything is fine; wine on beer... you are going to get sick / suffer.

Similar to the American saying: Liquor before beer, you're in the clear; beer before liquor, never been sicker.


  • Sok lúd disznót győz.
    • Lots of geese can conquer pigs.
      • English analogy: Power in numbers.
  • Sok kicsi sokra megy.
    • Lots of small (activities/gestures/thoughts/feelings) will amount to a lot.


  • Sötétben minden tehén fekete.
    • In the dark all cows are black


  • Sok beszédnek sok az alja.
    • Lots of talk has lots of leftover
    • Meaning: Too much talk won't solve anything.


  • Tisztaság fél egészség.
    • Cleanliness is half of well being.


  • Sok bába közt elvész a gyermek.
    • Translation: The baby gets lost amongst too many midwives.
    • English equivalent: Too many cooks spoil the broth.


  • Sós a leves, szerelmes a szakács(né).
    • Salty soup, chef (or female chef) in love.


  • Sokat ígér a világ, de keveset ad.
    • The world promises a lot, but delivers little.

Sz[edit]

  • Szó elszáll, írás megmarad.
    • Literal translation: Words fly away, but writings remain.


  • Szikrát hány a szeme.
    • Sparks fly from their eye (usually in scorn or anger).
    • English equivalent: Looking at someone with eyes of thunder.


  • Szegény embert még az ág is húzza.
    • A poor person is being pulled even by a branch.
      • Meaning: If you are down, things will seem to conspire against you even more.

T,Ty[edit]

  • Temetni tudunk.
    • Translation: We can bury people.
      • Black-humor, self-irony as the Hungarian history had many dark scenes and this made Hungarians how to bury people (which is not an easy thing on the other hand).


  • Több nap, mint kolbász.
    • More days than sausages.

NOTE: Because you can't eat sausages every day - it's too expensive.


  • Több vasat is tart a tűzben.
    • Holds more steel into the fire
      • English equivalent: Have a lot irons in the fire.


  • Tévedni emberi dolog.
    • Being wrong is a human trait.English analog: To err is human


  • Többet ésszel, mint erővel.
    • You can do more with intelligence than with force.


  • Tanulj tinó, ökör lesz belőled.
    • Learn young calf, you will become an ox.

NOTE: A young calf did not live to become a full-fledged ox if it couldn't be trained well.


  • Türelem rózsát terem.
    • Patience yields a rose.
    • English analogy: Good things come to those who wait.

U,Ú[edit]

  • Ugyanabban a csónakban evezünk.
    • Translation: We're in the same boat.
    • Interpretation:
      • We're in the same situation, heading to the same direction. It means we depend on each other.


  • Úgy hazudik, mintha könyvből olvasná. / Úgy hazudik, mint a vízfolyás.
    • He is lying like he's reading it from a book. / He's lying like the water flows.
    • Interpretation:
      • True liar.

Ü,Ű[edit]

  • Ül a babérjain.
    • Sits on past achievements/laurels.

Meaning: Living off successes achieved in the past and having done nothing since.

V[edit]

  • A vér nem válik vízzé.
    • Translation: Blood can not turn into water.
    • English analogue: Blood is thicker than water.
      • Interpretation: sons are destined to commit the same crimes what their fathers did.
  • Vakok között a félszemű a király.
    • Translation: Among the blind, a person with one working eye is the king.
    • Interpretation:
      • If someone knows more than the most of the group he's the king - when practically his/her knowledge is nothing outside of the group.


  • Vén kecske is megnyalja a sót.
    • Translation: Even the old goat will lick the salt.
    • Interpretation:
      • Generally used by old men about themselves: they still can be sexually active and aroused.


  • Világos, mint a vakablak.
    • Clear as a blind window.
      • Meaning: It's not clear at all (said in a sarcastic way).
        • english equivelant: as clear as mud

Zs[edit]

  • Zsák is megtalálja a foltját.
    • A sack will find its patch.
    • Interpretation:
      • It doesn't matter how ugly someone can be, he/she will find the soulmate.


  • Reszket, mint a kocsonya.
    • Shaking like jelly.
    • Interpretation:
      • Very scared.


  • Kutyából nem lesz szalonna.
    • A dog won't turn into bacon.
    • English equivalent: You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.


  • Nagy kő esett le a szívéről.
    • A big rock fell off his heart.
    • English equivalent: That was a huge weight off his chest.

meaning: One is relieved of one's cares.


  • 'Hátrább az agarakkal!
  • Back off with those greyhounds. (hunting analogy)
    • Note: some people in Hungary know this as "Hátrább az agyarakkal", meaning "fangs". Both images get the message across - meaning "back off, calm down"


  • Úgy táncol, ahogy más fütyül.
    • He is dancing like the other person whistles.
    • Meaning: He will do as the other person pleases.


  • Ismeri, mint a tenyerét
    • Know it like the back of one's hand
  • Bámul, mint borjú az új kapura.
    • Staring like a calf at the new gate. (because it does not recognise its own home if the gate does not look familiar)
    • Meaning: Staring in incomprehension/stupidity.
Van sütnivalója.
  • Has something to fry.
    • meaning: He is clever/smart.


Kígyót melenget a keblén.
    • Nurtures a snake on his bosom/chest.
    • meaning: he/she trusts in people who don't deserve it


A kocka el van vetve.
  • The dice has been cast.
    • Meaning: Things are out of our hands now.
    • English equivalent: The die is cast.


Sötét, mint az éjszaka.
  • Dark as the night.
    • Used to describe either poor lighting or a person of limited intelligence.


Tűkön ül.
    • Translation: Sitting on needles.
    • meaning: Impatient, itching to act.

Original English: Sitting on pins and needles


Kiborul a bili.
    • The potty gets knocked over.
    • Interpretation: when someone has enough of something and express his/her discontent in a usually wild, outburst manner.
    • meaning: The dirty linen is out in the open./ One had enough and the inevitable argument is on.


Öntsünk tiszta vizet a pohárba.
  • Direct translation: Let's pour clear water into the glass.
    • Meaning: Let's straighten things out between us. Let's wipe the slate clean.


Betelt a pohár.
  • The glass has become full.
    • That's all one can take. I've had it.


Tiszta lappal indul.
  • Starts with a clean page.
    • A new beginning, fresh start.

Original English: Starts with a clean slate.


Van mit a tejbe aprítani.
    • Translation: To have enough to chop into the milk.
    • meaning: A clever person


Az utolsókból lesznek az elsők.
  • The last ones shall become firsts.
    • Interpretation:
      • Do not worry if you lost, your result can be a winner by other meanings.
Kosarat kap.
  • He gets a basket.
    • It is usually a boy or a man who was "given a basket" by a lady, which means that his romantic advances were refused.


Megtört a jég.
  • The ice has broken.
    • Interpretation: the relationship between the persons became informal, easygoing.
    • Breakthrough has been achieved. "We broke the ice."


Kilóg a kapa a szájából.
  • He/she has a hoe hanging from his mouth.
    • He/she is uneducated, ill-behaved, uncouth, declassé, or so "peasant-like" that he/she might as well be spitting up plowing instruments. In Hungarian, the word "peasant" (paraszt) and its derivatives are often used to describe uncouth or inappropriate behavior.


Akinek nem inge, ne vegye magára.
  • If it's not your shirt, don't put it on.
    • meaning: If you don't think it applies to you (critisism mainly), don't get offended or take it personally.
    • English equivalent: If the cap fits, wear it. #this means something different than the above proverb (if you like it at least a minimum level, then take it, do not hesitate or think anymore)


Megél a jég színén is. (= A jég hátán is megél.)
  • He can live even on the surface of ice.
    • He can survive under any circumstances. (make a living means different)


Még ott a tojáshéj a fenekén.
  • Still has the eggshell on his bottom.
    • A beginner, a young one, inexperienced person.


Valami szöget üt a fejébe.
  • Something hit a nail in his head.
    • Think of something (usually an intriguing new idea).


A szem a lélek tükre.
  • The eyes are the mirror of one's soul.
    • Interpretation:
      • If you look into someone's eyes, you'll see what person he/she is.


Csupa csont és bőr.
  • skin and bones.
    • Interpretation:
      • Used literallly about those who are extremely thin.


Kimutatja a foga fehérjét.
  • Showing the white of one's teeth.
    • English equivalent: Show your true colours.


Töke van a menyasszonynak.
  • Translation: The bride has balls!
    • We say it when a deception is uncovered. (a Hungarian) "Something ain't stirring the Kool Aid."


Vért izzad.
  • Sweats blood.
    • Interpretation:
      • Makes extreme efforts to achive something.


Egy követ fújnak.
  • They blow the same stone.
    • meaning: they are alike in their intentions (usually refers to bad intentions.)


Mindent tűvé tesz érte.
  • Turns everything into needle for it.
    • meaning: searches everywhere like he searches for a needle in the haystack.


Nyakig ül a szarban.
  • Sits in shit up to his neck. Up shit creek without a paddle.
    • When the shit hits the fence.
    • When shit hits the fan.


Csupa fül vagyok.
  • I'm all ears.


Szépre száll a füst, de bolond aki állja.
  • The smoke goes towards the beautiful, but they are a fool if they stand it.
    • At a campfire when the wind blows the smoke towards a person the first half of this saying used to be said to that person in an attempt to cheer him/her up, then the person replies with the second half and shifts position.
Madarat lehet vele fogatni.
  • You could make him catch birds.
    • Happy as can be/Happy as Larry.


Kicsi a bors, de erős.
  • Small is the peppercorn, but strong.
    • Interpretation:
      • Physical size doesn't matter.


Edd meg, amit főztél.
  • Eat up what you cooked.
    • Interpretation:
      • If you mess up something, then take the responsibility.


Ördög veri a feleségét.
  • The devil is hitting his wife.
    • refers to the rain. (Usually said when the sun is shining but the rain is falling at the same time.)


Közel ül a tűzhöz.
  • Sits too close to the fire.
    • Interpretation:
      • He/she is close to the power. To management, bosses, etc.
      • Plays/lingers too much, in the way he/she might burn him/herself (as cannot see every circumstances or outcome).


Ez csak a jéghegy csúcsa.
  • It's only the tip of the iceberg.


Segget csinál a szájából.
    • Make an arse out of his mouth.
    • English version: Talking out of his arse.
    • With his talk, he made himself lose face among his peers. He betrayed weak characteristics in his own personality.


Vizet prédikál és bort iszik.
  • He preaches water and drinks wine.
    • Meaning: He is a hypocrite.


Csak egy csepp a tengerben.
  • A drop in the ocean.
    • Insignificant.


A saját malmára hajtja a vizet.
  • He guides the water to his own mill.
    • He is out for himself.


Van vér a pucájában.
  • He/she stands up for him/herself, has "balls of steel."
Nem őriztünk együtt libát.
  • We didn't look after the same flock of geese together.
    • meaning: we are not _that_ close friends.


Ki soknak barátja, soknak bolondja.
  • Friend of many, fooled by many.
    • Those who form many superficial relationships will be disappointed in the end.


Ami a szívén, az a száján.
  • What's on his heart, on his lips.
    • Interpretation:
      • Someone who isn't afraid to express his/her thoughts and feelings (even if it can hurt the other).


Fából vaskarika.
  • Iron wheel made of wood.
    • meaning: nonsense.


Még a bőre alatt is pénz van.
  • He has money under his skin.
    • He's loaded.


Egy tálból cseresznyéznek.
  • They're eating cherry from the same plate.
    • They are (acting like) good friends.


Nagy a mellénye.
  • He has a big waistcoat.
    • meaning: He's boastful or quite satisfied with himself.


Be van sózva.
  • He's been salted.
    • English equivalent: Peas in his pants. Ants in the pants.


Szegény, mint a templom egere.
  • As poor as the mice in the church. As poor as a church mouse.
    • Very poor.


Aki sokat markol, keveset fog.
  • He who grabs a lot, takes little.
    • Interpretation
      • You can risk everything if you want too much.


Lop, mint a szarka.
  • Steals like a magpie. Sticky fingers.


Örül, mint majom a farkának.
  • He's happy as a monkey with his tail.
    • He's very happy about something (often in a silly way).


Eltűnik, mint szürke szamár a ködben.
  • Disappears like a grey donkey in the fog.
    • Disappears with no traces.


Ordít, mint a fába szorult féreg.
  • Howling like a grub stuck in a tree crack.
    • Note: This has changed meaning over time in a very interesting way. 'Féreg' (=grub) was originally 'toportyánféreg', an old word meaning 'wolf', and 'fa' meant a trap made of wood rather than just wood. So the original meaning was 'Howling like a wolf stuck in a trap', which makes a lot more sense than grubs in tree cracks!


Süket, mint az ágyú.
  • Deaf as a cannon.
    • English equivalent: Deaf as a post.


Forog a sírjában.
  • Rotating/turn around in his grave.
    • Interpretation: a cynical response to something unexpectedly extremely stupid. "This equation is so wrong, Einstein would turn around in his grave."


Négy lába van a lónak, mégis megbotlik.
  • A horse has four legs, still he stumbles.
    • Meaning: Nobody is perfect.


Úgy áll rajta, mint tehénen a bugyogó/gatya.
    • It suits him like a pair of pants suit a cow.
    • Meaning: It looks terrible on him.


Nem esik le a karikagyűrű az ujjáról.
  • She won't lose her wedding ring. ( By doing a bit work.)


Száz szónak is egy a vége.
  • One hundred words end with but one.
    • English equivalent: To cut a long story short... Cut to the chase.


Egy húron pendülnek.
  • translation: they twang on the same string.
    • analog: birds of a feather.


Ronda, mint a bányaló.
  • Ugly as a mine-horse.


Olyan ronda, hogy ha lemegy a bányába, feljön a szén.
  • She is so ugly that if she goes down to the mine, the coal will come up on its own.


Halvány lila gőzöm sincs róla.
  • I haven't the slightest purple steam about it.
    • I don't have the slightest clue about it.


Nem jöttünk hívatlan, nem megyünk küldetlen.
  • We didn't come uninvited, we're not going unsent.
    • Meaning: If you invited us, you'll have to let us know when you want us to leave.


Kopogd le (a fán.)

Knock on wood

    • Interpretation:
      • Superstition, scare away the bad luck.


Éhes disznó makkal álmodik.
  • A hungry pig dreams of acorns.
    • Meaning: wishful thinking


Döglött disznóra minek rázárni az ólajtót?
  • why close the pen of a dead pig?


Felteszi az i-re a pontot.
  • Put the dot on the i.
    • Finish the job (perfectly).


Bolond lyukból bolond szél fúj.
  • Crazy wind comes from crazy hole.
    • Interpretation:
      • It doesn't worth to pay attention to the person: he/she's just stupid.
      • If the father is stupid, then "obviously" the son is stupid too.


Rázza a rongyot.
  • Shakes the rag.
    • meaning: Pretending he/she is rich.


Aki szerencsés a játékban, az szerencsétlen a szerelemben.
  • He/she who is lucky in games, will be unlucky in love. and vice versa.


A körmére néz valakinek.
  • Looks over someone's nails.
    • Auditing someone (with determination, strong commitment), if he/she really does what he/she supposed to do.
    • Checks up on someone's performance.


Borsot tör valakinek az orra alá.
  • Grinds a peppercorn under someone's nose.
    • Causes nuisance, annoyance,etc. to one particular person.


Előbb jár a szája, mint az esze.
  • Speaks before he thinks.


A kákán is csomót keres.
    • meaning: He/she tries to find fault with everything.


Minden rosszban van valami jó.
  • There's good in every bad.
    • English equivalent: Every cloud has a silver lining.


Fogához veri a garast.
  • Taps the florin to his teeth.
    • He is stingy.


Kecskére bízza a káposztát.
  • Trusts a goat with a cabbage.
    • Trusts something to the wrong person.


Néz, mint Rozi a moziban.
  • Stares like Rosie at the movies.
    • Stare in wonder/disbelief.


Könnyebb átugrani, mint megkerülni.
  • Easier to spring over her than walk round her.
    • Insulting remark used for fat girls.


Az egyik tizenkilenc, a másik egy híján húsz.
  • One is nineteen, the other is one less than twenty.
    • Both of them are troublemakers. Six of one, half a dozen of the other.


Tűt keres a szénakazalban.
  • He/She is looking for a needle in the haystack.
    • meaning: He/she is looking for something that is almost impossible to find.


Itt van a kutya elásva.
  • This is where the dog is buried.
    • This is the reason for the problem. This is where a solution can be found.


Rossz fát tesz a tűzre.
  • Puts bad wood on the fire.
    • meaning: Does something bad/wrong (especially children).


Ritka, mint a fehér holló.
  • Scarce as a white raven.
    • meaning: very rare


Hol van már a tavalyi hó.
  • Where is last year's snow?
    • Things change/move on.


Nagy lábon él.
  • lives on big feet.
    • Spends a lot.
Kisujjamat nyújtom, és az egész karom kell.
  • I offer my little finger and you want my whole arm.
    • (speaks for itself!) I offer you an inch and you want a mile.
    • Interpretation:
      • If you do a small favour, then next time they want something bigger from you.


Egy kezemen meg tudom számolni.
  • I can count it on my one hand. I can count on one hand (how many times)...
    • Interpretation:
      • Countable, not many times.


Ez nekem kínai.
  • This is Chinese to me.
    • meaning: I do not understand it./ It is very difficult for me to understand.
    • English: This is Greek to me.


Néma gyereknek az anyja sem érti a szavát.
  • Even his own mother is unable to understand the words of a dumb ( in the original meaning of the word) / mute child.
    • meaning: If you don't say it, no one will know what do you want. Don't remain silent when you want something.


Alulról szagolja az ibolyát.
  • He/She is smelling the violet from under.
    • meaning: He/She is dead.

English original: Pushing up daisies


Olvas a sorok között.
  • Reads between the lines.
    • Interpretation:
      • Smart enough to comprehend the meaning behind the literal words and sentences.


Bemerészkedik az oroszlán barlangjába.
  • Bravely goes into the lion's den.
    • Interpretation:
      • Brave, not afraid.


Sokat akar a szarka, de nem bírja a farka.
  • The magpie wants a lot but cannot carry it.
    • English: He bites off more than he can chew.


Ettől nem változik a leányzó fekvése.
  • This does not change the position of the girl.
    • This makes no difference/does not alter the situation.


Más farkával veri a csalánt.
  • beats the nettle with another one's dick.
    • He/she trials at someone else's risk.


Nem tud vele zöld ágra vergődni.
  • Cannot struggle to a green branch with it.
    • No matter how hard he/she tries, cannot make it a success.


Bekapja a legyet.
  • Takes the fly.
    • Takes the bait. (Alternative: She is pregnant.)


Makacs, mint az öszvér.
  • Stubborn as an ass.
    • meaning: very stubborn


Holnap is lesz nap.
  • There will be a day tomorrow.
    • English equivalent: Tomorrow is a new day.
    • Interpretation:
      • No need to rush into something; especially when there's to little time to finish.


Vaj van a füle mögött.
  • There's butter behind his ears.
    • He is guilty of something.


Nem különb a Deákné vásznánál.
  • He is no different from the linen of Mrs. Deák.
    • Meaning: He is no better than the others, even though he claims to be.


Eszik, mint a vett malac.

Translation: He eats like the newly bought swine. (He eats too much)