List of English words of Hungarian origin

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This is a partial list of known or supposed Hungarian loanwords in English:

From László Bíró, the Hungarian inventor of the ballpoint pen.[1] Bíró originally means judge.
From kocsi, a horse‐drawn wagon with springs above the axles. Named after the village of Kocs in which this type of vehicle was invented. The verb 'to coach' is also derived from this root.[2]
From csárdás, a Hungarian folk dance. Csárda also means 'tavern'.
Dobos torte or Dobosh 
From Dobos torta, "Dobos cake". After confectioner József C. Dobos.
From friss, a fast section of music, often associated with czardas dances (cf. lassan).
From gulyás, a type of stew known in Hungarian as gulyás in Hungary, 'gulyásleves' is a soup dish; leves meaning soup. Gulyás also means 'herdsman' dealing with cattle, as the noun gulya is the Hungarian word for cattle herd. (This can cause confusion with native Hungarian speakers, as Hungarians generally understand unqualified "gulyás" to mean "gulyásleves", the soup, instead referring to the international goulash as "pörkölt".)
From hajdúk, "bandits". Outlaw, guerilla fighter. The original Hungarian meaning was "cattle drover".
, or Fisherman's Soup, a very hot and spicy river fish soup with a lot of paprika. (The actual Hungarian halászlé is not always made with hot paprika, unlike the internationally-known soup.)
From Hungarian huszár, a light cavalry soldier. The Hungarian word originally meant "freebooter" and was further derived via Old Serbian husar, gusar, gursar ("pirate") from Italian corsaro ("pirate"), i.e. the same root as that of English corsair.[3]
is sometimes linked to Hungarian ici-pici ("tiny") by popular sources,[4][5][6] but is regarded as an unrelated English formation by English dictionaries.[7]
A big Hungarian breed of livestock guardian and dog, looking like big mop, always white.
A big Hungarian breed of shepherd dog, always white.
From lassú, "slowly". a slow section of music, often associated with czardas dances (cf. friska).
a form of pancake popular throughout central Europe
a spice produced from the ground, dried fruits of Capsicum annuum, a red pepper
A small Hungarian breed of shepherd dog, also looking like a mop, usually black or white.
From puszta, a kind of Hungarian steppe.
sabre (UK) or saber (US)
From French (sabre, sable), ultimately from an unknown source in a language of Eastern origin, possibly through Hungarian szablya.[8]
shako or tsako 
From csákó süveg, 'peaked cap', a stiff military hat with a high crown and plume.[9]
tokaji or tokay 
From tokaji aszú, the name of the wine from Tokaj, the centre of the local wine-growing district Tokaj-Hegyalja.[5]
a Hungarian men's folk dance and musical style (itself coming from German Werbung - meaning "military recruitment" here).[citation needed]
vizsla or vizla
From vizsla, a Hungarian breed of hunting dog.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. "biro".
  2. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. "coach".
  3. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. "hussar".
  4. ^ György Tímár, Magyar eredetű idegen szavak / foreign words of Hungarian origin, Édes Anyanyelvünk (Our Loved Vernacular) Magazine, 3. 1999.
  5. ^ a b Oksana Buranbaeva, Vanja Mladineo, Culture and Customs of Hungary, ABC-CLIO, 2011, p. 59
  6. ^ Richard S. Esbenshade, Hungary, M. Cavendish, 1994. p. 77
  7. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. "itsy-bitsy"; Oxford Dictionary of English (2005), s.v. "itsy-bitsy"; Online Etymological Dictionary [1].
  8. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. "sabre".
  9. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. "shako".