Some Useful Words in Hungarian: Survival Vocabulary with Pronunciation

Knowing some basic words like Thank you, Goodbye in Hungarian is always useful, and you will surely get appreciation from Hungarians as admittedly, Hungarian is a really difficult language.


When you meet middle aged or older people you don’t know it is best to use simple formal greeting like

Jó napot (yoh nu-pot): Good day!

Younger people will be comfortable with Hello. We also use Szia (see-yah) in Hungarian, which, unlike the similar sounding See yo, is used for both greeting somebody and saying farewell. Then there are loads of slangish versions – also used in two-ways – like Csá (tshaa), Csákó (tshaa-koh), etc. But unless you are not feeling the urge for giving a high-five and sharing your earphones, the best is to stick to Hello or Szia.


To unknown adults (30+) you can say farewell with a simple (‘See you’) Viszlát! (vis-laat) or the longer version of the same thing, if you don’t mind twisting your tongue: Viszontlátásra (vee-sont-laa-taash-raa). The meaning is See you again, just like with Viszlát.

Young style Viszlát can be Szia (see-yah), Hello (yes, we also use it for saying goodbye!), or even the Italian Ciao.

Nice to meet you

If you want to save time, and be natural, just smile and keep eye contact, usually that’s enough. If you want to be polite and more formal, you can say:

Örülök, hogy megismertem (errel-oek hodge megh-ish-merh-them)

Thank you

Thank you is Köszönöm in Hungarian. Say something like khoe-se-noem or kher-ser-nerm. The letter ö stands for a sound that is similar to the er in her, or the e in the French petit or the o in Danish Soren Kierkegaard. Hope this helps. If not, just say ko-so-nom, the effort will be surely understood and appreciated.

Street, Road, Square, Boulevard

Street names in Hungary are usually the names of famous people or – less frequently – any characteristic word of that street e.g. the names of flowers, jobs, etc. The word ‘street’ is ‘utca’ (oot-tsah) in Hungarian. Road is ‘út’ (oot) Square translates as ‘tér’ (tehr), and boulevard as ‘körút’ (kerr-oot)

Left, Right, Straight Ahead, Map

Left is ‘bal’ or ‘balra’ – depending on being in the location or going to that location, respectively. Bal is pronounced as bhal, and balra is bhal-raa.

Right is ‘jobb’ or ‘jobbra’ – depending on being in the location or going to that location, respectively. Jobb is pronounced as yoab, and jobbra is yoab-raa.

In a Bar

You can ask for a draught beer saying "Egy korsó sört kérek!" (pronounce it like: Edge choir show shirt care ack!) or simply "Egy sört!" (Edge shirt!).