Introduction to Word Building

As you may have noticed already, Hungarian is an agglutinative language, it uses suffixes and prefixes to solve most of its problems. Part of this involves adding suffixes to words to create more words.

Note that if a suffix is added to a vowel, it gets lengthened, and there are some cases where nouns will be shortened.

Remember, even if you can see smaller words/root words within the word, the meaning may be completely different. For example:

Word Inverter Noun former Inverted noun
Igaz (true) Igaztalan (untrue) Igazság (truth) Igaztalanság* (injustice)
Boldog (happy) Boldogtalan (unhappy) Boldogság (happiness) Boldogtalanság (unhappiness)
Tehet (he/she/it can do/put) Tehetetlen (powerless) Tehetség (talent) Tehetetlenség (powerlessness, inertia)
Zöngés (voiced) Zöngétlen (voiceless) Zöngésség (voicedness) Zöngétlenség (voicelessness)

* Igaztalanság is rare, usually igazságtalanság is said instead.

Verbs can be formed into nouns using ás/és as well

This is scary and there are many more attachments, but as we move on to more sections, all the pieces will slide into place.

Compound Words

Compound words are also common and work just like you think they would: take a base word and stick it onto another base word.

Note: it is highly advised not to deconstruct every word you see, lest you get the wrong idea, e.g. beszél does not equal be + szél.


You may have heard of the famous 44-letter long word megszentségteleníthetetlenségeskedéseitekért and just for fun, we’ll go through all of it.




kerék + pár = kerékpár (Original image, merging free images together)

wheel + couple = bicycle

Yet to Learn

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