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The 10 Most Common Hungarian Filler Words

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Have you ever been lost for words or needed extra time to think about what to say? We’ve all been there. 

Those natural pauses in conversation can easily become awkward or uncomfortable, though, which is where filler words come in. These are small words, expressions, or sounds that we use to “fill” those pauses in order to keep the conversation flowing and veil our momentary lapse. 

Each spoken language has its own unique filler words. You’re probably familiar with fillers like “well,” “you know,” and “ehm” in English, but did you know that learning Hungarian filler words can greatly enhance your conversation skills as a student of the language? 

In this article, HungarianPod101 will discuss fillers in more detail, introduce you to the top 10 Hungarian filler words, and teach you how to use them correctly. 

Ehm, like, shall we get started then?

Letters Coming Out of a Man’s Mouth While a Woman Tries to Understand What He’s Saying
Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Hungarian Table of Contents
  1. What are filler words and why do we use them?
  2. The Top 10 Hungarian Fillers
  3. Pros and Cons of Hungarian Filler Words
  4. How HungarianPod101.com Can Help You Reach Your Learning Goals

1. What are filler words and why do we use them?

Filler words are short, meaningless words or sounds we use in spoken language to fill in the silence during our conversations or speeches.

The most common linguistic function of filler words—also called “hesitation markers”—is to signal that we’re not done speaking yet. This is useful for when we need to pause and think about what to say next, as it lets the other person know not to interrupt. 

You can find filler words in writing as well, though they tend to serve different functions. This is because, in writing, you are the only “speaker” and no one will cut you off. You simply keep writing. Fillers used in writing are more likely to serve as connecting, transitioning, or “softening” words. Here are some examples: 

  • alapvetően – “basically” 
  • igazából – “actually” 
  • említenem sem kell, hogy… – “needless to say that…” [Lit. “I don’t even have to mention it…”]

Expanding upon what we’ve covered so far, there are six main uses for filler words

1) Pausing to give the speaker time to gather their thoughts
2) Speaking more indirectly in order to be polite
3) Approaching delicate/awkward topics gently
4) Emphasizing ideas
5) Providing clues about emotions or behaviors
6) Communicating uncertainty

Another note: 

Be careful not to mix filler words with unprofessional expressions such as “thingamajig” or “whatshisface,” as this can cause you to lose credibility in others’ eyes. 

Now that you know what filler words are, you’re ready to start learning and practicing Hungarian filler words.

A Woman Sitting on the Ground, Holding a Speech Bubble

2. The Top 10 Hungarian Fillers

In Hungarian, a “filler word” is called töltelékszó. Broken down:

  • töltelék – “filler”
  • szó – “word”

Easy peasy.

Now, let’s dive in. 

#1 Ööö(m) – “Uhm” / “Uhh”

This is one of the most common Hungarian conversation filler words. The elongated ö sound is pronounced similarly to the English filler “uhh” (or “uhm” when the m sound is produced). Keep in mind that it’s important for the Hungarian version to be elongated; a short ö sound would be interpreted as meaning the letter itself. 

Ööö is most commonly used during school or work presentations, during which the speaker must continue for some time. This requires a structured train of thought, but it’s easy to get so caught up in your own presentation that you get carried away and need time to think about your next point. In this case, the filler ööö could be used to link two parts of your presentation together. 

Of course, you can also use this Hungarian filler in your day-to-day conversations. 

The most important thing in any context is not to overuse it! Your audience may become distracted—or even annoyed—if they hear you using it every five seconds. 

A: Tudod hova megyek ezen a hétvégén? – “Do you know where I’m going this weekend?”
B: Ööö, a Kanári-szigetekre? – “Ehm, to the Canary Islands?”
  • ez – “this”
  • hétvége – “weekend”
  • Kanári-szigetek – “Canary Islands”

#2 Hát / Nos – “Well”

In English, the word “well” is often used as a filler at the beginning of a sentence. It can denote hesitation or serve as a transition from one topic to another. The Hungarian filler words hát and nos are used in much the same way. 

Hát literally means “back” in English (yes, as in the body part). It’s normally used to indicate that the speaker is about to share their decision about something, especially if their answer is “no.” It’s often elongated to hááát in this case. 

A: Jössz a ma esti buliba? – “Are you coming to the party tonight?
B: Hááát, elég sok dolgom van. Szerintem most kihagyom. – “Well, I have a lot of work to do. I think I’ll skip it this time.”
  • jönni – “to come”
  • buli – “party”
  • ma este – “tonight”
  • sok – “a lot of”
  • munka / dolog – “work”
  • kihagyni – “to skip”

The Hungarian filler word nos has a slightly different nuance. As we said above, hát is used to introduce a decision; nos can be used when you haven’t decided yet.

A: Jössz a ma esti buliba? – “Are you coming to the party tonight?”
B: Nos, még nem volt időm gondolkodni rajta. Még átgondolom. – “Well, I haven’t had time to think about it. I’ll consider it.”
  • átgondolni – “to consider”

#3 Izé / Úgy értem – “I mean”

Izé literally means “thingy” in English, while úgy értem is the literal translation of “I mean.”

These Hungarian filler words—especially the very informal izé—are used mostly in common speech as explanatory phrases. Here’s what we mean:

Nem mondtam neki semmit. Úgy értem, akartam volna, de túl szégyenlős voltam. “I didn’t say anything to him. I mean, I wanted to but I was too shy.”
  • mondani – “to say”
  • semmi – “anything”
  • akarni – “to want”
  • túl – “too”
  • Szégyenlős / félénk – “shy”

An Asian Woman Who Is Feeling Shy about Something
Nem hiszem, hogy olyan jól áll neked ez a szín. *rosszalló pillantást kap* Izé, káprázatosan nézel ki! “I don’t think that color suits you that much. *gets death look* I mean, you look gorgeous.”
  • szín – “color”
  • állni – “to suit”
  • rosszalló pillantás – “death look”
  • kinézni – “to look”
  • káprázatos – “gorgeous”

Psst! Make sure to see our lesson Giving Your Opinion in Hungarian to learn the most useful phrases and expressions for doing so politely. 

#4 Szóval – “So”

The Hungarian filler word szóval is normally used at the beginning of a sentence, though it’s not uncommon to encounter it in the middle instead. When used in the middle of a sentence, it links together two clauses or lines of thought.

A: Szóval, hova szeretnél enni menni? – “So, where would you like to go eat?”
B: Nem tudom, szóval mi lenne, ha te döntenél? – “I don’t know, so…how about you decide?”
  • hova – “where”
  • menni – “to go”
  • enni – “to eat”
  • tudni – “to know”
  • dönteni – “to decide”

Now that we’ve covered a few useful Hungarian filler words, let’s look at some that have very little linguistic value… 

#5 Azt mondja, hogy… – “It says that…”

This filler does not have an exact equivalent in English, so we’ve just included the mirror translation.

This expression has literally zero meaning or value. We use it to gain time, like when we’re searching through an encyclopedia or phone book for someone, and it’s taking us a while to find what we need. 

A: Mikor tudunk együtt ebédelni? – “When can we have lunch together?”
B: Hadd nézzem meg a naptáram! Azt mondja, hogy… kedden szabad vagyok. Az jó lehet? – “Let me check my calendar. It says… I’m free on Tuesday. Could that work?”
  • ebéd – “lunch”
  • együtt – “together”
  • megnézni / ellenőrizni – “to check”
  • kedd – “Tuesday”
  • működni – “to work”

Learn all about Talking About Days in Hungarian and Talking About Your Plans!

A Man with Glasses and a Blue Shirt Speaking, with Letters Coming Out of His Mouth

#6 Ha úgy tetszik – “If you like”

This Hungarian filler is quite basic and adds no actual meaning to your core message. It’s just used for emphasis. 

Ha úgy tetszik, elmehetünk nyaralni idén nyáron.
“We could go on a vacation this summer if you like.”
  • nyaralás – “vacation”
  • idén nyár – “this summer”

As you can see, it would be adequate to use this sentence without the filler.

Elhívhatod megint randira, ha úgy tetszik, de nemet fog mondani. Barátja van.
“You can ask her out again if you like, but she is going to say no. She has a boyfriend.”
randira hívni – “to ask out”
barát / pasi – “boyfriend”

#7 Mármint – “Like”

This Hungarian filler word probably has even less value than the previous one (just like its counterpart in English, to be fair).

Its one redeeming factor is that it can help with sentence flow; using it allows you to pause and think for a second without your speech being interrupted. But honestly, most people just use it out of habit so that they have something to say mid-sentence. 

Nem tetszett a könyv, amit adtál. Mármint, nem hiszem, hogy ez a műfaj nekem való.“I didn’t like the book you gave me. Like, I don’t think this genre is for me.”

tetszeni – “to like”könyv – “book”adni – “to give”műfaj – “genre”

#8 Úgymond – “So to speak”

Yet another Hungarian filler used only to literally fill (either the silence or your sentence).

Ezzel a hidratálókrémmel úgymond újjászületik a bőröd.“With this moisturizer, your skin is reborn, so to speak.”

hidratálókrém – “moisturizer”újjászületni – “to be reborn”

#9 Tulajdonképpen – “Actually” 

Tulajdonképpen én már hallottam erről a filmről. Azt mondják, jó.“Actually, I have heard of this movie. They say it’s good.”

hallani – “to hear”film – “movie” – “good”

#10 Végül is – “After all”

Végül is will be the perfect conclusion to our list of filler words in Hungarian. This filler functions like the English phrase “after all” but means something closer to “in the end.”

A: Használhatom ezt a gépet? – “Can I use this machine?”

B: Persze, végül is már befejeztem az edzésemet. – “Sure, after all, I’ve already finished my training.”

használni – “to use”
gép – “machine”
persze – “sure”
befejezni – “to finish”
edzés – “training”
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3. Pros and Cons of Hungarian Filler Words

PROS:

  • They help you keep your train of thought.
  • They help your speech sound more fluent.
  • They make you appear more laid-back and down-to-earth.

CONS:

  • They are colloquial.
  • Their overuse can annoy others or distract from your message. 
  • They might make you seem dishonest.

4. How HungarianPod101.com Can Help You Reach Your Learning Goals 

So, how do you feel now? Relieved? 

We hope you’re feeling ready to take on some Hungarian conversations! Instead of stressing over what to say next, you can throw in one of the Hungarian fillers you’ve learned today

However, bear in mind that using them is rather colloquial. Whenever you can, try to avoid them. They should only be used to help you keep your line of thought and to make your speech more fluent. Still, it’s better to be prepared than scared. 

Also, don’t forget that you can turn to us with any questions or suggestions, because HungarianPod101 is a big family of language learners and professional teachers helping each other out. You can get started by checking out our vocabulary lists and other free materials, but it’s best to join our community and gain access to our language lessons. We provide content ranging from Absolute Beginner to Advanced in order to maximize your Hungarian learning potential.

Before you go, don’t forget to comment below with your favorite Hungarian filler word. 

Happy Hungarian language learning!

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