ér (to touch) +‎ -dekel (frequentative suffix)[1], originally keep touching, poking, or pressing (an enemy).[2]


  • IPA(key): [ˈeːrdɛkɛl]
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: ér‧de‧kel
  • Rhymes: -ɛl



  1. (transitive) to concern, interest, be interested in something
    Nem érdekel. (az “it” and engem “me” are omitted)I don't care. (literally, “[It] doesn't interest [me].”)
    Nem érdekel az iskola? (téged “you” is omitted)You're not interested in school? (literally, “Doesn't [the] school interest you?”)
    Csak a pénz érdekli őt.All s/he is interested in is money. (literally, “Only [the] money interests him/her.”)

Usage notesEdit

Sometimes the subject of the verb is not one that does any action but the stimulus prompting sensory or emotional feeling (not deliberately), as in the case of people or things that interest someone, matter to someone, please someone or appeal to someone (or another entity), sometimes differently from the perspective in English. In these cases, the experiencer (the entity that receives sensory or emotional input) can take the accusative (e.g. interest) or the dative (e.g. appeal). The experiencer is expressed with the dative in the case of hiányzik (to be missing or missed by someone), ízlik (to taste good, to be pleasing [as of food]), kell (to be needed, necessary, or required), tetszik (to be appealing), and van/megvan (to be had, to be owned by someone).

If the experiencer is expressed with the accusative, the object may be the third person (him, her, it, or them), which is considered definite in Hungarian, or it may be a first- or second-person object (me, us, and you), considered as indefinite. For example, with the verb érdekel, it takes the definite form érdekli őt “he/she is interested” (literally, “it interests him/her”), and the indefinite form érdekel engem/téged/minket for “I am, you are, we are interested” (literally, “it interests me, you, us”) in present-tense singular. The form érdekellek means “you are interested in me” (literally, “I interest you”). – Verbs with a similar syntactic behavior include zavar (to be bothered by) and izgat (to be upset or intrigued by).[3]


Derived termsEdit


  1. ^ érdekel in Zaicz, Gábor (ed.). Etimológiai szótár: Magyar szavak és toldalékok eredete (’Dictionary of Etymology: The origin of Hungarian words and affixes’). Budapest: Tinta Könyvkiadó, 2006, →ISBN.  (See also its 2nd edition.)
  2. ^ érdekel in Tótfalusi, István. Magyar etimológiai nagyszótár (’Hungarian Comprehensive Dictionary of Etymology’). Budapest: Arcanum Adatbázis, 2001; Arcanum DVD Könyvtár →ISBN
  3. ^ See also Verbs and adjectives that behave differently (in English vs. in Hungarian), Által (’By’), on the past participles derived from such verbs, On verbs of emotion, with special regard to their aspectual properties, especially the chart on page 3. In addition, see Thematic relation and Theta role in Wikipedia.

Further readingEdit

  • érdekel in Bárczi, Géza and László Országh. A magyar nyelv értelmező szótára (’The Explanatory Dictionary of the Hungarian Language’). Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó, 1959–1962. Fifth ed., 1992: →ISBN
  • érdekel in Ittzés, Nóra (ed.). A magyar nyelv nagyszótára (’A Comprehensive Dictionary of the Hungarian Language’). Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó, 2006–2031 (work in progress; published A–ez as of 2022)