From the obsolete verb tetik (to appeal, to be liked) +‎ -szik.[1]


  • IPA(key): [ ˈtɛt͡sːik]
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: tet‧szik
  • Rhymes: -ɛt͡sːik



  1. (intransitive) to appeal, to be liked
    Synonyms: szeret, kedvel, lájkol
    Sok embernek tetszik az új változat.Many people like the new version. (literally, “The new version appeals to many people.”)
  2. (auxiliary with a verb in the infinitive) Used to indicate politeness towards the elderly.
    Synonym: szíveskedik
    Tessék velem jönni.Come with me, if you please. (literally, “May it appeal [to you] to come with me.”)
    Hogy tetszett mondani?I beg your pardon? (literally, “How [in what form] did it appeal [to you] to say [that]?”)
  3. (intransitive, archaic) to seem, to appear (-nak/-nek)
    Synonyms: tűnik, látszik

Usage notesEdit

  • The subject of this verb is the person or thing that is liked. The agent takes the dative case (-nak/-nek).
    Péternek tetszik Mari.Péter likes Mari.
    Tetszik nekem ez a cipő.I like this shoe.
    Tetszenek nekem ezek a cipők.I like these shoes.
  • If the agent is missing, the logical agent is implied.
    Tetszik ez a cipő.I like this shoe.
    Tetszik ez a cipő?Do you like this shoe?
  • If the subject is missing, ez (this; it) or az (that; it) is implied.
    Ahogy tetszikAs You Like It (the play by Shakespeare)
    Tetszik?Do you like it?
    Tetszik.I like it.

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. Verbs with a similar syntactic behavior include zavar (to be bothered by) and izgat (to be upset or intrigued by).[2]


As an auxiliary verb, only the third-person forms are used, since its purpose is to address someone with respect. Out of these, the subjunctive is replaced by the otherwise archaic alternative forms tessék in the singular and tessenek in the plural. The word tessék also survives in contemporary usage as an interjection.

Derived termsEdit

(With verbal prefixes):



  1. ^ Zaicz, Gábor. Etimológiai szótár: Magyar szavak és toldalékok eredete (’Dictionary of Etymology: The origin of Hungarian words and affixes’). Budapest: Tinta Könyvkiadó, 2006, →ISBN
  2. ^ 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

  • tetszik in Bárczi, Géza and László Országh: A magyar nyelv értelmező szótára (’The Explanatory Dictionary of the Hungarian Language’). Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó, 1959–1962.