Hungarian Edit

Etymology Edit

From the obsolete verb tetik (to seem, to appear) +‎ -szik.[1]

Pronunciation Edit

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

Verb Edit


  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 notes Edit

  • 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. (literally, “To Peter appeals Mari.”)
    Tetszik nekem ez a cipő.I like this shoe. (literally, “Appeals to me 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. (+ “nekem”)I like this shoe.
    Tetszik ez a cipő? (+ “neked”)Do you like this shoe?
  • If the subject is missing, ez (this, it) or az (that, it) is implied.
    Ahogy tetszik (+ “az”, “neked”)As You Like It (the play by Shakespeare)
    Tetszik? (+ “ez”, “neked”)Do you like it?
    Tetszik. (+ “ez”, “nekem”)I like it.

The subject of certain verbs is not someone who acts but a stimulus that prompts sensory or emotional feelings, like when things interest someone, matter to someone, please someone or appeal to someone. In these cases, the experiencer 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), 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, third-person objects (him, her, it, or them) are considered definite, while first- and second-person objects (me, us, and you), indefinite. For example, the verb érdekel can take the definite form érdekli őt (he/she is interested, literally it interests him/her) or the indefinite form érdekel engem/​téged/​minket (I am, you are, we are interested, literally it interests me, you, us). The form érdekellek means “you are interested in me” (literally, “I interest you”). — Similar verbs include zavar (to be bothered by) and izgat (to be intrigued by).[2]

Conjugation Edit

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 terms Edit

(With verbal prefixes):


References Edit

  1. ^ tetszik 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. ^ 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 reading Edit

  • tetszik in Bárczi, Géza and László Országh. A magyar nyelv értelmező szótára (‘The Explanatory Dictionary of the Hungarian Language’, abbr.: ÉrtSz.). Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó, 1959–1962. Fifth ed., 1992: →ISBN