Dictionary of Hungarian Military Slang

Tamás Kis

The study of the military slang was unfortunately an uncovered area of the Hungarian linguistic research till the late 1980s. My thesis was published in the Journal of the Hungarian Linguistic Department No. 60 (Magyar Nyelvtudományi Intézet Kiadványai) of Kossuth Lajos University. This thesis formed the basis for my university doctor’s degree and also was the first detailed study of Hungarian military slang.

The book can be separated into two main parts: a general study of the history of Hungarian military slang and a dictionary of the military slang from 1980 to 1990.

The following topics are discussed in the study of Hungarian military slang (5–42):


1. Previously published research works on military slang, resources of the research works

2. Words originated from the old military slang

3. The influence of the military slang on everyday language and the language of youth


4. Establishing the connections between different layers of the language and the military slang, definition of the military slang

5. Types of the military slang

5.1. Relationship of the slang and the language of youth

5.2. Types of slang

5.3. Connections between the slang and the vernacular

5.4. Emotional meanings of the slang and the word-formation

6. Differences and connections between technical language and slangs: jargon

7. Layers of the Hungarian language

7.1. Layers of military language and military slang

7.2. Regional varieties of the military slang

7.3. Varities according to types of military service


8. History of military slang

8.1. The first instances of using military slang

8.2. History of the military slang in the K. u. K. Army and the Hungarian Army till the end of the First World War

8.3. Military slang in the Hungarian Army till the end of World War II

8.4. Time of the Hungarian People’s Army


9. Periods of the military slang in the Hungarian People’s Army

[10.] Linguistic analyses of the military slang in the Hungarian People’s Army between 1980 and 1990

10.1. Phonetical, morphological and structural characteristics

10.2. Word-formation

10.3. Topics of the military wordstock

10.4. Phraseology of the military slang


11. Motives behind the development of military slang

12. Further directions of studies based on military slang

About the dictionary

For the first time, a dictionary has been compiled by the thorough examination of a representative group of Hungarian soldiers. It may be surprising in this specific area, but this dictionary is based on hard, measurable evidence.

The first examples of the dictionary were collected in the barracks of Szombathely. A corps of collectors was recruited from several barracks: the wordstock used in the dictionary covers more than fifty military installations at various locations in the country.

The dictionary does not target one specific geographical area or barrack. The main aim was to give a full scale description of the military slang covering as many places as possible. It is also of historical interest, that several installations, where data was collected, are no longer in use. However, most of the words were collected at the following places: Debrecen, Ercsi, Marcali, Nagykanizsa, Szombathely, Zalaegerszeg. The earliest examples are dated from 1979/1980, the latest came from 1990, spring.

This dictionary is for people who want to have a picture of military life: the wordstock offers accurate and detailed information on military slang. It also gives a valuable collection of phrases and idioms to a user who is doing further studies on this area.