Tollaslabda (badminton) and other sports

At badminton last night I met a Hungarian lady, so now I can practice my language skills with her. So please tell me, you sporting Hungarians, what are some good phrases to use on court or other sports field. Thanks :-)

June 20, 2019


Well, I am not an expert, but I can share some expressions with you.

A court, a field, a pitch is always "pálya", when it is about sports.

A "szerva" means a serve, to serve is "szerválni". Thus "te szerválsz" or "tiéd a szerva" means you serve.

"Háló" is a net, "ütő" is a racquet or a bat (basball bat).

"Labda" means ball, but only in sports, for someone's balls you'd use "golyó" (his balls = "a golyói").

(Side note: a "golyó" is a solid ball, like the ones that are used in petanque, or like marbles, which are "üveggolyók" in Hungarian.)

And then there are the different sports:

As you already know, badminton is "tollaslabda" (literally feathered ball) or shortly "tollas", to play badminton is "tollasozni" (or "tollaslabdázni").

Football (/soccer) is "futball" or "labdarúgás" (lit. ball-kicking), but these sound quite formal, especially the latter. Usually "foci" is used for it. Similarly, to play football is "futballozni", but the informal form that you'd often hear in Hungary is "focizni".

What is called football in the US is "amerikai foci" in Hungarian: american football.

Basketball is "kosárlabda" (basket = "kosár"), to play basketball is "kosarazni" (or "kosárlabdázni").

Volleyball is "röplabda" (lit. flyball or flying ball), or shortly "röpi", so to play volleyball is "röplabdázni" or "röpizni".

June 20, 2019

Köszönöm szépen. I will let you know how I get on. What about things like "point","great shot!", "well done", "we won", we lost", "good game". I'm guessing that bent and kint work for in and out? Google Translate doesn't always understand the context when trying to find sporting terms.

June 20, 2019

Point is "pont" in most sports, except for football (/soccer), where it is called "gól" (but the goal, the physical object, is called "kapu" there).

Great shot - "szép lövés"

Well done - "szép volt" (literally: it was nice)

We won - "nyertünk" / "győztünk" (to win - "nyerni" / "győzni")

We lost - "vesztettünk" (to lose - "veszíteni")

Good game - "szép játék" / "jó meccs volt"

"Bent" is in or inside, "kint" is out or outside.

A match or a game can be a "meccs", or a "mérkőzés", but this latter is a bit more formal. "Játék" also means game (any kind: board game = "társasjáték", video game = "videójáték"; but it also means toy), but in the case of sports it never means a match, only how you play. Oh, and to play is "játszani". If a match consists of more rounds, like in badminton, the world for round is "menet".

"Hajrá!" is the basic way to root for someone.

"Szabály" means rule, if something is "szabályos", that means that it is not against the rules, and if something is against the rules, it's "szabálytalan".

June 20, 2019
  • 457

very good collection! I would add 3 more colloquial examples:

Let's go / Come on - "Gyerünk!" (When you want your team to press on)

Oops - "Hoppá!" (When something didn't go as planned / you were clumsy)

Yeah! - "Ezaz!" (When something went well)

June 21, 2019

Köszönom. Nagyon hasznos. Megpróbálom használni őket Thanks. Very useful. I will try to use them.

June 21, 2019

Thanks so much. I'm going to try them out. Good practice to when I get to Budapest and hope to find a club to play in. Socially only.

June 21, 2019

I learned "Jó csada volt!" (It was a good battle)

June 27, 2019
  • 457

the same way you would not use "battle" to describe sports, you would not really use "csata" either. Instead, you should go with "jó meccs / jó mérkőzés volt" (meccs = match, mérkőzés = contest)

June 28, 2019

Sorry, that should be csata of course. But this is commonly used, so says the Hungarian athlete I play. Are you saying she is wrong? What about "jó verseny volt"?

June 28, 2019
  • 457

re - csata: I am not very familiar with tennis/badminton so it might have been my bad, it just seemed odd that I have never heard it phrased it like this so far. I found articles though, so she must be right!

re - verseny: That is okay to say after a running event, car race, or swimming competition. But because "verseny" means "race", I would not use it during badminton.

July 1, 2019

Obviously our badminton games are more like a battle than you think :-) I'm a classical music fan and when I went to concerts in Budapest I noticed hegedűverseny and zongoraverseny, so instead of a violin or piano concerto... it's a competition, which is sort of funny. But these little quirks are what makes language learning interesting and fun.

July 1, 2019
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