04/17/2021 (Sat) 06:41:20
Unsurprisingly, the ox is considered a dumb animal in Hungarian folklore, too.
But the word ökör [ˈøkør] itself isn’t really offensive, in familiar usage it can even appear to be euphemistic (but don’t say ökör to anyone, unless you know it’s going to be perceived as a joke).
Derived terms include:
ökörség [ˈøkørʃeːɡ] – rubbish/nonsense (literally “oxness”)
hatökör [ˈhɒtøkør] – (literally “six oxen”), a jovial term for someone whose dumbness can only be compared to six oxen, a “superlative”
ökörködik [ˈøkørkødik] – to act like a jackass, often in an immature and cringy manner
There is a proverb, Tanulj tinó, ökör lesz belőled. The word tinó is a young ox that had to be trained to track carts, and if the young animal was not a good fit, it was culled, hence it was encouraged, “Learn, and you’ll become an ox”. The real meaning of the proverb is understood when it is spoken to someone who exhibits a behavior that reveals his foolishness, an ironic way of saying “Keep on learning and you’ll become an idiot.” In contemporary usage, it is a bit archaic and certainly literary.
Ökör iszik magában. (“Only an ox drinks without company.”) is used to frown upon people who drink alcohol all alone. It is a jovial and humorous term, not used to address serious cases of alcoholism.
There are some other phrases, but they are too obscure now to be understood by contemporary speakers of Hungarian.