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ér (to touch) +‎ -dekel (frequentative suffix)[1], originally keep touching, poking, or pressing (an enemy).[2]


  • IPA(key): [ˈeːrdɛkɛl]
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: ér‧de‧kel



  1. (transitive) to concern, interest, be interested in something
    Nem érdekel. (az “it” and engem “me” are omitted)I don't care. (literally, “[It] doesn't interest [me].”)
    Nem érdekel az iskola? (téged “you” is omitted)You're not interested in school? (literally, “Doesn't [the] school interest you?”)
    Csak a pénz érdekli őt.All s/he is interested in is money. (literally, “Only [the] money interests him/her.”)

Usage notes[edit]

Similarly to the argument structure of the verb interest in English, the person (or other being) interested in something (or someone) is expressed by the accusative case. The third-person object is considered a definite object, so the conjugation will differ: compare érdekel engem, érdekel téged “I am interested, you are interested” or “it interests me or you” versus érdekli őt “he/she is interested” or “it interests him/her”. The subject of the verb expresses the focus of interest, the person or thing that arouses one's interest. Other verbs with a similar syntactic behavior include zavar “to be bothered by” and izgat “to be upset or intrigued by”. (For additional Hungarian verbs with an argument structure different from English, but employing the dative case instead of the accusative, see hiányzik, ízlik, kell, tetszik, and van/megvan.)[3]



  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. ^ érdekel in Tótfalusi, István. Magyar etimológiai nagyszótár (’Hungarian Comprehensive Dictionary of Etymology’). Budapest: Arcanum Adatbázis, 2001; Arcanum DVD Könyvtár →ISBN
  3. ^ 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.