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From Proto-Ugric *tonĭ-, from Proto-Uralic *tuna- (to get used to, to learn) + -ít (causative suffix).[1][2] Cognates include Erzya тонадомс (tonadoms, to get used to, to learn).


  • IPA(key): [ˈtɒniːt]
  • Hyphenation: ta‧nít
  • Rhymes: -iːt



  1. (transitive) to teach (to pass on knowledge to)
    Perfective: megtanít
    Synonym: oktat
    Coordinate term: tanul
    • 1937 April 11, Attila József, Születésnapomra (“For My Birthday”), translated by Péter Zollman:[3]
      Én egész népemet fogom / nem középiskolás fokon / taní- / tani!
      I’ll teach my nation, one and all, / much greater things than what you call / college / knowledge.
  2. (transitive) to teach (to cause to learn or understand)
  3. (intransitive) to teach (to act as a teacher)
    • 2012 July 10, Márton Simó, “Alfabéták”, in Udvarhelyi Híradó, volume 23, number 130, page 2:
      Egy időben olyan helyen tanítottam, ahol nem volt nagy becsülete az iskolának és annak a tudásnak sem, amit ott csepegtetnek az emberi lelkekbe.
      At one point, I taught in a place where there was little respect for schools or the knowledge they instill in people’s souls there.

Usage notes[edit]

In the sense ’to pass on knowledge to’, the most common argument structure is the accusative for the subject (the field of teaching) and the dative (-nak/-nek) for the recipients (the people being instructed). However, the subject (the field of teaching) can also take -ra/-re if the recipients are specified with the accusative:

Angolt tanítok a gyerekeknekI teach the children English. → (alternative translation) I teach English to the children.
Angolra tanítom a gyerekeket.I teach the children English. → (alternative translation) I teach the children about English.


Derived terms[edit]

(With verbal prefixes):


Related terms[edit]


  1. ^ Entry #1078 in Uralonet, online Uralic etymological database of the Research Institute for Linguistics, Hungary.
  2. ^ tanít 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.)
  3. ^ In Quest of the Miracle Stag, The Poetry of Hungary, 2000

Further reading[edit]