Slovak grandma sayings
December 2, 2011 8:04 PM   Subscribe

How do you spell "hunsit"? It is Slovak word my Dad and his mom used to describe naughty child behavior or a little naughty kid. I would say it is a noun. I can't find it anywhere. Anybody know? Is "pooka" something in slovak too?
posted by mgogol to Writing & Language (6 answers total)
Best answer: In Hungarian (I know, not Slovakian, but they are geographic neighbors, many Hungarians live in Slovakia, my grandmother was born in Kassa/Kosice), a mischievous, impish child can be described with the adjective 'huncut,' emphasis on the first syllable, and the 'c' pronounced like the 'cz' in 'czar.'

As for 'pooka,' again, in Hungarian, 'puki' (emphasis on 1st syllable, pronounced 'pookee') is a child's word for 'fart.' This word is currently the punchline of every joke my 3 year old nephew tells!
posted by that possible maker of pork sausages at 8:34 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: OK, I found a Hungarian-Slovak online dictionary, and apparently the Hungarian word 'huncut' translated into Slovak is ... 'huncút' - note the accent. It is probably a Slovak/general Slavic loan word in Hungarian, there are certainly many of them.

And according the online Slovak-English dictionaries I found, 'huncút' means 'rascal, prankster, scalawag, scallywag' in English, which fits with your family's use of the word to describe a naughty kid.
posted by that possible maker of pork sausages at 8:45 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

My Slovak mom uses this term a lot for impish little kids. I've seen it spelled "huncut" also.

that possible maker of pork sausages, my great-grands were from Kosice, too!
posted by corey flood at 8:49 PM on December 2, 2011

No idea about the Slovakian language - but note the similarities between pooka and either Púca (impish, shape shifting fairy in Celtic legend - see also the movie Harvey perhaps where he is depicted as a giant rabbit) and Puck - basically a little impish devil and perhaps a lot like a huncút.
posted by rongorongo at 1:51 AM on December 3, 2011

The Slovak (and Czech) word is from obsolete German Hundsfott 'miserable cur'; I don't know if Hungarian got it from Slovak, but it seems likely. As for "pooka," I'm guessing rongorongo is right about its being the Celtic word.
posted by languagehat at 11:16 AM on December 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you! Awesome.
posted by mgogol at 5:17 PM on December 3, 2011

« Older How to ask for phone numbers   |   What books should I read that will appeal to my... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.