Hungarian Culture

Naming

  • Typically, surnames precede given names. For example, KOVÁCS János.
  • There are multiple ways a married Hungarian woman may alter her name. She may retain her maiden name, use her husband’s surname with her given name, or alter her name by adding ‘’. For example, if TÍMÁR Katalin married KOVÁCS János, her name may become KOVÁCS Jánosné or KOVÁCSNÉ TÍMÁR Katalin).
  • Children usually take their father’s surnames, but hyphenated names are becoming more common.
  • Most Hungarian names have short forms. For example, Zoli for Zoltan (male) and Zsofi for Zsofia (female). These should only be used if the person invites you to do so.
  • It is not uncommon for people to go by their formal name in the office or with strangers and their shorter name with friends and family.
  • Many Hungarians have a name that corresponds to a saint. These names have an associated date when the respective saint’s day is celebrated. The names that are celebrated on a certain saint’s day are all the names that relate to the respective name and all derivative names (e.g. for Saint Nicolas, people with the name Nicola, Nicole, Nick, etc. will celebrate). 

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