Search HU
This article was updated more than a year ago and may contain outdated information.

sights & culture

Learn everyday Hungarian for an easier stay in Budapest! Lesson 9: Ráér, Majd

'Mit csinálsz holnap este, ráérsz?' 'Igen, ráérek'. 'What are you doing tomorrow evening, do you have time?' 'Yes, I do.' Our weekly series is back with expressions useful for everyday life in Hungary. Ráér is a verb which expresses having the gift of time, but it goes deeper than that, of course. When national poet Sándor Petőfi penned the well-known line, 'Ejj, ráérünk arra még' – 'There's plenty of time for that!', he might have been describing the Magyar mindset. Another word, 'majd', 'later', has also evolved to mean pretty much the same thing: mañana. Come with us and unwrap some Magyar!

Elmosogattál? Nem, még nem majd megcsinálom. 'Have you done the washing up? No, not yet, I'll do it later.' So majd is the best term for procrastination, as it literally means at some point in the future but definitely not right now. And that, sadly, might sum up the Hungarian psyche.

The so-called halogatás, the Hungarian equivalent of procrastination, could actually be a national sport. Let's face it – Hungarians like to leave everything to the next day. Who doesn't?

In terms of grammar, majd is actually a time adverbial, which derives from the word ma and it means 'today', as the Hungarian Etymological Dictionary also confirms. But, funnily enough, it means the complete opposite. If you say you'll do something ma, then you’ll do it by the end of that day but if you’re about to leave it all to procrastination, you say majd – some day when you have time. As the old adage goes: Procrastination is the thief of time! Beware!

The same is true for ráér – only it's a verb, so has to obey the rules of grammar. This is another term to describe when procrastination once again triumphs over action – or, indeed, simply indicates that you have spare time. Ráértek? Nem, sajnos délután nem érünk rá. 'Do you have time?  No, sorry, we’re busy this afternoon.' As a phrasal verb (bear with us...), the and ér are split when you use it in a negative sense. In that case,'rá' goes at the end of the sentence.

Therefore, when you have a deadline and your boss says Á, ráér, that means that your senior has authorised you to procrastinate. Be grateful, put the kettle on and take your time.

And last but not least, there is a great Hungarian expression pertinent to this time of the year: “Majd ha piros hó esik.” 'When pigs fly' or, literally in Hungarian, 'When red snow falls’, each as likely to happen as the other.


Related content

Mulled wine and Christmas trees – See snapshots from Budapest's biggest Christmas markets


Immerse yourself in the holiday spirit as you explore the biggest markets in Budapest through our photos.

Meet Chef Norbert Tanács, the new culinary maestro at quirky Buda Castle restaurant Baltazár


Baltazár restaurant has been given a new lease of vigour and flavour with the arrival of a new chef. Check out these Josper-grilled dishes!

See Christmas trams and buses embark on their festive journeys


We captured the dazzling Christmas fleet – trams and buses decked in lights and decorations – set off on its journey.