angry like a hamster

Discussion in 'Magyar (Hungarian)' started by newg, May 23, 2013.

  1. newg

    newg Senior Member

    London, UK
    (France)-ais
    Hi,

    I'm studying linguistics and today we analysed metaphors in Hungarian with regards to anger. We had to classify the metaphors and see how the emotion of 'anger' was expressed in the language.

    We only had the English translations, therefore I cannot provide the idiom in Hungarian but one of them was 'He is angry like a hamster'.

    1) do you actually use this idiom? (I find it very interesting that anger is associated with this particular animal)
    2) if so, do any of you happen to know why the association?

    We had a long debate in class because one of the classification was 'anger is seen as a dangerous animal' and we wondered whether we had to put this expression in this specific category because we thought that a hamster was not a dangerous animal. Which is why I'm also asking:

    3) in Hungary, do you happen to think that a hamster is a dangerous animal?

    Thank you in advance for your answers :)
     
  2. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Prague
    Hungarian
    Hello newg and welcome to the Hungarian forum.

    The correct Hungarian phrase is: vörös mint a rák [vörös dark red, mint as, a rák the crayfish] i.e.: dark red as a crayfish
    You can also say: rákvörös = rák the crayfish + vörös red
    It has nothing to do with the crayfish but its red colour....angry man is red...
    My dictionary says it exists in other languages, too:
    être rouge comme une écrevisse (?) - you know better if it really exists and what it means in French :)
     
  3. newg

    newg Senior Member

    London, UK
    (France)-ais
    So it has nothing to do with a hamster?

    Can't you think of a phrase where the word hamster is used with relation to anger?

    In French, we also say 'red as a crayfish' but it only refers to the colour of your skin, and it has nothing to do with anger. For example, if I get sunburned and get really really red, you might say to me 'tu es rouge comme une écrevisse' meaning that my skin is really red but it doesn't mean that I'm angry.
     
  4. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Prague
    Hungarian
    I haven't heard any official Hungarian idiom related to hamsters...another animal is bull....but no hamster...but other Hungarians might recall some idiom...
     
  5. NagyKiss Senior Member

    In Russian we also say "red as a crayfish", and it means either sunburn or when someone is blushing out of shame.
     
  6. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Prague
    Hungarian
    Yes, I think the expression exists in most Slavic languages...
     
  7. NagyKiss Senior Member

    Because we like crayfish))
     
  8. BezierCurve Senior Member

    Last edited: May 23, 2013
  9. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Prague
    Hungarian
    I have checked the latest monolingual Hungarian dictionary and there is:

    hörcsög
    1. the animal, hamster
    2. (informal) a person with sudden anger

    but I still say I haven't ever used it or heard it....
     
  10. newg

    newg Senior Member

    London, UK
    (France)-ais
    Interesting. A friend of mine who is Hungarian told me that he knows the expression but as you said, it is rarely used.

    His answer: 'It rather reflects someone who is very impulsive and reacts very quickly and nervous. I think the root of this metaphor is that hamster is a shy animal: one of my friends used to have one in the house in a glass box (as a pet). The hamster seemed to be pretty silent and calm but once I went to touch it the animal 'jumped' a bit and made a noise'

    Interesting analysis... would you agree with that?
     
  11. francisgranada Senior Member

    Slovakia
    Hungarian
    I think yes. The hamster may be frightened when one is trying to touch him, so he reacts "angrily", or at least the people interprete his reaction as "anger" ...

    P.S. From this point of view, the association of the anger with hamsters is not due to the "dangerousness" of the animal itself, but rather with his behaviour when he feels in danger.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2013
  12. newg

    newg Senior Member

    London, UK
    (France)-ais
    Thank you francisgranada for your insight :)

    And thank you all for your replies.
     
  13. Zsanna

    Zsanna ModErrata

    Hungary
    Hungarian - Hungary
    I have found the saying: Mérges, mint a hörcsög in the classic Magyar szólások és közmondások (by O. Nagy Gábor) with the explanation: hirtelen haragú, mérges természetű (= somebody who gets worked up quickly/suddenly, who has an angry nature).
    Although this book is a classic I have to admit that it contains an awful lot of expressions that are not in use anymore.
    Nevertheless, I have to admit that the picture does exist in the back of my mind about such a type of person: it is not somebody dangerous, rather ridiculous because of the opposition of "small" but "loud (or active in attacking)". It is like when a child is jumping up and down, getting red crying/demanding something. He is not going to cause any harm to anybody but can be a real nuisance.

    But without digging this deep, at first hearing a hamster indicates more somebody who is a maniac of collecting things (e.g. food) in greater quantities than necessary (immediately, in any case), to store things up for "hard times".
     
  14. newg

    newg Senior Member

    London, UK
    (France)-ais
    Very interesting-- thanks Zsanna for your explanation!
     
  15. tomtombp Senior Member

    Hungarian
    I heard small hamster used for other kids with sudden anger a lot in my childhood. In total agreement with the above posts.
     
  16. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Prague
    Hungarian
    Hello tomtombp, so "kicsi hörcsög" is used? It is a Hungarian forum so feel free to use the Hungarian expressions, too... :)
     
  17. tomtombp Senior Member

    Hungarian
    Sorry I'm too much used to posting on the English only forums :) "kis hörcsög" is what I meant. I remember hearing it when I was a child, I'm not not 100% positive if it's still used though. However, it doesn't seem something that easily gets outdated, because hamsters are the same today:)
     
  18. Akitlosz Senior Member

    Hungary
    Hungarian
    1. Yes. The idiom is in the Hungarian language only one word: Hörcsögösködik.
    2. If someone is sulking, self-willed, usually a child.
    3. No. The hamster is not a dangerous animal. But sometimes: He is angry like a hamster: Hörcsögösködő.
     

Share This Page