Hungarian Folk Speech: “Nem mindegy hogy idd ki a bilit vagy vidd ki a bilit”

Text: Nem mindegy hogy idd ki a bilit vagy vidd ki a bilit

Transliteration: nem → not / mindegy → whatever / hogy → to / idd ki → drink up / a bilit → a potty / vagy → or / vidd → take it out / a bilit → a potty

Translation: It’s not the same to drink a bucket of pee than it is to take it out. 

Context: As a 20-year old Hungarian student, my informant explained to me that this Hungarian saying is used to point out that “it’s not the same if you say this thing or that thing,” hence “it’s not the same to drink a bucket of pee than it is to take (pour) it out.” Clearly, these two actions are very different, but the phrase itself plays on the phonetic similarities between the words idd and vidd, which mean “drinking” and “taking out,” respectively, and how they may sound similar (being just one letter off) but have entirely different meanings. This is used in reference to when someone tries to equate two things that may seem similar when spoken, but actually have entirely different meanings.

Analysis: The vulgarity of many Hungarian sayings is particularly striking and something that I actually discussed with the informant: Hungarian jokes and folk speech have a propensity towards profanity or obscene and sexual references as a source of humor. I think it is worthwhile, then, to apply Freud, who was a native to the Austrian Empire and did much of his work near present-day Hungary, in analyzing this particular saying, which seems to reference one of the formative stages of Freudian development: the “toilet training” stage (to be referred in short as “the anal stage”) (“Sigmund Freud,” Lantz). The text itself seems to demarcate the key differences between two formative, yet very distinct, stages of human development according to Freud: the oral and the anal stages. In the oral stage, one is obsessed with the mouth, tasting, chewing, “drinking,” etc (Lantz). Whereas in the anal stage, one overcomes oral fascination and gains control over the ability to expel waste: “taking it out” or going to the bathroom to dispose of it properly (Lantz). In Freudian theory, these are two completely separate stages of psychological development, where one is the natural progression of the other. In other words, one is clearly more developed once they are potty trained than when they were an infant always wanting to chew on things. The “drinking” versus “taking it out” distinction seems to reference both the oral and the anal stages, respectively, and the Freudian undertones of these phrases further underline the differences in meaning between idd and vidd: it is clearly nowhere near the same thing to “drink” versus “dispel” human waste, as one is clearly more developmentally sophisticated and socially appropriate than the other. It is also worth noting that the idd, which means “drink,” is very similar in spelling to Freud’s theory of the id, which refers to the undesirable impulses conceived in our formative years that we must outgrow as we mature (Lantz). The Freudian undertones of Hungarian folk speech are definitely striking and a possible influence worth investigating further, since Austro-Hungary was, quite literally, the birthplace of Freudian psychoanalysis. 

References for historical research:
Lantz, Sarah E. “Freud Developmental Theory.” National Library of Medicine. StatPearls Publishing, 2022, Accessed 22 Feb. 2023.

“Sigmund Freud” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 22 Feb. 2023,