The word "Hungarian" is thought to be derived from the Bulgar-TurkicOnogur, possibly because the Magyars were neighbours (or confederates) of the Empire of the Onogurs in the sixth century, whose leading tribal union was called the "Onogurs" (meaning "ten tribes" or "ten arrows" in Old Turkic).
The "H-" prefix in many languages (Hungarians, Hongrois, Hungarus
etc.) is a later addition. It was taken over from the name of the "Huns
", a semi-nomadic tribe that briefly lived in the area of present-day Hungary and, according to legends originating in the medieval period, was the people from which the Magyars arose. The identification of the "Hungarians" with the "Huns" has often occurred in historiography and literature. Even today, Hun names like Attila
, and Ildikó
are popular among Hungarians. This identification began to be disputed in the late nineteenth century and is still a source of major controversy among scholars who insist that there could be no direct connection between the two.
" is the term Hungarians use, in their own language, to refer to themselves or to their language. The English equivalent for the word would be "Hungarian
". However, the word "Magyar
" is frequently used in English context. In most cases it is used when referring to Hungarian nationality, ethnicity, and, in a broader context, when describing the medieval nomadic Hungarian/Magyar tribes.
" to be the proper form instead of Hungarian, although "Hungarian
" is the form that took root in the English language over the centuries.
Many theories exist on the origins and meanings of the word "Magyar
, although the etymology
of the words Hungary
is accompanied by less debate. In Old Slavic
texts Hungarians were referred to as Ugors
), in Byzantine
and early Latin
words were used, presumably from the Turkic word On ogur
, meaning ten arrows, i.e. ten tribes (the traditional Hungarian tribes (Megyer, Jenő, Keszi, Nyék, Kér, Tarján, while Kürt and Gyarmat merged into one tribe making it seven total) joined by three Kabar
tribes whose names are not known for sure (with the usual suspects being Ság, Ladány, Berény, Tárkány). Later, from the Unugor
form evolved the words Ungarus
, and Venger
. In the Middle Ages the Latin Ungarus
words changed to Hungarus
, that also referred to the Hungarians being related to the Huns
, a common belief until the 19th century.
This finally was the base for many languages' word for Hungarian/Hungary.