Dirty Hungarian Phrasebook is a Monty Python sketch that first aired in 1970. The sketch starts by saying that Hungarian nationals have moved into London. John Cleese plays a Hungarian who enters a tobacconist's shop. He says to the tobacconist (Terry Jones), reading from the phrasebook he is holding, "I will not buy this record; it is scratched." When Jones corrects him he says, "Ah, I will not buy this tobacconist's, it is scratched." Cleese then proceeds to read more bizarre phrases from the phrasebook, including "My Hovercraft is full of eels" (apparently a translation for "may I have some matches?") and "If I said you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me? I am no longer infected" Jones reads from the phrasebook, but when he says the (fake) Hungarian phrase "Yandelavasa grldenwi stravenka", Cleese punches him. A policeman (Graham Chapman) hears this from blocks away and rushes to the tobacconist's shop. Having reached the tobacconist, he asks Cleese what's going on. Cleese says "You have beautiful thighs", followed by "Drop your panties Sir William! I cannot wait 'til lunchtime!" (His gestures indicate he is trying to explain that the tobacconist insulted him.) The policeman is angry, and arrests Cleese, who yells "My nipples explode with delight!" During the trial of the phrasebook's publisher (Michael Palin), it is revealed by the prosecution (Eric Idle) that the phrasebook contains inaccurate translations,and duly (with permission) reads a phrase. The Hungarian phrase "Please direct me to the railway station" is translated as "Please fondle my bum". The publisher pleads "Incompetent". In various versions of the Dirty Hungarian Phrasebook, the last line is "Please sir, I am a poofter!" In their movie And Now for Something Completely Different, the phrase Idle uses is "Please fondle my buttocks".

In the TV episode Cleese's character from this sketch reappeared in the Spam sketch. This sketch also appeared in And Now for Something Completely Different, where, at the end of the sketch, another Hungarian tells someone of the street "Please fondle my buttocks". The man then gives him directions.

In other media Edit

The phrase "my Hovercraft is full of Eels" is often mentioned [1][2][3] in relation to any translation system, in particular ones which translate poorly.


The "gonging" in court of phrasebook publisher Alexander Yalt by the prosecutor is a reference to a British game show in the '60s, "Open the Box." In one segment of the show, contestants had only to go 60 seconds without answering "yes" or "no" to questions by the host to win a prize. Some of the questions were designed to trick contestants into answering "yes" or "no" — similarly to the prosecutor's "You did say 46 Horton Terrace, did you?" — and if they did, they were "gonged."


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External linksEdit

Omniglot has a webpage [4] of the phrase in various languages.

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