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Dirty Hungarian Phrasebook is a sketch that appears in "Spam," the twenty-fifth episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus.


At a Tobacconist's, A policeman (Michael Palin) takes some change and says "thank you very much for the change, Mr Tobacconist" stiffly, before walking off and asking the crew if it was good enough. The crew shush him and the tobacconist (Terry Jones) looks at the camera in hopelessness.

The Black Eagle music plays and text appears on screen, saying that Hungarian nationals have moved into London. A Hungarian gentleman (John Cleese) enters the Tobacconist's and says a phrase from his phrasebook saying "I will not buy this record. It is scratched". The tobacconist is at first confused but then explains to the Hungarian that the shop is a Tobacconist's. The Hungarian misunderstands and replaces the word "record" with "Tobacconist's". The tobacconist tries to tell him what a Tobacconist's is (by simply saying "cigarettes"). The Hungarian then reads an odd phrase stating that his hovercraft is full of eels. It turns out he's asking for matches, which the tobacconist eventually understands. However, the Hungarian starts reading increasingly sexual phrases (Requesting to have sex with him at his house, asking if he can hold his body against him and calling him a pouf). The tobacconist takes his phrasebook and tries to find "It costs six and six". He eventually finds it and reads out the Hungarian translation. The translation is presumably wrong as the Hungarian punches him on the nose.

From blocks away, a policeman (Graham Chapman) hears the punch and runs across numerous streets to the Tobacconist's. The Hungarian sees the policeman and, using his phrasebook, accidentally compliments his thighs and tells a fictional "Sir William" to drop his panties. The policeman arrests the Hungarian who exclaims that his nipples explode with delight. The writer of the phrasebook is taken to court

In other media[]

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.


External links[]

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

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