This intriguing word turned up in Miklos Banffy’s superb Transylvanian Trilogy, tracing the decline of the Hungarian aristocracy in the years up to the start of the First World War.  He mentions szkupcsina as referring to ‘the disgruntled old armchair politicians who were forever complaining’.

Ever met one of those?

I tested the word on my Hungarian father and despite his vast vocabulary, he wasn’t familiar with it, and wondered if it was a magyarized foreign import.

In any case, if you’d like to put any disgruntled old armchair politicians in their place, just tell them to stop being such a szkupcsina, which I believe to be pronounced something like skup-chee-nah.


Source: Miklos Banffy, They Were Divided, trans. Patrick Thursfield and Katalin Banffy-Jelen (London: Arcadia Books, 2001 (1940)), p. 156


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