Cool Non-English Words #4 Hygge

Cool Non-English Words #4 Hygge

When you start learning a new language, you very quickly discover there are words in other languages that have no exact translation in English (or your own mother-tongue). This series explores those linguistic novelties….

#4 – Hygge (pronounced “Hue-ga”)

Today’s Cool Non-English word comes from Denmark!

Image Source: Julien Widmer (Unsplash)

Hygge is usually translated into English as “cozy” or “coziness.” But for the Danish, it has many more layers of meaning.

The origins of the word describe it as “well-being.” A lot of attempts to articulate it involve a sense of warmth – lighting candles, snuggling under a blanket, spending time with friends and family around a fireplace. It is about creating a certain atmosphere where you are simultaneously relaxed and deeply satisfied with life – contenment would certainly be an applicable word for Hygge.

The word has been trending on the internet recently. I believe it is part of the “minimalist” movement – in this crazy busy world, people are striving hard to get back to enjoying the simple things in life. I think Hygge has a lot to offer in this space. It also helps that it is coming up to Christmas and a lot of the Northern Hemisphere is bunking down inside, lighting candles and trying to stay warm.

(But don’t worry – as I write this it is 40+ degrees in Australia – but we can still try out Hygge! We just do it over Christmas BBQs and picnics instead – or maybe even the local Carols by Candlelight events 🙂 )

From my research, I might surmise it as a sense of creating a blanket for your soul. I think this can only be a healthy thing. So as you enjoy the end of year festivities and break, take some time to plan some Hygge moments into your life – I’m sure you won’t regret it!

“Hygge was never meant to be translated – it was meant to be felt” – ToveMaren Stakkestad


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