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Hygge (// HEW-gə or // HOO-gə) is a Danish and Norwegian word which can be described as a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture).
The word "hygge" comes from a Norwegian word meaning 'wellbeing'". But it is also speculated that hygge might originate from the word "hug". Hug comes from the 1560s word Hugge, which means 'to embrace'. The word hugge is of unknown origin but is highly associated with an Old Norse term, hygga, which means 'to comfort', which comes from the word hugr, meaning 'mood'. In turn, the word comes from the Germanic word hugyan, which relates to the Old English hycgan, meaning 'to think, consider'.
It first appeared in Danish writing in the 19th Century and has since evolved into the cultural idea known in Denmark and Norway today. While hygge has exactly the same meaning in Norwegian as in Danish and is a widely used word in Norway (including in its derived forms, such as hyggelig), the emphasis specifically on "hygge" as an important part of their cultural identity is mostly a recent Danish phenomenon; in Norway "hygge" is just a word, similar in status to "cozy" in English-speaking countries.
In both Danish and Norwegian, Hygge refers to "a form of everyday togetherness", "a pleasant and highly valued everyday experience of safety, equality, personal wholeness and a spontaneous social flow". It is distinct from but very similar to the feeling and state referred to with the Dutch word gezelligheid.
The noun "hygge" includes something nice, cozy, safe and known, referring to a psychological state.
In popular cultureEdit
Collins English Dictionary named hygge the runner-up (after Brexit) as word of the year in the UK in 2016. This followed a period during which several books focusing on hygge had been marketed in the UK, such as The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking, Hygge: The Danish Art of Happiness by Marie Tourell Søderberg, and The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Living Well by Louisa Thomsen Brits.
- The Dutch word gezelligheid has a similar concept to hygge with both pertaining to comfort and cosiness.
- In German Gemütlichkeit means the state of warmth, friendliness and belonging.
- The Norwegian adjective koselig is used to describe a feeling of warmth, intimacy and getting together in an agreeable environment.
- The Swedish adjective mysig (and its associated noun mys) describes a pleasant and warm atmosphere of togetherness in a pleasant setting.
- Meik,, Wiking,. The little book of hygge : the Danish way to live well. ISBN 9780241283912. OCLC 958463988.
- Parkinson, Justin (2015-10-02). "Hygge: A heart-warming lesson from Denmark". BBC News. Retrieved 2017-05-25.
- Interweavings – A cultural phenomenology of everyday consumption and social atmosphere within Danish middleclass families, Jeppe Trolle Linnet, 2010
- Hjalmar Falk og Alf Torp (1903): Etymologisk ordbog over det norske og det danske sprog. Aschehoug, Kristiania, s. 315
- "Top 10 Collins Word of the Year 2016". collinsdictionary.com. 2016-11-03. Retrieved 2016-11-07.
- Cartier-Morley, Jess (2016-10-18). "Hygge – a soothing balm for the traumas of 2016". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-11-07.
- Crace, John (2016-09-11). "The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking – digested read". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-05-25.
- "Hygge". Goodreads. Retrieved 2017-05-25.
- Williams, Zoe (2016-09-29). "The Book of Hygge review – can the Danes really teach us how to live?". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-05-25.