The Meaning and Pronunciation of “Hygge”:
On this cool fall morning, I am cozied up next to the fireplace with my computer, a hot cup of coffee and my favorite music filling the air. Do you know what this is? This IS HYGGE!
Hygge is one of the “hot” buzz words of our time. Not many can pronounce it, nor can they completely explain what it means, but they sure know they want it!
First, the boring details about “hygge”:
- “Hygge” is used in Danish and Norwegian languages to describe an ambiance as much as a state of mind. In English you might loosely translate it to “coziness,” however, that’s doing the reader a gross disservice. It is like painting a rainbow using only two colors. Hygge is so much more than feeling comfortable and snuggly, but more about that later…
- It’s a mass noun (meaning it’s something that cannot be counted), but it’s also a verb.
How to pronounce “hygge”:
- Phonetically “hygge” is spelled /ˈhjuːɡə/ HEW-gə rather than /ˈhuːɡə/ HOO-gə. The “y” in Danish is not the same as “oo.”
- Some of the translation sites use sad-sounding computer-generated pronunciations of “hygge,” however, I found that Google’s version is spot on. Check out the Danish and Norwegian languages by clicking the speaker button, but also watch my YouTube video below for the correct pronunciation of both “hygge” and “hyggelig.”
- The adjective of “hygge” is “hyggelig.”
- Phonetically “hyggelig” is spelled: /ˈhʏɡl̩ɪ/
- When to use “hyggelig” vs. “hygge”: You wouldn’t say “we had a hygge time at their house.” But rather “we had a hyggelig time at their house” or “it was an evening filled with hygge” or even “they sure know how to hygge.”
Now to the fun, what does “hygge” mean?
Growing up in Denmark, our days oozed of HYGGE. Our long winter evenings, Christmas craft making events at school, long walks in the forest and tea with our best friends were all memories filled with HYGGE.
The no-agenda and stress-free hours spent around a big smorgasbord decked with open-faced sandwiches in food-combinations never-before-imagined is the epitome of Danish HYGGE.
While the Danish language lacks emotional nuances and colorful expressions normally found in English, “hygge” is one of the few Danish words without a proper English substitution.
Hygge is a state of mind as much as it is an experience. Hygge sums up the mood and ambiance of a situation.
- Hygge is experienced during the cold Danish winter evenings when candles are lit on the coffee table, a good movie is on the TV and you are cuddled on the couch with your loved one.
- Hygge is the feeling you get during the holidays when your house is full of family, traditions and all the right ingredients to make memories that last a lifetime.
- Hygge is going for a walk on a warm summer day, stopping by the ice cream shop by the fjord to get a homemade cone while you watch the big sailboats.
- Hygge doesn’t cost money and you can bring it into your life, even on a tight budget.
Hygge is an all-encompassing word for Danish culture and Danish design. Many products made in Denmark are geared towards creating the feeling of hygge in the home, office or wherever you share special times with friends and loved ones.
You almost have to experience Denmark and Danish culture in person to truly embrace and appreciate the intricacies of this one word: hygge.
Add HYGGE to your life, without breaking the bank. Here’s how you can embrace hygge on a budget.
When I think of my childhood and I try to describe a particular memory, I realize Hygge was never meant to be translated. It was meant to be felt.
For fun and real-life examples of what “hygge is” – follow me on instagram at HYGGE IN THE NOW!