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December 8, 2016

The Danish word hygge – pronounced to rhyme with cougar – was one of the surprise additions to our beloved English tongue in 2016. It means “cosy intimacy”, typified by snuggling with one’s family in a warm candlelit room in the evening and eating cakes. Which sounds nice enough. There’s a bestselling book about it, The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking (can that be true? Mike Viking?) who apparently is CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen (can that be true?). I haven’t read it and don’t know any more about the concept of hygge than I’ve written here. I certainly don’t begrudge Mr Wiking his success. But two things slightly puzzle me. Don’t we already have our own word for this concept – ie cosiness? And then again, although the word was one of the most popular new English words of the year (according to a report I read in the Times the other day), has anyone actually heard it being used in a conversation?

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One Comment
  1. Simon Carter permalink

    Not heard anyone say it but Foyles have a bookcase labelled Hygge with about 100 books on the subject so it may be more widely known!

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