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Dr. Goodword
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Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue May 04, 2021 6:20 pm

• hygge •

Pronunciation: hu-gê (US), hyu-gê (UK) • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, adjective

Meaning: 1. (Noun) Coziness, comfortable conviviality, contentment from simple pleasures, like warmth, food, friends, etc. 2. (Adjective) Cozy and contentful in the sense above.

Notes: OK, OK. You lot have convinced me. The only authoritative dictionaries that this word is listed in are Dictionary.com and the Oxford English Dictionary, the grandad of them all. It is a (linguistically) recent addition to the English language, so it has had no time to lexically procreate, but if it is in the OED, it is an English word. (My spellcheck, too, is comfortable with it.)

In Play: The nominal use of this word is hygge in sentences like this: "Returning home for Thanksgiving with my family is a time of hygge for us all." The adjective use is at home in this kind of expression: "The room is very hygge with its soft cushions, many plants, and warm, fragrant fireplace."

Word History: Today's Good Word was loaned to English by either Danish or Norwegian. Its spelling suggests that it is the reflex of Norse hyggja "thought, mind", formed from the same Scandinavian base as Old Icelandic hyggja "to think, imagine", related to Old English hycgan "to think, consider", Gothic hugs "mind, soul, thought" and the proper name Hugh. Its meaning, however, implies that it came from Old Norse hugga "to comfort", from Proto-Germanic hugjan. English hug, a comforting gesture, hugge in Old English, descended from the same mysterious Germanic source. So, the trail bifurcates but ends here. (We have to thank Gordon Wray and the people who joined the discussion of his suggestion linked above for their recommendation of today's exceptionally Good Word.)
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Re: Hygge

Postby Slava » Tue May 04, 2021 8:50 pm

And it makes huge hygge hugs possible, too. Now all I have to do is remember that the y is a u. :?
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Re: Hygge

Postby misterdoe » Tue May 04, 2021 11:46 pm

A new one to me. Without any context, I saw this in my email and immediately I was reminded of an etymology article i read years ago about how onomatopeia played a large part in the formation of many languages, using as an example that an early form of some language (Gaelic, maybe?) an old word for "testicle" was uirgge. That was followed with something like "you can imagine how that may have come about." :lol:

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Re: Hygge

Postby David Myer » Wed May 05, 2021 9:43 pm

Excellent contribution, mrdoe. I do like your Gaelic testicle story.

English generally is short of words in this area - perhaps because life was so hard in the early days. But German gemütlich is a much richer concept than the dictionary translation "pleasant" or "cheerful". Of course when you imagine a large group of probably slightly inebriated Germans having a good time and probably singing in a warm and convivial inn, then you have a better feel for what gemutlich is. And this hygge, I suspect, maybe another of those feelings that are otherwise difficult to encapsulate in English words. There is certainly a need for it. I shall adopt it.

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Re: Hygge

Postby Philip Hudson » Tue May 11, 2021 2:18 am

Gemütlich is one of my favorite German words. It is strange that one language may have a word that takes more words than one to really tell what it means in another language. I want to adopt them.
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