Printable Version
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 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.)

Dr. Goodword,

P.S. - Register for the Daily Good Word E-Mail! - You can get our daily Good Word sent directly to you via e-mail in either HTML or Text format. Go to our Registration Page to sign up today!