Danish ’hygge’ shortlisted for Word of the Year

It is a feeling that is loved by most, but hard to describe. Nonetheless, the Danish expression hygge made the shortlist for the recent 2016 Word of the Year by The Oxford Dictionaries.

Every year, The Oxford Dictionaries chooses a Word of the Year, which is a word, or expression, which has attracted a great deal of interest during the year.

One of the finalists this year is the Danish word hygge (pronounced HUE-guh with hue as the first syllable).

English does not have a word for this precise concept, which is grounded in Danish culture, where hygge is regarded as a defining characteristic.

According to The Oxford Dictionaries, hygge is ‘a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being'.

A way of being together with your loved ones

On social media, hygge is increasingly being used to hashtag photos of candlelit tables, mugs of hot chocolate, knitted socks and woollen blankets, and feet in front open fireplaces.

“Hygge is a way of spending a pleasant time with family, friends or just yourself, which is deeply rooted in Danish culture. Even though often associated with candles and cosiness in wintertime, hygge is an all year round feeling and way of being together with your dear ones. I still haven’t met a non-Dane moving to Greater Copenhagen, who has not adopted our hygge very fast”, says Louise Juhl, Marketing & Communication Director, Copenhagen Capacity.

Fascination with hygge first arose in the United Kingdom, which has been gripped by enthusiasm for Scandinavian culture for several years now, but it has also recently begun to make an impact in the United States, according to The Oxford Dictionaries.

About the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year

The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is a word, or expression, which has attracted a great deal of interest during the year to date.

Every year, candidates for Word of the Year are debated and one is eventually chosen that is judged to reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of that particular year and to have lasting potential as a word of cultural significance. The Word of the Year selection is made irrespective of whether the candidates are already included in an Oxford dictionary, and selection does not guarantee future inclusion. The names of people, places, or events are not suitable as Words of the Year.

Read more about The Oxford Dictionaries chooses a Word of the Year here.