Hygge – what does it mean?

Have you been seeing or hearing this word? Just reading about it makes you long for calm, comfortable and cozy.

The word hygge comes from a Danish word meaning “wellbeing”. But it is also speculated that hygge might originate from the word hug. Hug comes from the 1560s word hugge, which means “to embrace”. The word hugge is of unknown origin but is highly associated with an Old Norse term, hygga, which means “to comfort”, which comes from the word hugr, meaning “mood”. In turn, the word comes from the Germanic word hugyan, which relates to the Old English hycgan, meaning “to think, consider”.[1]

It first appeared in Danish writing in the 19th Century and has since evolved into the cultural idea known in Denmark and Norway today.[2] While hygge has exactly the same meaning in Norwegian as in Danish and is a widely used word in Norway (including in its derived forms, such as hyggelig), the emphasis specifically on “hygge” as an important part of their cultural identity is mostly a recent Danish phenomenon; in Norway “hygge” is just a word, similar in status to “cozy” in English-speaking countries.


In both Danish and Norwegian, hygge refers to “a form of everyday togetherness”, “a pleasant and highly valued everyday experience of safety, equality, personal wholeness and a spontaneous social flow”.[3]

The noun hygge includes something nice, cozy, safe and known, referring to a psychological state.[4] 

What makes you feel these things…pancakes and other comfort food! We found our hygge…how about you?