If a hug could be a word

Gezellig [ɣəˈzɛləɣ] (adj): 1) A warm sense of familiarity and connection one gets when sharing a moment with close friends and family. 2) A warm feeling that one feels around objects and atmospheres that inspire a sense of coziness and familiarity.

Defining “Gezellig”

Gezellig is one of those beautiful words that doesn’t translate to English well. The closes thing we have to it in English is “cozy”  but that does not do the word justice. Gezellig encompasses so much more than a feeling of cozy. It’s this pleasant, familiar, fun, amusing, protected, warm state of being.

A room can gezellig. Candles can be gezellig.

But in these cases, you only get the coziness of the word. My mother-in-law tells me that gezellig almost always has to do with you and other people.  It often includes the warm, calm atmosphere you’ve created with the company you’re with. There’s a special connection that comes with something being gezellig. A dinner part with 14 friends can be gezellig, but going out dancing in a club with those 14 friends is just fun, not gezellig.

Gezellig is the written embodiment of a hug from your best friend.

  • Cooking dinner with your daughter is gezellig.
  • Making sandcastles at the beach with your grandchildren is gezellig.
  • Meeting your friends at a café for drinks is gezellig.
  • Cuddling with your husband while listening to the rain fall on your roof is gezellig.

I think it might be one of the most beautiful words I have learned in Dutch.

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