Why The Swedish ‘Mys’ Is A Must In Your Vocabulary

Because coziness is not just a feeling — it’s an entire way of life.
Why The Swedish ‘Mys’ Is A Must In Your Vocabulary

Assuming you caught wind of the hygge craze in the English-speaking world, then it probably didn’t take much digging to discover that there’s actually a whole host of “winter cozy” concepts in the various languages that are scattered across Northern Europe. Often enough, these are not just words people use to describe a state of mind, but an entire value system and a way of life. In Swedish, mys assumes such a role. It’s a versatile word that basically means “coziness,” but it’s also so much more than that.

Within the parameters of coziness, there’s an assumption that coziness is something you feel when you’re spending quality time with friends and family or giving yourself over to repose — in other words, allowing yourself to experience the comfort of keeping it low-key and taking it easy.

Mys is a word that works on its own, but it can also be inserted into any number of compound words to describe increasingly specific versions of coziness. Myskväll refers to a cozy evening, and mystofflor is the word you’d use to describe the cozy slippers you’d wear during your cozy night in. Need a word to describe a “cozy shrimp-eating experience”? Räkmys! If you can imagine it, there’s probably already a hashtag for it.

Here are a few of the more common mys words you might encounter, according to Babbel language expert Elin Asklöv.

Mys In Its Various Forms

Fredagsmys — Friday coziness

Fredagsmys has been a staple of Swedish culture since the ’90s. Think: just a few of your friends or family members taking it easy at home on a Friday, having taco or pizza night — nothing fancy, no big to-do, just vibes. Essential building blocks of a successful fredagsmys include comfy clothes, mood lighting, good company, your favorite indulgent comfort foods, and a trashy TV show on in the background.

Julmys, glöggmys — Christmas coziness, mulled wine coziness

This has a similar vibe to fredagsmys, except replace tacos and pizza with mulled wine, gingerbread, Christmas songs and perhaps some sort of crafty activity, like making Christmas decorations. It’s assumed that this will be a low-key night with close family or a few friends, taking it easy and getting into the holiday spirit.

Frukostmys — breakfast coziness

Alternatively, mysfrukost (cozy breakfast). This implies a long and relaxed breakfast, with no rush to get to the day’s activities. Breakfast can come with all the additional trimmings, like juice, smoothies, fresh bread and even candles.

Familjemys — family coziness

“I can’t today, we’re having familjemys” is something you may hear from a Swede. This refers to quality time you reserve to just be with your family doing cozy stuff together, ideally with no phones or distractions.

Helgmys — weekend coziness

This is basically Fredagsmys, but extended to the whole weekend. Helgmys might specifically refer to a cute get-together that takes place during the weekend.

Höstmys, vintermys (autumn coziness, winter coziness)

Mys in the fall, mys in the winter. You can have mys in the spring and summer too (vårmys and sommarmys, respectively), but those concepts are less common — probably because the warmer weather is less compatible with things like lit fireplaces, blankets, hot drinks and candles.

Tjejmys — girl coziness

A specific kind of mys that you reserve for a girl’s night out or in, preferably involving lots of food and drink.

Vuxenmys — adult coziness

With this word, maybe you’re thinking, “Great, I can create my own Swedish ‘mys-word’ and want to use this word for a mature cozy get-together with other fellow grown-ups.” A word of warning is called for, however, as vuxenmys means “sex.”

How about learning some Swedish?
Author Headshot
Steph Koyfman
Steph is a writer, lindy hopper, and astrologer. She’s also a language enthusiast who grew up bilingual and had an early love affair with books. She has mostly proved herself as a New Yorker, and she can introduce herself in Swedish thanks to Babbel. She also speaks Russian and Spanish, but she’s a little rusty on those fronts.
Steph is a writer, lindy hopper, and astrologer. She’s also a language enthusiast who grew up bilingual and had an early love affair with books. She has mostly proved herself as a New Yorker, and she can introduce herself in Swedish thanks to Babbel. She also speaks Russian and Spanish, but she’s a little rusty on those fronts.

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