Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

How many times per day do you think natives use the word “cool”?  They use it all of the time. That’s why this is a great word for you to learn how to use in natural English conversation situations.


Today we have a question from a listener:

Hi Lindsay & Michelle,

Hope you guys are doing great.

I am a regular listener of your podcasts. For me you are one of the best English language teachers that I ever had in my life. I will always remain indebted to you for whatever I have learnt from your podcasts. But I guess, I am not a good student as I keep bothering you with my questions.

Today also I have question for you. I just want to know the different ways in which the word ‘cool’ is used as a slang word & what it actually means in each case. My question may sound funny to you but I am asking it because I think the usage of word cool as a slang isn’t so common in British English that we follow in our country (India) so many of us aren’t aware of its usage.

It would be great if you could make an episode on that.

Have a nice weekend!



From India


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Let’s define “cool”:

It means great or fine.

It could also mean that you are very good at something or that you are clever.

It could also be used to say that something is acceptable or okay.


Here are a few examples which I have picked from your previous episodes:

1) In-N-out burger is cool in California but Mc Donald’s isn’t so cool. 

  • In this case cool means “ in style” or “well liked” or “hip.”  So we are saying that McDonalds isn’t “hip.”

2) Americans are cool 

  • We need more context for this but it probably means that Americans are “hip.”

3) That’s kind of cool.

-other ways to say this: “that’s awesome” “that’s amazing:” “that’s pretty cool”


4) Also what do Americans mean when they say someone isn’t cool. Do they mean he/she is boring, not fashionable, studious, reserved etc.

  • They mean that the person isn’t inside a social circle, is considered an outsider, is weird, is not and insider so they could be studious, reserved, not fashionable but they aren’t saying that exactly.
  • Cool is an umbrella term. A lot of other things could go under it.

5) Also what are the alternative ways of saying the same. I know we can’t say ‘someone is hot’ as it conveys an altogether different meaning.

  • It depends on what you’re trying to say:
    • Overly bookish: a nerd, a dork
    • Not fashionable- not put together, a fashion disaster
    • Boring: dull, personality of a brick


Do you have any questions from today?

Let us know in the comments below.


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