Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

temperature and personality in English

Do you ever hear somebody say that something is “cool” in English?

Is this hard to understand because you’re thinking of something being “cold” in terms of temperature?

Do you want to understand the difference and be able to use both correctly?

We’re going to look at what is cool, and how that varies from something being cold.

Here’s a letter from a listener that really highlights this point that you probably have thought about.


Hello AEE team I am Minhaj. I love All Ears English and I hope you all are doing well. Thanks for your invaluable work. A question poped up in my mind,  the question is what is the difference between cool and cold. Please share the different uses of these two words. Thank you

Minhaj (India)


Understanding The Difference Between A Definition and Slang

There are many different examples of a word that has a true definition which is also a slang term.

“Cold” and “cool” are just two words that share in this situation, and you want to know how to use them each appropriately.

There are a couple different ways these words are used.

You want to be sure that these definitions and the way you use them are clear, as they can help you to make connections.


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Definitions and Differences

Let’s start by breaking down and understanding the different ways that “cold” and “cool” may be used.

  1. Temperature: The temperature outside or of food are the most common. You would be most likely to hear cold used hear, but cool can be appropriate as well.
    1. Cold: This is likely to be something that somebody says if it’s really cold, like in the winter time. It can also indicate that the food is cold, usually not in a positive way.
      1. “I just can’t take the cold and the snow of wintertime.”
      2. “My soup is cold, so I need to send it back.”
    2. Cool: This usually means it’s not quite as cold, so it’s a bit chilly or not as warm as it was perhaps earlier in the day. It’s a more moderate level of temperature, in both weather and temperature of something like food. It may not indicate something as negative or severe.
      1. “It’s a little cool outside, you may want to grab a jacket for this evening.”
      2. “This pasta isn’t hot, it seems to have cooled down a bit.”


  1. Personality or Situation: Something is really enjoyable or positive in nature. This describes something that makes you happy or appeals to you in some way. 
    1. Cool: It’s usually used to describe somebody that you like being around, or something that you enjoy.
      1. “I really like him, he’s such a cool guy and so much fun to be around.”
      2. “That book was cool, I read it so fast because I enjoyed it so much.”
    2. Cold: This usually means that the person is kind of standoffish, uncomfortable, or not very nice. For an environment or situation, it can mean that things are a bit stark and lacking any personality.
      1. “I don’t feel good around her, she’s so cold and I don’t know how to read her.”
      2. “This rooms is cold, it needs a little something to give it personality.”


Take It One Step Further

There are other words that can mean the same thing.

This isn’t to add to the confusion, but it allows you to have options when you select your words in conversation.

Knowing how to use these words in English can really help you to make connections.

Other words for cool and cold include:

  • Cool: Awesome, neat, fun, warm, and chilly
  • Cold: Stale, unfriendly, standoffish, and freezing
  • You might say that somebody is “cool as a cucumber”
  • You could say that a person is “cold as ice”



Sometimes words that seem similar can have very different meanings.

“Cold” and “cool” are perfect examples of something that sounds alike but may have different meanings or uses.

Sometimes similar words are the SAME or different sounding words have a very similar meaning!

Listen for words in context, and ask for help if you need it.

Practice using any of these common words in your conversations.

These words, both in their true definition and in their slang use, help you to build confidence and make connections.


If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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