"cool" dates back to WW2. how cool is that?

Ding, Kylie (KAM.RIC) Kylie.Ding at us.kline.com
Sat Sep 4 01:15:17 EDT 2004

Oh yeah, I remember that fromt he 80s.


-----Original Message-----
From: Ros Gross [mailto:roslyngross at hotmail.com]
Sent: Friday, 3 September 2004 9:17 PM
To: dwj at suberic.net
Subject: RE: "cool" dates back to WW2. how cool is that?

Do any other Aussies remember how "grouse" meant "great" or "cool" back in the late 70s? At least, it was used by high school kids back then in Melbourne. Maybe it was used elsewhere as well?



>I'm only 24 myself, but I was pretty sure that "cool" is not a 

>*recent* slang word... so I checked online, and got this from 
>Our Living Language: The usage of cool as a general positive epithet 
>or interjection has been part and parcel of English slang since 
>World War II, and has even been borrowed into other languages, such 
>as French and German. Originally this sense is a development from a 
>Black English usage meaning "excellent, superlative," first recorded 
>in written English in the early 1930s. Jazz musicians who used the 
>term are responsible for its popularization during the 1940s. As a 
>slang word expressing generally positive sentiment, it has stayed 
>current (and cool) far longer than most such words. One of the main 
>characteristics of slang is the continual renewal of its vocabulary 
>and storehouse of expressions: in order for slang to stay slangy, it 
>has to have a feeling of novelty. Slang expressions meaning the same 
>thing as cool, like bully, capital, hot, groovy, hep, crazy, 
>nervous, far-out, rad, and tubular have for the most part not had 
>the staying power or continued universal appeal of cool. In general 
>there is no intrinsic reason why one word stays alive and others get 
>consigned to the scrapheap of linguistic history; slang terms are 
>like fashion designs, constantly changing and never "in" for long. 
>The jury is still out on how long newer expressions of approval such 
>as def and phat will survive. 
>On Sep 2, 2004, at 8:04 AM, Aimee Smith wrote: 
>>(Ponders briefly and wonders whether, if it wasn't obvious, whether 
>>should give herself away...) 
>>Spot on, Minnow! 'Cool' was the word (the other option was 
>>'awesome' though 
>>I thought that a little strong for my purposes), I thought 'cool' 
>>was age 
>>specific, as everyone I knew growing up in the 90s used it. A lot. 
>>As their 
>>parents, who apparently grew up when it was first(?) used, rolled 
>>their eyes 
>>and winced. Similar reaction when my father hears one of his 
>>daughters refer 
>>to a female as a 'chick', or express an interest in Abba. 
>>Funny, he didn't protest about us all inheriting his love of 
>>Aimee, who was 20 in March. 
>>(Who thanks to Dad is a Trekkie and despite Dad is an Abba fan). 
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