In a snappy episode of their incredibly informative whiteboard series for Mental Floss, linguist Arika Okrent and illustrator Sean O’Neill verbally and visually explain the etymological origins of the word “cool”, specifically how its connotative use has essentially remained the same within the English language for centuries. In other words, how cool stayed so cool for so long.
It’s hep, it’s groovy, it’s outta sight. It’s the word ‘cool.’ It’s not only all of those other things, but unlike those other words, it doesn’t sound dated at all. Slang hardly ever manages that trick. How did ‘cool’ stay cool?