Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Top 5 Words for "Cool" That Deserve a Comeback

Ever since jazz great Lester "The President" Young coined the word "cool" to mean something good, people have been coming up with other words and phrases to mean the same.  Here are the top 5 of those words which have come and gone, but deserve a comeback!  The vids are the best I could find of people using these words...  Some are pretty bizarre.  (I get a kick out of these folks doubling their views out of the blue too, so that's cool, err, radical!)

5: Def - There was one brief, glorious moment where everything was def.  Poetry jams, comedy, even rappers (of whom, the most def was Mos Def, obviously).  Then in an instant, it was gone, supplanted by fresh, and phat, and others.  But we remember you, def, and we miss you...  (Couldn't find a vid of this one--can you believe it?  Will Smith said "def" about 8 million times during the run of The Fresh Prince of Bel Aire, but I can't find a single one.)

4: Phat - You knew the time for this word to fall into disuse had come when people started saying, "that's phat with a 'p-h.'"  They literally clarified their statement so people wouldn't think they meant the new song or movie or pizza shop or whatever was being referred to was overweight.  So sad.  Well, we still have Baby Phat, right?  Time to bring it back, sans spelling lesson.

3: Excellent - From Bill and Ted to Wayne and Garth to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles--there was a time in the 90s where this was the word to use for all positive happenings.  This needs to be used sparingly, but needs to be used nonetheless.

2: Rad - It's 80s surfer slang, and while it's still occasionally used on the west coast of the U.S., it needs to be brought back into full circulation.  Say the word "radical" in its entirety if something's really, really cool.

1: Dope - It started as street slang, but quickly went mainstream. It had staying power too--"dope" kept in the vernacular while countless others entered and passed from common usage.  What's best is that we really can bring this one back.  Say it: "Dope."  Now say something is dope--look around your room, find an object, and say that object is dope: "That Halloween jack-o-lantern that I still haven't put away is dope."  Now say it with authority about something abstract, and maybe add a curse word: "Damn that shit is dope!" Now you've got it.  Let's bring it back.

Noticeably absent from the list is "tubular."  Don't.  Just don't.  If you have any rad comments about words that mean "cool," share them below.  And share this with your friends on Facebook--they'll think you're dope!


  1. Hmmmm... I think I'd put "chill" ahead of Def.  Easier to say and I like the "relaxed" connotation.  Maybe

  2. I'm surprised you don't know why "Def" isn't used anymore. Rick Rubin had an official funeral for the word "Def" as an adjective back in the mid 90's. His recording label was named Def American and changed its name to "American" to mark this occasion. Apparently when you have a funeral for a word, it makes it set in stone. You might be able to find the old MTV News footage.

  3. Never heard that before, but I love it!  Thanks for sharing!

  4. It works, but chill is still being used as "calm down," so it could get confusing.

  5. Remember the movie "Rad" it was a bicycle racing movie with laurie laughlin. It truly was Rad!

  6. Dope is back mannnn
    -18 year old

  7. I'm just happy that 'beast' didn't catch on. Made me retch every time I heard it said. "Oh man, that was beast!" *shudder*

  8. Yeah, that's TERRIBLE. It need not rear its ugly head again...