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25 Cool Words to Know in English

Updated on November 10, 2023LifestyleWriting Tips

The English language is varied, beautiful, and sometimes confusing with its inclusion of non-phonetically spelled words and complex grammatical rules. However, it also has many unusual and cool words with cool meanings to discover.

Here, we dive into some of our favorite words, with definitions and examples.

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What is a cool word?

What makes a word cool is subjective, but they are often synonymous with interesting or unique words. Cool words in the English language can be phonetically intriguing, have an unusual meaning, or be spelled in a surprising way.

25 cool words to know in English

Whether you want to add unusual words to your lexicon or are writing your debut novel, here’s a list of 25 unique and beautiful words.

1 Abracadabra

Pronounced: a-bruh-kuh-DA-bruh Part of speech: noun Meaning: A command or incantation that is spoken by magicians to enact a magic trick

He said, “Abracadabra” and doves flew out of his top hat!

2 Amok

Pronounced: uh-MUHK Part of speech: adverb Meaning: A violent and uncontrolled frenzy

The dogs ran amok all over the house, splattering the carpet and sofa with mud.

Amok can be a tricky word to spell and has another version, amuck, which isn’t used as commonly.

3 Anemone

Pronounced: uh-NEH-muh-nee Part of speech: noun Meaning: A genus of perennials with attractive flowers in the buttercup family of plants

In the garden bed along the front yard, I think Japanese anemones would complement the color of the house.

4 Brouhaha

Pronounced: BROO-haa-haa Part of speech: noun Meaning: A commotion or uproar

The latest company announcement stirred a brouhaha among members of the team.

5 Calliope

Pronounced: kuh-LIE-uh-pee Part of speech: noun Meaning: The Greek muse of epic poetry. It can also describe an organ-like musical instrument.

It’s as if Calliope herself guided my hand as I wrote.

6 Clandestine

Pronounced: klan-DEH-stin Part of speech: adjective Meaning: Something conducted in secret

The ancient books revealed the existence of a clandestine society with mystical powers.

7 Doppelgänger

Pronounced: DAH-pul-gang-er Part of speech: noun Meaning: A double of a person; having a keen resemblance between two otherwise unrelated persons.

I saw Eloise’s doppelgänger at the grocery store yesterday.

8 Earwig

Pronounced: EER-wig Part of speech: verb Meaning: To whisper in someone’s ear as a means to persuade or irritate them

Her daughter followed her around the house, repeating the earwig: “We should adopt the cat.”

9 Euphoria

Pronounced: yoo-FORE-ee-uh Part of speech: noun Meaning: An intense feeling of elation, excitement, or pleasure

Her euphoria after being accepted into medical school was so great that she couldn’t sit still.

10 Fisticuffs

Pronounced: FI-sti-kuhfs Part of speech: plural noun Meaning: A physical fight or altercation using fists

The verbal argument escalated to fisticuffs as passersby recorded the confrontation.

11 Gizmo

Pronounced: GIZ-moe Part of speech: noun Meaning: A word to describe a small device or gadget whose name is unknown

The inventor showed off his latest gizmo, a pocket-sized contraption that translates dog vocalizations into human language.

12 Gossamer

Pronounced: GAH-suh-mr Part of speech: noun Meaning: Something delicate or insubstantial

The gossamer spiderweb was stretched between three branches.

13 Hodgepodge

Pronounced: HAAJ-paaj Part of speech: noun Meaning: A mix or jumble of various items

The potluck was a hodgepodge of flavors, from spaghetti to pan-fried pork dumplings.

14 Kismet

Pronounced: KIZ-met Part of speech: noun Meaning: Preordained by a force of fate or destiny

Encountering them felt like kismet—had I not gotten out of class early, I never would have wandered into that bookstore, bumping into them.

Some who describes love at first sight might also consider it a matter of kismet.

15 Malarkey

Pronounced: muh-LAR-kee Part of speech: noun Meaning: Speaking foolishness, nonsense, or insincerely

He dismissed the sales associate’s claims as malarkey, doubting their truthfulness.

16 Oomph

Pronounced: oomf Part of speech: noun Meaning: A colloquial word to describe vitality or impact

The singer’s performance lacked oomph, leaving a lull in the audience’s energy.

17 Portmanteau

Pronounced: port-MAN-toe Part of speech: noun Meaning: A combination of two or more words or word parts

Fun fact: Brunch isn’t only the best mealtime of the week, it’s also a portmanteau of “breakfast” and “lunch.”

18 Jabberwocky

Pronounced: JA-bur-waa-kee Part of speech: noun Meaning: Meaningless or nonsensical made-up language or words.

The toddler entertained everyone with jabberwocky that only she could understand.

19 Macabre

Pronounced: muh-KAAB Part of speech: adjective Meaning: Something gruesome, unsettling or disturbing, typically involving death

The abandoned house had a macabre atmosphere, with broken windows and deteriorating roof.

Probably originating from the Old French word macabé, it’s on our top list of spookiest words.

20 Nomenclature

Pronounced: NOE-muhn-klay-chr Part of speech: noun Meaning: The process of naming; a system or set of words and symbols in a certain field of study.

Dr. Owens meticulously studied the nomenclature of bird species, so each one is accurately classified and named according to the new standards.

21 Peewee

Pronounced: PEE-wee Part of speech: noun Meaning: Small in size, particularly a small child

Jeanie loves her peewee soccer team and looks forward to practice every day.

22 Quibble

Pronounced: KWI-bl Part of speech: verb Meaning: To complain or fixate on a trivial or small detail to avoid the main point of an argument  

Instead of addressing our deeper communication issues, he quibbled over the marinara sauce.

23 Quintessential

Pronounced: kwin-tuh-SEN-chl Part of speech: adjective Meaning: A precise and typical representation of something or someone

He was the epitome of a quintessential New Yorker—brazenly weaving through oncoming traffic.

24 Umbra

Pronounced: UHM-bruh Part of speech: noun Meaning: A cone-shaped shadow caused by an opaque object blocking the light from a single source

When the solar eclipse began, those of us in the umbra actually felt the air get cooler.

25 Wunderkind

Pronounced: VUN-der-kint Part of speech: noun Meaning: Typically, a young person or child with exceptional talent or skill in a particular field

The young point guard was considered a wunderkind, impressing college basketball recruiters with their sharp ball-handling.

Incorporating cool words into your writing

Expand your word bank by weaving these unusual words into your next writing project or by using them in everyday conversation. If you come across a word that sounds beautiful, has an unexpected meaning, or is spelled in a surprising way, add it to your own personal list of cool words to draw from while writing.

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