Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hot and Cool

Back in the 1920s the term, "Hot" became slang for something - or someone - fashionable and attractive. It may have originally been derived from the phrase, "Hot off the presses," shouted by newsboys on the streets. People in the generation that was young then continued to use it for many years.
But the next generation didn't want to be like their parents, so they developed the opposite term, "cool," to be used with the same meaning.
Over the years both terms have become accepted parts of the English language and are both still currently used, with slight changes in meaning. "Hot" is now used mostly with regard to physical attractiveness or things that are extreme. "Cool" is so common that the meaning has become mild and it's often a synonym for "okay."
I wonder if a different word regarding temperature will someday become the new slang for things that were once called hot or cool. "Cold" already has a different connotation so that probably won't do.
Maybe the new term will be "luke."


J. Aday Kennedy's A Writing Playground said...

I took a class in college, linguistics. It's an interesting subject. Some things bug me like when my nephew was referred to as a pimp. That's supposed to be a ladies - man.
J. Aday Kennedy
The Differently-Abled Writer & Speaker
Children's Author of Klutzy Kantor & Marta Gargantuan Wings

Janet Ann Collins said...

Thank you, J. Aday. Even though I was an English major I took lots of Linguistics classes in college just for fun. It certainly is an interesting science.