We've got a new game on Kickstarter now called Cool Cool Cool. It's a slightly unhinged slap game of affirmative slang words for adults and families.
We're picking words in our game that started as one meaning and became popularized to mean something else. Words that are affirmations, roll off the tongue easily, and feel kind of great when you shout them or hear them. Words that are slang: in that they are coinages, arbitrarily changed words, and extravagant, facetious figures of speech, as Miriam Webster likes to say.
Let's talk about the words in the game starting with the word : Cool.
The word Cool is of Germanic origins, related to the dutch word koel. Its first known use was before the 12th century and is defined to mean moderately cold and lacking in warmth. Today, most of us use this word in so many different ways, which inspired the game.
Cool has so many different meanings that In the game there are three different cards: Cool, Cool Cool and Cool Cool Cool. I love the illustrations Mac Schubert did for this series of cards. We talked about temperature, different uses of the word, and archetypes to play with. Cool: Temperature and sereneness, Cool Cool: the risk-taking and steady dispassionate attitude of ripping a trail right through a flock of birds, and Cool Cool Cool: all the wonderful cant put your finger on aspects of being cool along with the trope of sunglasses for good measure.
How did this word evolve to mean something other than temperature?
Cool is a commonly used part of African American Vernacular English (AAVE). The way we use Cool as a coinage today originated in it's use by African Americans as early as in 1884. We're not linguists, but game designers who became a little fascinated with words. Research is one of my favorite aspects of game design, so here's a few articles I found interesting and informative: The Birth of Cool, How Did Cool Become Such a Big Deal
What is it that you find cool?