Cool vs. Cold: What's the Difference?
"Cool" refers to a mild, pleasantly reduced temperature, while "cold" indicates an absence or markedly reduced warmth, often uncomfortably so.
Cool and cold are adjectives often used to describe temperature, but with different degrees of intensity.
"Cool" is typically a moderate reduction in temperature, suggesting comfort or a refreshing change. For instance, a cool breeze on a warm day can be invigorating. On the other hand, "cold" represents a more significant drop in temperature and can be associated with the absence of warmth. Cold temperatures often require bundling up or finding heat sources.
While "cool" can also be used in contexts denoting style or composure (e.g., "He's a cool guy"), "cold" might describe a lack of emotion or distance (e.g., "She gave him a cold stare").
It's worth noting that both words possess a certain fluidity in their application. What feels cool to one person might be cold to another, emphasizing the subjective nature of these descriptors.
Moderate reduction in temperature
Marked reduction, often uncomfortably so
Often positive (refreshing)
Neutral or negative (lacking warmth)
Calm, composed, stylish
Describing mild temperatures or demeanor
Referring to colder temperatures or aloofness
Slightly chilly, comfortable
Uncomfortably or noticeably cold
Cool and Cold Definitions
Neither warm nor very cold; moderately cold.
The water was cool to the touch.
Having a low or noticeably reduced temperature.
The weather outside is cold.
Calmness and composure, especially in stressful situations.
She remained cool under pressure.
Lacking affection or warmth; impersonal or distant.
He received a cold reception at the party.
Fashionably attractive or impressive.
That new movie was really cool!
Characterized by lifelessness or absence of passion.
The trail for the criminal went cold.
Marked by deliberate avoidance of enthusiasm or excitement.
He gave a cool response to the news.
A viral infection primarily affecting the nose and throat.
She's home with a cold today.
A slang term often used to express agreement or acceptance.
Can you help me? Yeah, cool.
Having a low temperature
Neither warm nor very cold; moderately cold
Fresh, cool water.
A cool autumn evening.
Being at a temperature that is less than what is required or what is normal
Giving or suggesting relief from heat
A cool breeze.
A cool blouse.
Chilled by refrigeration or ice
Marked by calm self-control
A cool negotiator.
Feeling no warmth; uncomfortably chilled
We were cold sitting by the drafty windows.
Marked by indifference, disdain, or dislike; unfriendly or unresponsive
A cool greeting.
Was cool to the idea of higher taxes.
Appearing to be dead; unconscious
Found him out cold on the floor.
Of, relating to, or characteristic of colors, such as blue and green, that produce the impression of coolness.
Was cold in his grave.
Knowledgeable or aware of the latest trends or developments
Spent all his time trying to be cool.
Lacking emotion; objective
Has a cool sports car.
Had a cool time at the party.
Having little appeal to the senses or feelings
A cold decor.
It's cool if you don't want to talk about it.
Designating or being in a tone or color, such as pale gray, that suggests little warmth.
(Slang) Entire; full
Worth a cool million.
Not affectionate or friendly; aloof
A cold person.
A cold nod.
(Informal) In a casual manner; nonchalantly
Play it cool.
Exhibiting or feeling no enthusiasm
A cold audience.
A cold response to the new play.
A concert that left me cold.
To make less warm.
Devoid of sexual desire; frigid.
To make less ardent, intense, or zealous
Problems that soon cooled my enthusiasm for the project.
Having lost all freshness or vividness through passage of time
Dogs attempting to catch a cold scent.
(Physics) To reduce the molecular or kinetic energy of (an object).
So intense as to be almost uncontrollable
To become less warm
Took a dip to cool off.
Characterized by repeated failure, especially in a sport or competitive activity
The team fell into a slump of cold shooting.
To become calmer
Needed time for tempers to cool.
To an unqualified degree; totally
Was cold sober.
A cool place, part, or time
The cool of early morning.
With complete finality
We turned him down cold.
The state or quality of being cool.
Without advance preparation or introduction
Took the exam cold and passed.
Walked in cold and got the new job.
"Our release marked a victory. The nation had kept its cool" (Moorhead Kennedy).
Relative lack of warmth
Cold slows down chemical reactions.
Having a slightly low temperature; mildly or pleasantly cold.
The sensation resulting from lack of warmth; chill.
Allowing or suggesting heat relief.
Linen has made cool and breathable clothing for millennia.
A condition of low air temperature; cold weather
Went out into the cold and got a chill.
Of a color, in the range of violet to green.
If you have a reddish complexion, you should mainly wear cool colors.
A viral infection characterized by inflammation of the mucous membranes lining the upper respiratory passages and usually accompanied by malaise, fever, chills, coughing, and sneezing. Also called common cold, coryza.
Of a person, not showing emotion; calm and in control of oneself.
(of a thing) Having a low temperature.
A cold wind whistled through the trees.
Unenthusiastic, lukewarm, skeptical.
His proposals had a cool reception.
(of the weather) Causing the air to be cold.
The forecast is that it will be very cold today.
In control as always, he came up with a cool plan.
(of a person or animal) Feeling the sensation of coldness, especially to the point of discomfort.
She was so cold she was shivering.
Applied facetiously to a sum of money, commonly as if to give emphasis to the largeness of the amount.
Unfriendly; emotionally distant or unfeeling.
She shot me a cold glance before turning her back.
(informal) Of a person, knowing what to do and how to behave; considered popular by others.
Dispassionate; not prejudiced or partisan; impartial.
Let's look at this tomorrow with a cold head.
He's a nice guy, but the cold facts say we should fire him.
The cold truth is that states rarely undertake military action unless their national interests are at stake.
(informal) In fashion and fancy, part of or befitting the most leading trends and habits of the in crowd; originally hipster slang.
Completely unprepared; without introduction.
He was assigned cold calls for the first three months.
(informal) Of an action, all right; acceptable; that does not present a problem.
Is it cool if I sleep here tonight?
Unconscious or deeply asleep; deprived of the metaphorical heat associated with life or consciousness.
I knocked him out cold.
After one more beer he passed out cold.
(informal) Very interesting or exciting.
I think astronomy is really cool.
(usually with "have" or "know" transitively) Perfectly, exactly, completely; by heart; down pat.
Practice your music scales until you know them cold.
Try both these maneuvers until you have them cold and can do them in the dark without thinking.
Rehearse your lines until you have them down cold.
Keep that list in front of you, or memorize it cold.
(informal) (followed by with) Able to tolerate; to be fine with.
I'm completely cool with my girlfriend leaving me.
(usually with "have" transitively) Cornered; done for.
With that receipt, we have them cold for fraud.
Criminal interrogation. Initially they will dream up explanations faster than you could ever do so, but when they become fatigued, often they will acknowledge that you have them cold.
(informal) (of a pair of people) holding no grudge against one another; having no beef.
We're cool, right?
(obsolete) Not pungent or acrid.
(sarcastic) (of an act or situation)'' annoying, irritating.
(obsolete) Unexciting; dull; uninteresting.
A moderate or refreshing state of cold; moderate temperature of the air between hot and cold; coolness.
In the cool of the morning
Affecting the sense of smell (as of hunting dogs) only feebly; having lost its odour.
A cold scent
A calm temperament.
(obsolete) Not sensitive; not acute.
The property of being cool, popular or in fashion.
Distant; said, in the game of hunting for some object, of a seeker remote from the thing concealed. Compare warm and hot.
You're cold … getting warmer … hot! You've found it!
To lose heat, to get colder.
I like to let my tea cool before drinking it so I don't burn my tongue.
(painting) Having a bluish effect; not warm in colour.
To make cooler, less warm.
(databases) Rarely used or accessed, and thus able to be relegated to slower storage.
To become less intense, e.g. less amicable or passionate.
Relations cooled between the USA and the USSR after 1980.
(informal) Without compassion; heartless; ruthless.
I can't believe she said that...that was cold!
To make less intense, e.g. less amicable or passionate.
(informal) Not radioactive.
(transitive) To kill.
(firearm) Not loaded with a round of live ammunition.
Moderately cold; between warm and cold; lacking in warmth; producing or promoting coolness.
Fanned with cool winds.
Without electrical power being supplied.
Not ardent, warm, fond, or passionate; not hasty; deliberate; exercising self-control; self-possessed; dispassionate; indifferent; as, a cool lover; a cool debater.
For a patriot, too cool.
A condition of low temperature.
Come in, out of the cold.
Not retaining heat; light; as, a cool dress.
A harsh place; a place of abandonment.
The former politician was left out in the cold after his friends deserted him.
Manifesting coldness or dislike; chilling; apathetic; as, a cool manner.
(medicine) A common, usually harmless, viral illness, usually with congestion of the nasal passages and sometimes fever.
I caught a miserable cold and had to stay home for a week
Quietly impudent; negligent of propriety in matters of minor importance, either ignorantly or willfully; presuming and selfish; audacious; as, cool behavior.
Its cool stare of familiarity was intolerable.
(slang) rheum, sleepy dust
Applied facetiously, in a vague sense, to a sum of money, commonly as if to give emphasis to the largeness of the amount.
He had lost a cool hundred.
Leaving a cool thousand to Mr. Matthew Pocket.
At a low temperature.
The steel was processed cold.
A moderate state of cold; coolness; - said of the temperature of the air between hot and cold; as, the cool of the day; the cool of the morning or evening.
The speaker went in cold and floundered for a topic.
To make cool or cold; to reduce the temperature of; as, ice cools water.
Send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue.
In a cold, frank, or realistically honest manner.
To moderate the heat or excitement of; to allay, as passion of any kind; to calm; to moderate.
We have reason to cool our raging motions, our carnal stings, our unbitted lusts.
Deprived of heat, or having a low temperature; not warm or hot; gelid; frigid.
To become less hot; to lose heat.
I saw a smith stand with his hammer, thus,the whilst his iron did on the anvil cool.
Lacking the sensation of warmth; suffering from the absence of heat; chilly; shivering; as, to be cold.
To lose the heat of excitement or passion; to become more moderate.
I will not give myself liberty to think, lest I should cool.
Not pungent or acrid.
The quality of being cool;
The cool of early morning
Wanting in ardor, intensity, warmth, zeal, or passion; spiritless; unconcerned; reserved.
A cold and unconcerned spectator.
No cold relation is a zealous citizen.
Great coolness and composure under strain;
Keep your cool
Unwelcome; disagreeable; unsatisfactory.
Make cool or cooler;
Chill the food
Wanting in power to excite; dull; uninteresting.
What a deal of cold business doth a man misspend the better part of life in!
The jest grows cold . . . when in comes on in a second scene.
The air cooled considerably after the thunderstorm
Affecting the sense of smell (as of hunting dogs) but feebly; having lost its odor; as, a cold scent.
His enthusiasm cooled considerably
Not sensitive; not acute.
Smell this business with a sense as coldAs is a dead man's nose.
Neither warm or very cold; giving relief from heat;
A cool autumn day
A cool room
Cool summer dresses
A cool breeze
Distant; - said, in the game of hunting for some object, of a seeker remote from the thing concealed.
Marked by calm self-control (especially in trying circumstances); unemotional;
Play it cool
Stayed coolheaded in the crisis
The most nerveless winner in the history of the tournament
Having a bluish effect. Cf. Warm, 8.
He was slain in cold blood after the fight was over.
(color) inducing the impression of coolness; used especially of greens and blues and violets;
Cool greens and blues and violets
The relative absence of heat or warmth.
Psychologically cool and unenthusiastic; unfriendly or unresponsive or showing dislike;
Relations were cool and polite
A cool reception
Cool to the idea of higher taxes
The sensation produced by the escape of heat; chilliness or chillness.
When she saw her lord prepared to part,A deadly cold ran shivering to her heart.
Used of a number or sum and meaning without exaggeration or qualification;
A cool million bucks
A morbid state of the animal system produced by exposure to cold or dampness; a catarrh.
Fashionable and attractive at the time; often skilled or socially adept;
He's a cool dude
Mary's dress is really cool
It's not cool to arrive at a party too early
To become cold.
A mild viral infection involving the nose and respiratory passages (but not the lungs);
Will they never find a cure for the common cold?
The absence of heat;
The coldness made our breath visible
Come in out of the cold
Cold is a vasoconstrictor
The sensation produced by low temperatures;
He shivered from the cold
The cold helped clear his head
Used of physical coldness; having a low or inadequate temperature or feeling a sensation of coldness or having been made cold by e.g. ice or refrigeration;
A cold climate
A cold room
Dinner has gotten cold
If you are cold, turn up the heat
A cold beer
Extended meanings; especially of psychological coldness; without human warmth or emotion;
A cold unfriendly nod
A cold and unaffectionate person
A cold impersonal manner
The concert left me cold
Having lost freshness through passage of time;
A cold trail
Dogs attempting to catch a cold scent
(color) giving no sensation of warmth;
A cold bluish gray
Marked by errorless familiarity;
Had her lines cold before rehearsals started
No longer new; uninteresting;
Cold (or stale) news
So intense as to be almost uncontrollable;
Cold fury gripped him
Was cold to his advances
A frigid woman
Without compunction or human feeling;
In cold blood
Feeling or showing no enthusiasm;
A cold audience
A cold response to the new play
Unconscious from a blow or shock or intoxication;
The boxer was out cold
Pass out cold
Of a seeker; far from the object sought
Lacking the warmth of life;
Cold in his grave
Can "cool" be a noun?
Yes, e.g., "Stay in the cool of the shade."
What does "out in the cold" mean?
It means being excluded or neglected.
Is "cold" always about temperature?
No, it can describe demeanor, like "a cold attitude."
Can "cool" mean popular?
Yes, especially in slang, like "That's a cool song!"
Is "cool" always positive?
Not always. "Cool reception" might mean a lukewarm or unenthusiastic response.
Can food be described as "cool"?
Yes, like "a cool drink" or "cool salad."
How does "cool down" differ from "cool"?
"Cool down" is a verb meaning to reduce in temperature or intensity.
Can "cold" refer to colors?
Yes, "cold colors" are those like blue or gray that suggest coldness.
Can "cool" describe fashion?
Yes, indicating something stylish or trendy.
Is "stone-cold" about actual stones?
No, it's an intensifier meaning absolutely or completely cold.
Can "cool" describe a person's demeanor?
Yes, like "He's a cool, collected individual."
Is "cold-hearted" about temperature?
No, it describes someone unfeeling or unsympathetic.
What's a "cold case"?
It's an unsolved crime, especially one that's no longer being investigated.
What's a "cold shoulder"?
It's a phrase meaning to ignore or snub someone.
How does "cool off" differ from "cool down"?
They're similar, but "cool off" can also mean calming down after anger.
Can "cold" be used in positive contexts?
Sometimes, like "cold cash" meaning actual money in hand.
Does "cool as a cucumber" involve cucumbers?
No, it's a phrase meaning very calm and composed.
What does "cold feet" mean?
It's a phrase meaning to lose confidence or back out of a commitment.
Can "cool" mean calm?
Yes, like "He kept a cool head in the crisis."
Is "cold snap" a quick movement?
No, it means a sudden and brief spell of cold weather.
Written bySawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited bySumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.