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54 Cool Words to Liven Up Your Vocabulary

These English words sound sharp, look unique, and will come in handy more often than you'd think.

English is a pretty interesting and complicated language. It consists of plenty of words that look like they should rhyme but don't, some that are spelled the same but pronounced differently, and others that aren't pronounced at all like they're written. And with about 170,000 words in current use, these oddities aren't exactly easy to pin down. But within all of that confusion are some pretty cool words that are worth knowing. So keep reading, because we're eager to introduce you to a few new words (and their definitions) that won't only help you feel smarter but sound smarter, too.

RELATED: The 60 Most Beautiful Words in the English Language—And How to Use Them.

What Is a Cool Word?

Dubbing something "cool" is somewhat of a subjective choice, but there are a few pieces of criteria that we can use to make the determination. Words that possess unique or interesting definitions are often considered cool. Others that are spelled in ways you may not expect fall under this umbrella, as well. It's also pretty cool for words to contain lots of vowels or letters that aren't frequently used, like j, q, or z. And finally, if a word sounds cool, with sharp, loud, or long sounds, it probably is cool.

Cool Words With Deep Meanings

young woman searching for cool words in the dictionary
Orathai Mayoeh/Shutterstock

1. Doublespeak

Pronunciation: DUH-buhl-speek
Part of speech: Noun
Meaning: Intentionally saying one thing that might mean something else.

"We need real answers from him, not just condescending doublespeak."

2. Eidetic

Pronunciation: eye-DET-ik
Part of speech: Adjective
Meaning: A description of visual input that's reproducible with detail and accuracy.

"She possessed an eidetic memory, recalling every detail of the painting even after just a glance."

3. Eschew

Pronunciation: uh-SHOO
Part of speech: Verb
Meaning: To deliberately avoid using something or to abstain from it.

"After committing to a minimalist lifestyle, she chose to eschew all unnecessary possessions and focus on experiences instead."

4. Facetious

Pronunciation: fuh-SEE-shuhs
Part of speech: Adjective
Meaning: Not serious; like sarcasm, but not always with an obvious tonal difference.

"Even in serious situations, he couldn't resist making facetious remarks."

5. Infatuation

Pronunciation: in-fa-choo-AY-shn
Part of speech: Noun
Meaning: A really strong desire to be close to someone, mostly romantically.

"They had developed a rather intense infatuation with one another."

6. Metamorphosis

Pronunciation: met-uh-MOR-fuh-sis
Part of speech: Noun
Meaning: A change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one.

"The caterpillar undergoes a remarkable metamorphosis, transforming into a beautiful butterfly with vibrant wings."

Cool-Sounding Words for Usernames

Business man relies on cool words for his username and password while logging in
Eakrin Rasadonyindee/Shutterstock

7. Bluster

Pronunciation: BLUH-stuhr
Part of speech: Noun
Meaning: Loud, aggressive, or indignant speech that has little effect.

"Despite his bluster, his arguments lacked substance and failed to convince anyone in the room."

8. Dastardly

Pronunciation: DAS-terd-lee.
Part of speech: Adjective
Meaning: Cowardly and sneaky or underhanded.

"The villain hatched a dastardly plan to take over the city and spread chaos among its inhabitants."

9. Luminary

Pronunciation: LOO-muh-nair-ee
Part of speech: Noun
Meaning: A person who inspires or influences others, especially one prominent in a particular sphere.

"He is known as a real luminary in the field, which should appeal to attendees eager to learn from the best."

10. Mellifluous

Pronunciation: muh-LI-floo-us
Part of speech: Adjective
Meaning: (Of a voice or words) sweet or musical; pleasant to hear.

"The audience was instantly captivated by the singer's mellifluous voice."

11. Nimbus

Pronunciation: NIM-buhs
Part of speech: Noun
Meaning: A luminous cloud or a halo surrounding a supernatural being or a saint.

"As the storm approached, a nimbus cloud formed overhead, signaling the impending rainfall."

12. Orbis

Pronunciation: OR-bis
Part of speech: Noun
Meaning: Circle; world. Represents wholeness and completion.

"The ancient map depicted an orbis, illustrating the limited understanding of the world at that time."

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Cool Short Words

"ink" definition in a dictionary
Casimiro PT/Shutterstock

13. Cox

Pronunciation: kaaks
Part of speech: Noun
Meaning: A person who steers a boat.

"My friend is a cox for the rowing team, always motivating the rowers during their races."

14. Fop

Pronunciation: fap
Part of speech: Noun
Meaning: A man who is excessively vain and concerned about his dress and appearance.

"Dressed in extravagant and flashy attire, he looked like a real fop amidst the casually dressed crowd."

15. Ink

Pronunciation: inc
Part of speech: Noun
Meaning: A colored fluid or paste used for writing, drawing, printing, or duplicating.

"She wanted to continue writing, but her pen ran out of ink."

16. Pun

Pronunciation: puhn
Part of speech: Noun
Meaning: A type of wordplay that exploits different meanings of a term or similar-sounding words for a humorous or rhetorical effect.

"The comedian couldn't resist inserting a clever pun into every joke."

17. Qua

Pronunciation: kwah
Part of speech: Conjunction
Meaning: In the capacity of; as being.

"He approached the project qua team effort, emphasizing collaboration and shared responsibility among all members."

18. Vex

Pronunciation: veks
Part of speech: Verb
Meaning: Make someone feel annoyed, frustrated, or worried.

"His constant complaints and negative attitude never failed to vex his colleagues, making it a tense place to work."

Cool 4-Letter Words

English alphabet in wood type

19. Coif

Pronunciation: kwahf
Part of speech: Noun
Meaning: A woman's close-fitting cap, usually worn under a veil by nuns.

"The nun carefully adjusted her coif before joining her fellow sisters for a moment of prayer."

20. Grok

Pronunciation: grak
Part of speech: Verb
Meaning: Understand something intuitively or by empathy.

"After attending the workshop, he began to truly grok the intricacies of the new software."

21. Quip

Pronunciation: kwip
Part of speech: Noun
Meaning: A witty remark or comment.

"During the meeting, he couldn't resist making a witty quip to lighten the mood."

22. Spes

Pronunciation: spez
Part of speech: Noun
Meaning: Hope; A powerful word symbolizing optimism and expectation.

"Even in challenging times, she clung to the spes that tomorrow would bring better opportunities and brighter moments."

23. Swag

Pronunciation: swag
Part of speech: Noun
Meaning: Style or confidence

"She strutted into the room with confidence, her stylish outfit and bold accessories exuding a sense of swag that caught everyone's attention."

24. Yeet

Pronunciation: yeet
Part of speech: Interjection
Meaning: An expression of excitement.

"If we're lucky, all of Wisconsin will be yelling "Yeet!" when the Packers win the Super Bowl this year."

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Fun Words With Cool Meanings

child playing with wooden alphabet blocks

25. Bibliotherapy

Pronunciation: bib-lee-uh-THAIR-uh-pee
Part of speech: Noun
Meaning: The use of books as therapy in the treatment of mental conditions.

"She turned to bibliotherapy during a difficult time, finding solace and inspiration in the pages."

26. Cacophony

Pronunciation: kuh-KAH-fuh-nee
Part of speech: Noun
Meaning: A harsh, discordant mixture of sounds.

"The marketplace was filled with a cacophony of sounds; vendors shouting, horns honking, and people bargaining."

27. Juxtaposition

Pronunciation: juhk-stuh-puh-ZISH-uhn
Part of speech: Noun
Meaning: The act or an instance of placing two or more things side by side.

"The serene park was a welcome juxtaposition to the bustling cityscape surrounding it."

28. Portmanteau

Pronunciation: port-MAN-tow
Part of speech: Noun
Meaning: A combination of two or more words or word parts

"She coined the term 'brunch' as a portmanteau of breakfast and lunch, describing the delightful mid-morning meal."

29. Tintinnabulation

Pronunciation: tin-tuh-nab-yuh-LAY-shun
Part of speech: Noun
Meaning: The ringing or sound of bells.

"As the wind rustled through the trees, a delicate tintinnabulation of wind chimes echoed in the garden"

30. Zeitgeist

Pronunciation: ZYTE-gyst
Part of speech: Noun
Meaning: The defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history as shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time.

"The music and fashion choices of people around us often reflect the current zeitgeist."

Cool English Words That Will Make You Laugh

"lol" spelled out in Scrabble letters over a white background

31. Argle-bargle

Pronunciation: AR-guhl-BAR-guhl
Part of speech: Noun
Meaning: Meaningless chatter or written words.

"The instructions for setting up my dishwasher are 48 pages of argle-bargle."

32. Bafflegab

Pronunciation: BAF-uhl-gab
Part of speech: Noun
Meaning: Confusing or generally unintelligible jargon.

"I asked the solicitor about the current prices, but all I got was more bagglegab about deferred payments and options to cancel."

33. Lollygag

Pronunciation: LAH-lee-gag
Part of speech: Verb
Meaning: Spend time aimlessly; dawdle or dally.

"Instead of completing his chores, he chose to lollygag around in the backyard"

34. Nincompoop

Pronunciation: NIN-kuhm-poop
Part of speech: Noun
Meaning: A silly or foolish person.

"He forgot his keys for the third time this week; what a nincompoop!"

35. Quibble

Pronunciation: KWI-bil
Part of speech: Verb
Meaning: To complain or fixate on a trivial or small detail to avoid the main point of an argument.

"There were constantly quibbling during the negotiation, causing the process to take much longer than necessary."

36. Whippersnapper

Pronunciation: WIP-er-snapper
Part of speech: Noun
Meaning: A young and inexperienced person considered to be presumptuous or overconfident.

"The professor endearingly referred to his assistant as a young whippersnapper, acknowledging the enthusiasm of the new recruit."

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Beautiful Words With Cool Meanings

wanderlust spelled out in block letters over a map
C. Salmon/Shutterstock

37. Chiaroscuro

Pronunciation: kee-aa-ruh-SKYUR-ow
Part of speech: Noun
Meaning: The treatment of light and shade in drawing and painting.

"The artist used chiaroscuro to create a dramatic effect in the painting, playing with light and shadow to highlight certain features."

38. Mellifluous

Pronunciation: muh-LIF-loo-us
Part of speech: Adjective
Meaning: Sweet or musical; pleasant to hear.

"The music was so mellifluous, everyone instantly relaxed upon entering the room."

39. Numinous

Pronunciation: NOO-muh-nuhs
Part of speech: Adjective
Meaning: Having a strong religious or spiritual quality; indicating or suggesting the presence of a divinity.

"The old temple contained a numinous aura that filled worshippers with a sense of awe and reverence."

40. Sanguine

Pronunciation: SAN-gwin
Part of speech: Adjective
Meaning: Optimistic and positive.

"Despite the challenges, she remained sanguine about the future, believing that things would eventually improve."

41. Wanderlust

Pronunciation: WOHN-der-luhst
Part of speech: Noun
Meaning: A strong desire to travel.

"She couldn't stay in one place for long; her wanderlust always had her dreaming about going to new and exciting destinations."

42. Zephyrous

Pronunciation: ZEF-uh-rus
Part of speech: Adjective
Meaning: Encapsulating the essence of a gentle breeze.

"The picnic was made much more enjoyable by the zephyrous weather."

Cool Unique Words

man looking through a book in search of cool words

43. Apricity

Pronunciation: a-PRIS-i-tee
Part of speech: Noun
Meaning: The warm rays of sun in the winter.

"Despite the cold air, the squirrels were enjoying the apricity while perched upon a branch."

44. Clinomania

Pronunciation: kli-NO-may-nee-uh
Part of speech: Noun
Meaning: An obsessive desire to stay in bed.

"Her constant desire to linger in bed showcased a mild case of clinomania, making it challenging for her to arrive at work on time."

45. Erinaceous

Pronunciation: er-uh-NEY-shuhs
Part of speech: Adjective
Meaning: Something (or someone) that looks like a hedgehog.

"The garden became a haven for erinaceous creatures who had found refuge among the bushes."

46. Gizmo

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

"He proudly displayed his collection of gizmos and gadgets."

47. Syzygy

Pronunciation: SI-zuh-jee
Part of speech: Noun
Meaning: An alignment of three celestial bodies.

"The syzygy of the sun, moon, and Earth during a solar eclipse is truly spectacular."

48. Yestereve

Pronunciation: YES-ter-eve
Part of speech: Noun
Meaning: Last night.

"She was desperate for my attention, even though I had just seen her yestereve."

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Cool Words for Names

blank name tag sticker

49. Aurora

Pronunciation: uh-RAW-ruh
Part of speech: Noun
Meaning: A natural electrical phenomenon characterized by the appearance of streamers of reddish or greenish light in the sky.

"The aurora painted the sky with colorful lights, leaving everyone staring in awe."

50. Bliss

Pronunciation: blis
Part of speech: Noun
Meaning: Perfect happiness; great joy.

"It had been a difficult few years, but he finally felt a sense of a total and complete bliss."

51. Euphoria

Pronunciation: yoo-FORE-ee-uh
Part of speech: Noun
Meaning: An intense feeling of elation, excitement, or pleasure.

"He was still in a state of euphoria, even hours after winning the championship."

52. Eudaemonia

Pronunciation: eu·​dai·​MO·​nia
Part of speech: Noun
Meaning: The state of being lucky.

"Between his successful career and loving relationship, John was left feeling a strong sense of eudaimonia."

53. Halcyon

Pronunciation: HAL-see-uhn
Part of speech: Adjective
Meaning: Calm, peaceful, and tranquil.

"Investors miss the the halcyon days of the mid-1980s, when profits were soaring."

54. Maverick

Pronunciation: MAV-er-ik
Part of speech: Noun
Meaning: Independent or nonconformist.

"Known for his maverick approach to business, he often challenged more conventional strategies."

Wrapping Up

That's it for our list of cool words. Be sure to check back with us soon for even more interesting trivia about the English language. You can also sign up for our newsletter so you don't miss out on what's coming next!

Carrie Weisman
Carrie Weisman oversees all SEO efforts at Best Life. She specializes in content optimization and editorial marketing. Read more
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