or kool beans or kewl beans [ kool beenz ]
What does cool beans mean?
Won $50 on a lottery ticket? Cool beans, man! Cool beans, slang for “wonderful,” expresses excitement or approval, often with a deliberately folksy tone.
Where does cool beans come from?
Best we know so far, cool beans is first recorded among college students sometime in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Cool, here, means “good,” a slang term dating to the late 1800s. But beans? No one knows for sure.
Slang lexicographer Jonathon Green has pointed to other legume slang phrases (also dating back to the 1800s) such as some beans (“impressive”) and full of beans (“excited”). Another theory links cool beans to drug culture, with drugs such as acid likened to beans—a connection underscored by use of the phrase by cannabis comedians Cheech and Chong.
Whatever the origin, cool beans was popularized by the 1980–90s sitcom Full House, where it was used as a catchphrase by the character DJ Tanner (Candace Cameron). Any drug associations were lost at this point, as cool beans had an old-fashioned, wholesome quality by then.
Examples of cool beans
Who uses cool beans?
Because it sounds like dated 1960–70s slang, cool beans may be used ironically, sometimes targeted at someone seen as uncool or older.
To wit, the 2007 comedy film Hot Rod even dedicates an entire scene to mocking the beans.
Despite this, cool beans still retains some heat, used as an idiosyncratic expression for “excellent” by a range of demographics.
I still say “cool beans”
— P-Daddy (@preston_vavra) September 1, 2018
My biggest turn off is when guys try to make me jealous of other girls. Nah fuck you she’s cool beans and we are friends now.
— I z z y ✧･ﾟ: *✧･ﾟ (@interstellariz) September 1, 2018
Cool beans. Better late then never! pic.twitter.com/8Gd2T9OOuv
— Silver Magma X (@DigitalJaymz) August 28, 2018
This is not meant to be a formal definition of cool beans like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of cool beans that will help our users expand their word mastery.