45 Cool English Words You Need to Know

Discover 45 of the coolest English words you can use to impress your friends.

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By Barney Meekin · June 19, 2024 · 9 minute read

Of the thousands and thousands of existing English words, there are some cool words that have such a unique sound or meaning that you’ve just got to learn them. Including these cool-sounding words in your communication adds depth to your descriptions and makes your language more interesting. And they can break up the repetitiveness of always using the same words.

If you’re still a beginning English learner, you’ll probably want to stick to the most common words in English. You’ve likely heard many of these two or three thousand common words in everyday conversation. But if you’re further along your journey, you can start adding some more unique words to your vocabulary.

A word of warning, though. When it comes to unique words, less is more. Don’t use them too much, or your meaning will become unclear, and people might think you’re a show-off.

In this article, you'll discover 45 cool English words you might not have seen or heard before.

45 of the coolest English words

Below is a list of 45 interesting, unique and cool English words you can sprinkle into your communication. The table shows each word with its part of speech, pronunciation and meaning. There’s also an example sentence so you can see how to use each word.

All of the words on the list are interesting and unique. They have interesting pronunciation, spelling or meaning. Mastering these words will help you be creative with your English. You can add color and interest to your communication. And you can use them to engage your audience. But remember, don’t use them too much, or you’ll have the opposite effect.

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Cool English words

Word Part of speech Pronunciation Meaning Example sentence
1. Acquiesce Verb ak-wee-ES To agree or comply reluctantly She acquiesced to his request, even though she didn't want to.
2. Bamboozle Verb bam-BOO-zul To confuse The salesman tried to bamboozle the customer with his fast-talking pitch.
3. Brouhaha Noun BROO-hah-hah A noisy and overexcited reaction or response to something The announcement about the new player caused quite a brouhaha among the fans.
4. Cacophony Noun kuh-KOF-uh-nee A harsh and unpleasant mixture of sounds The cacophony of the city streets was overwhelming after I moved there from the peaceful countryside.
5. Celestial Adjective suh-LES-chuhl Being in the sky or outer space or relating to heaven Celestial bodies are planets, stars, moons and other things you can see in outer space.
6. Chrysanthemum Noun kri-SAN-thuh-muhm A flower Her favorite flowers are chrysanthemums – she gets a bunch every Mother’s Day.
7. Crestfallen Adjective KREST-faw-luhn Sad and disappointed He was crestfallen when he didn't get the job.
8. Defenestration Noun dee-fen-uh-STREY-shuhn Throwing someone or something out of a window The defenestration of the politician caused a national scandal.
9. Discombobulate Verb dis-kuhm-BOB-yuh-leyt To confuse or disconcert He was discombobulated, having no idea what had happened.
10. Ethereal Adjective ih-THEER-ee-ul Light, delicate and heavenly Her ethereal beauty captivated everyone in the room.
11. Fiasco Noun fee-AS-koh A complete failure, especially in a ludicrous or humiliating way The product launch turned out to be a complete fiasco.
12. Flabbergasted Adjective FLAB-er-gas-tid Greatly surprised or astonished She was flabbergasted by the unexpected news.
13. Gobbledygook Noun GOB-ul-dee-gook Language that is meaningless or is made unintelligible by excessive use of technical terms The contract was full of legal gobbledygook that I couldn’t understand, so I asked them to rewrite it.
14. Harmony Noun HAHR-muh-nee The combination of different musical notes played or sung at the same time that produces a nice sound The choir sang in perfect harmony.
15. Hijinks Noun HI-jinks Boisterous or carefree fun As soon as the teacher left the classroom, hijinks started.
16. Hullabaloo Noun hul-uh-buh-LOO A loud noise or commotion, especially when expressing protest or enthusiasm The hullabaloo of the crowd could be heard from miles away.
17. Incandescent Adjective in-kuhn-DES-uhnt Bright and light because of heat The light from the incandescent light bulb brightened up the room with a warm glow.
18. Juxtapose Verb JUK-stuh-pohz To place different things close together (or side-by-side) for comparison or contrast The artist juxtaposed black-and-white photographs with color photographs to create a striking effect.
19. Kismet Noun KIZ-met Destiny, fate She was sure meeting him at the coffee shop was kismet.
20. Labyrinth Noun LAB-uh-rinth A confusing network of paths or passages that is easy to get lost in The old town was a labyrinth of little streets and back alleys – it was easy to get lost so we had to be careful.
21. Mellifluous Adjective muh-LIF-loo-uhs Having a smooth, rich, musical and pleasant sound or flow The audience loved her mellifluous voice.
22. Mesmerize Verb MEZ-muh-rahyz To fascinate someone, to hold their attention completely The magician's performance mesmerized the audience.
23. Nonchalant Adjective non-shuh-LAHNT Being calm and relaxed due to not caring about something or not worrying about something He was nervous but did his best to appear nonchalant.
24. Oxymoron Noun ok-si-MOR-on A figure of speech in which contradictory terms appear together ‘Minor crisis’ is an example of an oxymoron.
25. Perplexing Adjective per-PLEK-sing Confusing or puzzling The crime scene was perplexing. The detectives had no idea what had happened.
26. Portmanteau Noun port-MAN-toe A word made from a combination of words or word parts ‘Romcom’ is a portmanteau of ‘romantic’ and ‘comedy.’
27. Plethora Noun PLETH-er-uh A large or excessive amount (or number) of something There were a plethora of dishes at the dinner party.
28. Quintessential Adjective kwin-tuh-SEN-shul The most perfect or typical example of a quality or class He’s a quintessential Londoner.
29. Ragamuffin Noun RAG-uh-muf-in A dirty, messy child in ragged clothes The local ragamuffins are up to no good on the streets again.
30. Razzmatazz Noun raz-muh-TAZ A noisy and noticeable action intending to attract attention The product launch was full of razzmatazz and excitement.
31. Rhapsodize Verb RAP-suh-dahyz To talk or write about something (or someone) with enthusiasm or delight He rhapsodized about the beautiful sunset.
32. Schadenfreude Noun SHAH-dun-froy-duh Happiness and enjoyment gained from the misfortunes of others When rich and famous people fail, there is plenty of schadenfreude.
33. Serendipity Noun ser-uhn-DIP-i-tee Positive and valuable events that happen by chance Their first meeting was pure serendipity – neither of them was looking for love, but a chance meeting in a cafe changed their lives forever.
34. Silhouette Noun sil-oo-ET The dark shape of someone or something against a lighter background With the sun behind them, the city buildings appeared as silhouettes.
35. Skedaddle Verb ski-DAD-ul To run away When the police arrived, the kids skedaddled.
36.Svelte Adjective SVELT Slim and graceful The actress looked svelte in her designer dress.
37. Synchronicity Noun sin-kruh-NIS-i-tee Events happening at the same time The dancers danced in perfect synchronicity.
38. Tantalizing Adjective TAN-tuh-lahyz-ing Exciting, arousing desires and interests but often out of reach The tantalizing smell of freshly baked cookies filled the house.
39. Ubiquitous Adjective yoo-BIK-wi-tuhs Being present everywhere at once Smartphones have become ubiquitous in modern society.
40. Unctuous Adjective UNK-choo-uhs Excessively and annoyingly complimentary or flattering The unctuous response to the boss’s new haircut was really over the top.
41. Virtuoso Noun vur-choo-OH-soh A person highly skilled in music The piano virtuoso received a standing ovation.
42. Whimsical Adjective WHIM-zi-kuhl Playfully fanciful and strange in a way that could be funny or annoying The children's book was full of colorful characters and whimsical places.
43. Xylophone Noun ZAI-luh-fohn A musical instrument with a row of bars played by striking with two small mallets The child enjoyed playing the xylophone in music class.
44. Zephyr Noun ZEF-er A gentle breeze The warm zephyr coming from the west rustled the leaves on the trees.
45. Zigzag Noun, Verb, Adjective ZIG-zag A line or course that has short, sharp turns and angles The skier went down the mountain in a zigzag to control her speed.

Cool words to impress your friends and engage your audience

As you can see, these 45 words are not the typical ones you see when you start learning English. But if you want to take your English skills to the next level, try adding these 45 cool words to your conversations.

Be careful not to overuse them, though. These aren’t super common words. You can sprinkle them in when it feels right to add uniqueness to your English. The important word here is ‘sprinkle.’ Less is more with these words. Your goal when communicating is to always be clear and easy to understand.

Use these words rarely but in the right places, and you’ll interest and engage your audience. Use them too much, and you’ll have the opposite effect. People will switch off, thinking you're showing off your vocabulary knowledge.

In short, prioritize speaking clearly over everything else (even sounding cool). But above all else, keep learning more vocabulary, and your English skills will continue to improve!

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