Today I was informed by my college students that "cool" is no longer used literally. We're talking about arguments of definition, so I assigned them "The Coolhunt" by Malcolm Gladwell. I said, Cool is a good example of a shifting definition because by its very nature it's constantly changing.
Yeah, like how nobody uses it to describe temperature anymore, said Cory.
I laughed kindly and clarified that that part of the definition is still fixed: We still say it's cool outside--that hasn't changed.
Emma raised her hand. She looked confused and concerned. (For me?) I would never say that, she said. Much murmured concurrence.
What? Really? You wouldn't? None of you?
They all shook their heads. One said, My mom would say that. I wouldn't. It just sounds weird.
The weather is rainy and cool. That sounds weird?
A unanimous yes.
I felt both astonished and delighted by the discovery of this generation gap. Be ye hereby warned: Cool as a temperature is the new slacks.
P.S. Here is the salamander Iris & I found hiding under a wet leaf in Forest Park.