Other ways to say cool than かっこいい?

How would you call a person cool in Japanese?

I live in Japan and we’re having a farewell party at the end of the month for some staff who are leaving. We have to write a few things about them, and they might get read at the party. For one person I want to say he’s cool but I don’t want to imply I think he’s good looking, so I’m not sure what’s the best word to use? Can I get away with just saying something like クール or is かっこいい still my best bet?

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クール will definitely work just fine

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素敵 is another one that comes to mind but it has kind of a loving element to it when I hear it. Like “That boy is so 素敵 I want to marry him!”

EDIT: This isn’t the only way to use 素敵 I just hear it that way. It does mean “cool.”

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Thank you both!

For more context, the question is if this person was an animal what animal would they be and why? I don’t really know this particular person too well and we’ve never really talked but they’re the tallest person in the office so I was going to say they’d be a giraffe, because they’re tall and cool. But thinking more about it I am nervous to comment on someone’s appearance, even though it’s just height.

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I think you should stick to nice if you are a bit uncomfortable (even if you don’t quite know them well).

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I don’t think anyone would take offense to that, especially if you’re calling him cool in the process

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渋い is kinda slang for old-school cool.[1] Might work (or at least get a laugh) depending on the circumstances.

Edit:

If you call him a 渋いキリン and hand him a can of 一番搾り beer, I’d be amazed if you DON’T get a laugh…

People are people, and it’s never good to cause offense, but, in general, Japanese people tend to be a little more tolerant about poking fun at physical appearance.


  1. like “middle-aged, cool, handsome guy” ↩︎

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渋い can mean tasteful or reserved, but it also has a lot of negative meanings. Every time I’ve heard my wife use it, it hasn’t been particularly complimentary.

I would stay away from tricky words like that when trying to offer a genuine compliment, at least as a beginner with someone you aren’t super close to.

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I think for people (mostly man if I’m not mistaken :thinking:) you could also say イケてる, which could be goodlooking but also stylish, fashionable. but I guess you didn’t want words with such meaning :thinking:

Definitely listen to Leebo, not me, but since it sounds like a playful assignment (compare to an animal?) I think you can get away with a lot simply by smiling a bit as you say it.

People can take offense no matter which animal and words you chose to describe them. Best to avoid the assignment altogether.

Personally, I still find comparing someone tall and cool to a “bitter giraffe” (like “bad-ass giraffe” or somesuch in American slang) pretty funny. Dunno if a native would find it offensive or funny, but Leebo is pretty close to a native, so caution is warranted. Still makes me smile to consider, though.

If you do chose to try it, I wasn’t here.

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