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


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.”


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.


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


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


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


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” ↩︎


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.


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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