Cool beans

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23 comments on this post.
  1. Dave Khan:

    Huh. I always assumed “cool beans” was simply the logical complement, or ironic counterpoint, to the exclamation “hot dog!” When “hot dog” became uncool, I would think “cool beans” would be a logical new saying. You know, since hot dogs & beans go together so well. How wonderful that these two phrases should appear in the same issue of The Word Detective!

  2. Tami:

    2007 series of dr who / S4:E7 / episode # 48 / the dr’s daughter / donna noble says to General Cobb; “Oi, oi, oi. All right. Cool the beans, Rambo!” – seemed to mean “Hold on!”
    I haven’t found any references related to that phrase though Thanks.. Any info?

  3. sunbelt57:

    I first heard “cool beans” during the dot com days and thought it was a reference to Java Beans: Beans in Java are reusable software components of the Java programming language.

  4. Diana Rosalind Trimble:

    This is the only sensible article on the Web about this most irritating of all phrases! I know someone who says it all the time and I absolutely loathe it. I don’t think the Cheech and Chong thing is true though: I found that citation repeated around the Web originating from an article where a supposed piece of dialogue between Cheech and Chong was used as an example. “this car is made entirely of weed” / “cool beans”. Elsewhere this has been repeated and the film given as 1978’s “Up in Smoke” but the whole joke of that movie was that Cheech and Chong didn’t realize that the car (a van actually) was made of weed, so I don’t see how they could have had this verbal exchange. I call bull!

  5. sage:

    Uh, absolutely not. The term began as an intentional quasi-experiment in originating a colloquialism. It was as conducted by three students of New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico. It was one of a number of attempts between 1985-1988. The basis was anecdotal success in coining a number of other farcical colloquialisms. Success was to be determined by the earliest occasion of encounter of the term in popular culture language, literature, or audio-visual media, which encounter found the expression to be repeated on either US coast, preferably from New York or Southern California. This, one of the very successful attempts, took well under two years.

    Why? Because, as one of them noted, “In ‘On the Road,’ Jack Kerouac referred to Las Cruces as ‘the crossroads of America.’ If it is, we should be able to start all kinds of bullshit expressions here.” Maybe Kerouac was right. Maybe it’s not all about tremendous populations; maybe it’s about … location, location, location.

    As a side note, another acquaintance of the three NMSU students was a former Las Crucen who was part of a similar quasi-experiment, in Austin, Tx, which promulgated the rumour that the actor who played Paul in the t.v. sitcom “The Wonder Years” went on to become goth-pop star Marilyn Manson. At just over three years, this rumour was slower to succeed, but much more entertaining.

  6. Bob:

    I first heard the expression in the mid 80’s. It is not in any way related to the dot com revolution of the 90’s.

  7. Carl Vince:

    Cool Beams!Y’all are gettin’ it wrong.

  8. Ainsley:

    My mother used to say “Cool Beans” all the time. I cannot remember if she started using this phrase in the 60’s or 70’s, but definitely was using it long before 1985. My point is that if it was invented by a college student who wanted to see if it would catch on, he or she coincidentally invented a phrase that was already in use.

  9. Amazon:

    Sage. It ain’t THAT serious!

  10. vinnie:

    My boss uses ‘cool beans’ often so i came here to find out more about

  11. Dude:

    Cool beans, dude

  12. Bro:

    Cool beans indeed, bro

  13. Ryan:

    Thank you Diana! I place “Cool Beans” in the same realm of “Irregardless” and am taunted by the term/phrase daily. I can honestly say that I have to fight back the strong urge to vomit every time I hear them. I do not care where it came from or why people say it. I simply have no time for such a ridiculous expression and only pray that those who do say it take a long hard look in the mirror, ask forgiveness, and tirelessly work for the rest of their lives to expunge the phrase from their “vocabulary”.

  14. Sekaia:

    I heard this growing up watching the cartoon Jumanji

  15. Foo Manchu:

    Yet you took time to search the term and post about it.

  16. Marko:

    i always thought it may have something to do with cooking beans or coffee beans, therefore ready to consume. Oh well, that is why this isn’t my website.

  17. Dot:

    Same here. As someone who grew up in the 80s, my friends and I used to say it all the time, and nary a one of us owned a computer, much less used one as a communication device.

  18. Iron:

    This is either a joke article or speculation. No real etymology here.

  19. DudeBro:

    Too easy.

  20. Bill:

    I first heard this phrase in the early 90’s and hated it but then it grew on me. now I say it all the time……….. cool beans

  21. Eric:

    I think it might have come with the mexican jumping beans in the 1970s. Those were the coolest thing ever back in the day, and if they were cool nothin happened, but put them in your hand and they start doing stuff.

  22. Daryl:

    Cool beans is a phrase I like to use.

  23. Ian:

    Was the notable anonymous NMSU student that “coined” the phrase coincidentally from northwest Ohio? I recall the phrase “cool beans” already in use in the Toledo area at that time. I had then thought it was a combination of LL Bean company and LL Cool J names to generate, first, LL Cool Beans, which was then abbreviated to just cool beans. I doubt I was the first person to come to that conclusion, but you never know… but I’d bet my donuts to your dollars that your secret student was from Ohio. ;)

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