Dear native Detective: You’ve explained the word “cool” however the latest rendition appears to it is in “cool beans.” do you have any kind of idea why “beans” need to be added to “cool” to mean “excellent” once “cool” alone suffices? Emphasis? however why beans? — Barney Johnson.

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Well, why not beans? after all, in the English language, together in life itself, every roads lead to beans. Take it the past 20 years of financial life, for instance. First we had actually the dot-com boom, as soon as many civilization apparently ended up being rich, and also Aeron chairs and also four-star restaurants ended up being the rage. Then the “apparently” part kicked in through a vengeance and we found ourselves sit on packing crates, dining ~ above what? Beans. Then lather, rinse, repeat v the housing boom, but this time we’re plotzed ~ above the curb in our skivvies, chowing down on our small legume pals again. If we’re lucky.


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The great London bean Exchange, 1775


The English language has actually never short beans, that’s for sure. Together the most humble of person foods, beans have long been supplied as signs of the trivial facets of existence, often with recommendation to the negligible value of a solitary bean, as in the usage of “bean counter” to typical someone obsessed with minor details and also ignorant of the “big picture.” even in huge numbers the bean it s okay no respect, and also since the 19th century we have actually used “hill the beans” to median something of small or no worth (“He didn’t treatment a hill o’ bean fer no gal,” 1901). “Not to understand beans” is the nadir of ignorance, and also “not to care beans” is the apex that apathy. “Tough beans!” is another way of speak “Tough luck. That cares?”

But every dog has his day, and also even the lowly bean deserve to prove valuable. So us speak the revealing a mystery as “spilling the beans” (from the reality that a basketful of beans, as soon as spilled, are complicated or impossible to retrieve). And while “not to know beans” means to be completely ignorant, “to understand beans” has, since the 1800s, intended to be knowledgeable and also “with it.” our ambiguous perspective towards bean is reflected in the expression “full that beans,” i beg your pardon in the 19th century supposed “lively, full of energy,” however by the 1940s was also being used to mean “full of nonsense.”

“Cool beans” in the feeling of “excellent” or “that’s great” apparently originated as college slang in the US throughout the 1970s, yet many people probably choose it increase from the 1980s TV sitcom “Full House,” in i beg your pardon one personality habitually offered the phrase.

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The was likewise apparently offered in a Cheech and also Chong movie during the same period. I think that what we have in “cool beans” is actually an updating, unconscious among its users, the the colloquial us expression “some beans,” which has been used because the mid-19th century to average “quite something” or “excellent, awesome” (“By golly, you’re part beans in a bar-fight,” 1850).