What is the difference between calm, cool and collective and calm, cool and collected?

What is the meaning of collective or collected when used in this way?

I checked the dictionary but still do not get it.

collective [kəˈlɛktɪv]
1. formed or assembled by collection
2. forming a whole or aggregate
3. of, done by, or characteristic of individuals acting in cooperation
1. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy)
a. a cooperative enterprise or unit, such as a collective farm
b. the members of such a cooperative
2. (Linguistics / Grammar) short for collective noun

  • 4
    the latter phrase is a very common phrase in English. OK? The first one is just a typo, or, an incorrect repeat by someone who is an idiot :) Hope it helps.
    – Fattie
    Jun 13, 2011 at 7:29

3 Answers 3


Collective means “done by a group of people”; it does not go well with calm and cool. Collected means “not distracted”, and it can be used with calm and cool.

  • 3
    +1. The correct idiom is "calm, cool and collected"; the other version is likely a mishearing since (as F'x says) it doesn't make much sense.
    – psmears
    Jun 5, 2011 at 13:18
  • 2
    +1 to psmears's +1: "cool, calm, and collected" is a standard idiom; "cool, calm, and collective" is a mistake (or an intentional pun - of the specific kind which involves deliberate corruption; hmm, do we have a word for that?). Jun 5, 2011 at 19:50
  • 1
    Gah! That one and "for all intensive purposes" just drive me nuts!
    – user362
    Jun 13, 2011 at 13:28
  • 1
    +1 to @Tom Anderson's +1: I hear it with the "cool, calm" word ordering, not "calm, cool."
    – user1579
    Jun 13, 2011 at 14:50

Calm, cool and collective is likely a malapropism. Calm, cool and collected is the actual expression. The only exception would be if the former appeared as a tagline or motto for a collective, but I find that unlikely.

  • 3
    Well, I wanted to suggest that we, the english.stackexchange.com community, are a collective, and that we are also cool and calm... but then I got into a furious argument over what "is" is and had to rethink a bit.
    – MT_Head
    Jun 6, 2011 at 0:20
  • +1...although IMHO you can remove the "likely".
    – T.E.D.
    Jun 13, 2011 at 13:17

Calm. Cool and Collected. A phrase used when someone is in a situation where they feel completly relaxed, totally composed, and are sure of themselves, or in control.Collective is a group of things, names etc. put together usually by members of a group. Most likely a typo or not hearing the word "collected" thinking it to be "collective"

  • Welcome to the site, but you essentially repeat the answer already given by @F'x, which you ought to upvote instead. For guidance on how to use this site, which is not a traditional discussion forum, you can consult the Help Center.
    – choster
    Oct 29, 2013 at 17:58

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