Is there a word for "coolness" that corresponds to warmth?

  • 22
    Besides coolness of course.
    – Jon Purdy
    Commented May 9, 2012 at 18:20
  • 3
    “Warm” is to “warmth” as “cold” is to “cool”
    – vartec
    Commented May 10, 2012 at 9:21
  • 14
    "Coolth". Next question! Commented May 10, 2012 at 10:33
  • Besides coolness, chilliness and nip that is. So sayeth WordNet, a composite of scholars from Princeton.
    – bgins
    Commented May 10, 2012 at 10:35
  • 1
    Why is "coolness" not suitable? Commented May 10, 2012 at 19:25

8 Answers 8



The cool of autumn juxtaposed against the warmth of spring.

  • 6
    And it has a respectable pedigree; Adam and Eve were walking in the garden in the cool of the day (presumably late afternoon). Commented May 9, 2012 at 21:49
  • @TimLymington but that contrasts to the heat of the day not the warmth.
    – user14070
    Commented May 10, 2012 at 13:48
  • 3
    @JoshuaDrake that's an idiomatic difference, not a grammatical one. The warmth of the day is a perfectly grammatical phrase.
    – Kevin
    Commented May 10, 2012 at 14:24
  • 1
    One exception: "He always showed me great warmth"
    – Chris S
    Commented May 10, 2012 at 14:29
  • 1
    @naught101: While I agree that there is only heat (kinetic energy, temperature whatever) as a physical phenomenon, this is a fairly new concept with respect to the english language.
    – horatio
    Commented May 10, 2012 at 16:21

There's the archaic word coolth:

(archaic) The state of being cool, temperature-wise; coolness.  [eg] The water pushed large blocks of tepid air about around his chair, giving the faint illusion of freshness and coolth. – Lawrence Durrell, Constance, 1982

Edit 2: In many uses coolth corresponds better to warmth than does cool. Architects' use of coolth as mentioned in comments provides an example. Also, while cool corresponds well with warm, it does not correspond well with warmth or warmness in some examples below, shown in several forms for contrast:

His cool manner ... – ok
His warm manner ... – ok
His coolness of manner ... – ok
His warmth of manner ... – ok
*His cool of manner ... – bad
The coolth of his manner ... – ok
The coolness of his manner ... – ok
The warmness of his manner ... – ok
The warmth of his manner ... – ok
*The cool of his manner ... – bad
The chill of his manner ... – ok

Edit 1: Regarding whether coolth is archaic, Peter Shor notes that it appears in The Spectator (ca. 1776). It also appears in Fanny Burney memoirs, ca. 1784, and according to ngrams is rare before the late 1800's, and at its most-common from 1920 to 1960.

The most-relevant sense of archaic is "(of words) No longer in ordinary use, though still used occasionally to give a sense of antiquity." Coolth is still in use, but not in ordinary use; and it is, per previous paragraph, not particularly antique; but because it may often be used to give a sense of antiquity, it's reasonable to term it archaic.

  • 12
    It may be archaic, but that word is cool to the nth degree!
    – J.R.
    Commented May 9, 2012 at 18:27
  • 1
    @PeterShor Of coolth, the OED says: “1. Coolness. Now chiefly literary, arch., or humorous. 2. Eng. regional. A cold; the common cold. Now rare. 3. colloq. (orig. U.S.). Chiefly humorous. The quality of being relaxed, assured, or sophisticated in demeanour or style.” Citations range from 1547, with two in our current millennium. They say to compare Old Dutch cuolitha, and mention the forms kilthe, kelthe, kelth in various 15c manuscripts and keelth in a printed 16c instance.
    – tchrist
    Commented May 9, 2012 at 19:57
  • 1
    An example from Oxford Dictionaries: "How soothing it is, forsooth, to desire coolth and vanquish inadequate Brit warmth." Or a funny quote from The Guardian: "Wordie is home to 200,000 "unique" definitions, such as "coolth", which we are told is the opposite of warmth."
    – Alex B.
    Commented May 9, 2012 at 21:12
  • 1
    the word coolth is used in building-physics: scholar.google.co.uk/scholar?q=coolth (technical, rather than general, use)
    – 410 gone
    Commented May 10, 2012 at 7:51
  • 1
    coolth is actually fairly commonly used in architecture/green building design, when talking about passive cooling: objects with high thermal mass (like concrete slabs) can store "coolth" from the night, and keep the house cooler during the day. In truth, they have an absence of heat, and absorb heat from the rest of the house over the day.
    – naught101
    Commented May 10, 2012 at 14:37

Chill can be used for this. The chill of winter.

  • 2
    this is the correct answer.
    – Jason
    Commented May 9, 2012 at 23:57
  • 19
    Similar, but IMHO "chill" has a harsher feel to it than "coolness". Warmth and coolness are pleasant; chill is not. Commented May 10, 2012 at 2:24
  • @KeithThompson for the most part I'd agree, but Lewis wanted a different word. Commented May 10, 2012 at 12:26

Also, keeping it simple, "Coolness"

  • I agree that "coolness" is the word that corresponds most closely to "warmth". "coolth" is structurally closest, but it's archaic. Most of the other suggestions, (cold, coldness, chill) carry a connotation of harshness that "warmth" distinctly lacks. This is admittedly inconsistent. If that kind of inconsistency bothers you, perhaps English is not the language for you. 8-)} Commented May 10, 2012 at 19:25


The warmth of the sun versus the coldness of space.

I also note that the Merriam Webster's link for cold list definition 2a as

marked by a lack of the warmth of normal human emotion

so that would lend a lot to the answer of cold by @zpletan, but the sentence above is how I recall hearing it contrasted.


All those suggested are good, but the first to pop into my head was cold.

a low temperature, esp. in the atmosphere; cold weather; a cold environment (NOAD)

  • @Kaz, that was the noun definition from the NOAD. M-W defines as a noun meaning, "a condition of low temperature" (def. 2).
    – zpletan
    Commented May 10, 2012 at 0:40
  • I see. I will delete my clueless comment.
    – Kaz
    Commented May 10, 2012 at 0:46
  • 2
    If he said "heat" instead of "warmth" I would be inclined to agree. This is actually what I thought of first but the top answer seems to be best.
    – Muhd
    Commented May 10, 2012 at 3:28
  • Merriam Webster Online for cold definition 2a marked by a lack of the warmth of normal human emotion, +1 for you sir.
    – user14070
    Commented May 10, 2012 at 13:57

The short answer is no, there is not a single word commonly in use that is to "cool" what "warmth" is to "warm". "Coolth" just never caught on the way "warmth" did.

"Warm" and "warmth" both refer to a quality of temperature and a quality of friendliness and compassion. "Hot" is a higher temperature than "warm" but not really a higher degree of friendliness; "hot" can be either erotic or angry, but not "more friendly than warm". I believe as a result of this and because "warmth" has positive associations, "warmth" gets used a lot in both senses in preference to any other word with similar meaning, such as "warmness". Besides, "warmth" just sounds better. On top of that, with "warmth" readily available, "warm" did not develop a usage as a noun. (Then again, "hot" never developed into a noun, either, and instead we have "heat".)

On the other side, "cool" and "cold" both refer to a quality of temperature and a quality of friendliness and compassion and "cold" is "more cool" in both senses. Without "coolth" coming into use, "cool" and "cold" both became nouns distinct from "coolness" and "coldness".

warmth versus cool

In the above ngram graph from Google, "warm of day" does not even register when compared to "warmth of day", "cool of night", or "coolness of night".

Here is a comparison of the words alone. Most used is "cold", followed by "warm", "cool", and "warmth" in that order. Least used by far are "coolness" and "coldness".

single word usage

On the subject of affection and matters of the heart, Google says "warmth" and "coldness" are most used by far when referring to someone's heart, with "warm", "cool", "coolness", and "cold" not registering at all:

blank of her heart

(Yes, this graph shows usage of "her" heart, but the graph of "his" heart is pretty much the same.)

So you have to work a little harder to figure out the sense of what you want to say and choose the right word to mean the opposite of "warmth".

  • -1 for the implication that cold is not commonly applied when dealing with "affection and matters of the heart". One just has to listen to Pop songs, such as the Rolling Stones She's So Cold. Hard to bow to Google rankings when everyday speech is littered with references.
    – user14070
    Commented May 11, 2012 at 13:09
  • @Joshua, the question is about a noun form corresponding to she has warmth, not the adjective form she is warm. She is So Cold, not She has So Cold.
    – Old Pro
    Commented May 11, 2012 at 14:46
  • 3
    This use-based answer is valuable, but it misses the larger point that this asymmetry is found elsewhere. Compare high is to height as low is to ?, long is to length as short is to ?, hot is to heat as cold is to ?, strong is to strength as weak is to ?, and others I can't bring to mind. Yes, you can add -ness to the second item in each pair, but the point is that to be cool is to have little warmth (etc.), while to be warm is NOT to have little coolness. In brief, warmth (etc.) are names of polar dimensions, and are based on the label for the positive end of that measurable dimension. Commented May 15, 2012 at 22:04

How about "Frigidity"

frig·id (frjd) adj. 1. Extremely cold. See Synonyms at cold.

  1. Lacking warmth of feeling.
  2. Stiff and formal in manner: a frigid refusal to a request.
  3. Persistently averse to sexual intercourse.