Expressing Cool in Sign Language: A Step-by-Step Detailed Guide

Sign language, a beautiful and dynamic means of communication, opens a world of understanding and connection that transcends the barriers often set by the spoken word. It’s a language that embodies inclusivity and diversity, enabling deep and meaningful exchanges among those who use it. Today, we’re zeroing in on a term that’s as versatile in sign language as it is in spoken English – cool in sign language. Whether you’re a seasoned language learner, a member of the Deaf community, or simply someone intrigued by sign language, understanding how to express cool can add a lively element to your non-verbal conversations.

Cool in Sign Language

Understanding Cool in Sign Language ASL

The concept of cool isn’t bound by linguistic constraints, making its way into various sign languages around the globe. However, much like its spoken counterpart, the sign for cool in sign language isn’t universal. Each sign language has its own unique expression, though similarities often exist.

Learning to Sign Cool in Sign Language ASL

In American Sign Language (ASL), ‘cool’ can convey different meanings depending on the context. Here’s how to sign ‘cool’ in two distinct contexts:

  1. Cool as in the temperature: Position your dominant hand near your face, palm facing you. Your hand should mimic an open number 5. With a fanning motion and a pivot at the wrist, you can convey the idea of coolness in relation to temperature.
  2. Cool as in trendy or interesting: Use your dominant hand to form an open number 5 shape again. This time, press the thumb side of your hand against your chest. Wiggle your fingers while keeping your palm oriented towards the side of your body opposite your dominant hand. This gesture captures the essence of ‘cool’ as it relates to something being fashionable or worthy of interest.

Step-by-Step Guide to Sign Cool in ASL

Now that you know the two variations of cool in ASL, here’s a step-by-step guide to signing it correctly:

  1. Begin by positioning your dominant hand in an open number 5 shape, spreading your fingers wide apart.
  2. To convey ‘cool’ in the context of temperature, gently fan your fingers towards yourself, starting from a position near your face. This motion mimics the act of cooling oneself off.
  3. To express ‘cool’ as trendy or interesting, initiate a wiggling motion with the fingers of your open number 5 hand while lightly pressing it against your chest. This variation emphasizes the concept of something being personally appealing or stylish.
  4. It’s important to accompany your hand movements with a relaxed and casual facial expression to fully convey the meaning of ‘cool’. Your facial expression plays a crucial role in delivering the sign with the intended attitude.
  5. Dedicate time to practice the motion until it becomes fluid and natural to you. The more you practice, the more effortlessly you’ll be able to communicate the concept of ‘cool’ in both of its nuances through sign language.

Tips and Tricks to Sign Cool in Sign Language

  • Practice the Motion: For confident sign language, practice gestures until they’re natural, building muscle memory. This enhances signing quality and confidence.
  • Facial Expressions Matter: In sign language, facial expressions are crucial, acting like punctuation. They can change a gesture’s meaning, similar to the tone in spoken language. Match your expressions with your signs for effective communication.
  • Maintain Eye Contact: Eye contact is key in sign language, showing you’re engaged and attentive. It improves the clarity and emotional impact of your signing.
  • Use Your Space Wisely: Sign language uses your entire body. Be aware of your surroundings and use them to help convey your message, like signing ‘future’ in front of you and ‘past’ behind.
  • Expand Your Vocabulary: A broad vocabulary allows for complex expressions and richer conversations. Learn new signs regularly from dictionaries, apps, or classes.
  • Engage with the Deaf Community: Practicing with native signers in the Deaf community gives you practical experience and cultural insight. Attend local Deaf events or workshops to practice and learn.


Can I use these signs with Deaf individuals worldwide?

The signs described here are specific to ASL. It’s important to be mindful of regional differences and languages.

How can I practice these signs correctly?

Engage with the Deaf community, practice with friends, or take formal classes. Online videos can also be a great resource.

Can I use the same sign for “cool” in British Sign Language (BSL)?

No, BSL is a distinctly different language from ASL, with its own signs for words, including “cool.” It’s essential to learn the specific signs used in BSL or any other sign language you’re engaging with.

How can I learn more signs in ASL?

Consider enrolling in an ASL course, engaging with online resources, and participating in Deaf community events. Practice and immersion are key to language acquisition.


Understanding how to sign cool in Sign Language (ASL) not only enriches your ability to communicate more vividly in non-verbal conversations but also deepens your engagement with the Deaf community. Whether you’re expressing the coolness of the temperature or acknowledging something impressively trendy, mastering this sign can add a dynamic layer to your interactions. Remember, the journey to fluency in ASL or any sign language involves continuous learning, practice, and immersion. By extending your vocabulary, refining your gestures, and connecting with native signers, you create a foundation for more inclusive, expressive, and meaningful communication.

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