Friday, February 22, 2019

kakkoii かっこいい

In Japanese, kakkoii かっこいい means "good-looking." It's generally used toward things and people who "look good," in various ways, such as looking "cool," "impressive," "stylish," "fashionable," "admirable," and so on.

Variants of the word include: kakkoii カッコイイ, kakko-ii カッコいい, かっこ良い, kakko-yoi かっこよい, kakkou-ii 格好いい, 格好良い, kakkou-yoi 格好よい, and kakkee かっけえ, かっけぇ, かっけー.

Usage

"Cool"

Generally speaking, kakkoii かっこいい is used toward cool things and people who do cool things. Basically anything you find in shounen anime: guns, swords, robots, giant robots, giant guns, giant swords, ninja, samurai, pirates, etc. are kakkoii.
  • kakkoii! かっこいい!
    [It's] cool!
    [That's] cool!

Since kakkoii かっこいい is an adjective, it can come before nouns to say it's a "cool" thing. For example:
  • kakkoii robotto かっこいいロボット
    A cool robot..
  • kakkoii katana かっこいい刀
    A cool sword.
  • kakkoii namae かっこいい名前
    A cool name.
  • kakkoii kyara かっこいいキャラ
    kakkoii kyarakutaa かっこいいキャラクター
    A cool character.
    • Of an anime, manga, fiction, etc.
    • Doesn't mean "cool personality."

And of course:
  • kakkoii serifu かっこいい台詞
    A cool line. (line as in something you say, line of dialogue.)
  • kakkoii koto wo iu かっこいいをを言う
    To say a cool thing.
    To say [something] cool.

Like:
  • ore no nakama wa zettai korosase ya shinaai yo!
    オレの仲間は絶対殺させやしなーいよ!
    Absolutely won't let [you] kill my [friends]!
    • I'll never let my friends be killed!
    • Kakashi, from Naruto.
  • mou daijoubu! WATASHI GA KITA
    もう大丈夫!私が来た
    [It's] now alright! I came.
    • It's alright now! I'm here.
    • —All Might, from Boku no Hero Academia.
  • daga kotowaru! だが断る!
    But [I] refuse!
    • Kishibe Rohan, from Jojo no Kimyou na Bouken.
  • ore ga omae ni katenai nante koto wa
    ore ga ichiban yoku wakatteru-n-da-yoo'......!!
    sore demo yaru shika nai-n-da
    ore shika inai-n-da
    kateru katenai janaku
    koko de ore wa omae ni tachi-mukawanakucha ikenai-n-da!

    俺がお前に勝てないなんてことは
    俺が一番わかってるんだよぉっ・・・・・・!!
    それでもやるしかないんだ
    俺しかいないんだ
    勝てる勝てないじゃなく
    ここで俺はお前に立ち向かわなくちゃいけないんだ!
    That I can't defeat you,
    I'm the one that knows that the most well.
    Even so I have to do it.
    There's nobody here but me.
    Whether I can win or I can't win doesn't matter.
    What matters is that here, I must stand against you.
    • —Mumen Rider, from One Punch Man.

"To Look Cool"

Sometimes, kakkoii かっこいい ends up being translated as "looks cool," that is, as a verb, despite the fact that kakkoii is an i-adjective, not a verb.
どう? どうってなにが? カッコいいかどうかに決まってるでしょ!! めんどくせぇな!! quote from manga Gabriel DropOut ガヴリールドロップアウト (Chapter 13)
Manga: Gabriel DropOut, Gavuriiru Doroppuauto ガヴリールドロップアウト (Chapter 13)
  • Context: a girl strikes a pose with a gun in hand.
  • dou?
    どう?
    How is it? (literally.)
    • How does it look?
    • How do I look?
  • dou tte nani ga?
    どうってなにが?
    How is what?
    • How is it? What [are you talking about.] (literally.)
  • kakkoii ka
    douka ni
    kimatteru desho!!

    カッコいいかどうかに決まってるでしょ!!
    [I'm talking about] whether it [looks] cool or not, obviously!!
    • ni kimaru に決まる
      To decide [something]. (literally.)
      For something to be decided, settled, set-in-stone, for it to be obviously, of course so.
  • mendokusee na!!
    めんどくせぇな!!
    What a pain in the ass, aren't you!!
    • The other girl doesn't feel like answering this sorta stuff.
    • mendou kusai 面倒くさい
      Smelling of trouble. To seem like trouble. To look like a pain.

"Good-Looking"

Literally, kakkoii かっこいい is the word kakko カッコ, which is an abbreviation of kakkou 格好, "appearance," plus the i-adjective ii いい, "good," so it means "good-looking," just like kimochi-ii 気持ちいい means "good-feeling."

But "to look good" is rather vague. It's important to know what kind of "good" does kakkoii mean.

Basically, kakko-ii is the antonym of "lame," which is literally kakkowarui かっこ悪い in Japanese. If you're the opposite of lame, you're kakkoii. Of course, that doesn't mean you need to be a badass like Michael L. Jackson to be kakkoii, you can be kakkoii for a lot of reasons.

"Good Impression"

Besides being used to say "cool," kakkoii is used more generally to say the appearance of something leaves a "good impression."

This "appearance" can be how it looks like, but also how it sounds like, how someone behaves like, and so on. So long as it leaves a favorable impression, it's kakkoii.

"Fashionable"

Thus, kakkoii can be used toward clothes, outfits, if said clothes leave a good impression: if they're fashionable, if someone is well-dressed.
  • kakkoii fuku かっこいい服
    Good-looking clothes.
    Clothes that leave a good impression.
    Fashionable clothes.
    Stylish clothes.
  • kakkoii kuruma かっこいい車
    Good-looking car.
    Car that leaves a good impression.
    Fashionable car.
    Stylish car.

"Attractive"

Another way kakkoii is normally used is to talk about the physical appearance of people: attractiveness leaves a good impression.
  • kakkoii otoko かっこいい男
    A good-looking man.
    An impressively looking man.
    A handsome man.
  • kakkoii onna かっこいい女
    A good-looking woman.
    An impressively looking woman.
    A handsome woman?
    • Oddly, you don't usually call women handsome in English, but the idea is more-or-less the same.

"Admirable"

Sometimes, doing a good act of kindness, or saying the morally right thing, can leave a good impression to someone. Since it leaves a good impression, it makes you kakkoii. In this sense, kakkoii would better be translated as "admirable."

Kakkoii Tokoro かっこいい所

The phrase kakkoii tokoro カッコいい所 means literally a "good-looking spot." It's often used when you want to show someone yourself in a "good-looking situation," in order to impression them. When you want to show what's impressive about you.

It's also spelled kakkoii toko かっこいいトコ.
  • kakkoii tokoro wo miseru
    かっこいい所を見せる
    kakkoii toko wo miseru
    カッコいいトコを見せる
    To show a good-looking spot.
    • To (try to) impress someone by doing something impressive.
    • To show a part of [you] that's impressive.
    • To show off by doing something cool, impressive, admirable, etc.

This can happen, for example, when guys try to win sports matches or fight delinquents in order to show off to a girl, or when a father tries to show he's a "cool dad" and impress their child by doing something, and so on.

Similar Words

Although kakkoii can be translated as "cool," it only means someone or something that has a cool appearance. Other words can be translated as "cool" when "cool" means something else.
  • suzushii 涼しい
    Cool. (wind.)
    Refreshing. (juice.)
  • kuuru クール
    Cool. Calm. Composed. (e.g. a kuudere クーデレ.)

Likewise, although kakkoii can be translated as "looks good," there are other words which can be translated like that:
  • yoku dekiteiru よく出来ている
    [It looks good.]
    [It looks] well made.
  • yoku dekita よく出来た
    [It looks good.]
    Well done.
  • genki sou desu 元気そうです
    [He looks good.]
    [He seems well.]
    [He seems to be in good health.]
  • iketeru イケてる
    [He looks good.]
    • Slang used in the "well-dressed" or "stylish" sense only.
    • And only toward people.

Sarcastic Usage

The word kakkoii カッコいい isn't always used with honesty, sometimes it's used sarcastically, in order to mock someone.

This could happen between a group of friends to playfully embarrass someone, but in anime it most often happens when a villain or bad guy mocks the hero by saying stuff like:
  • kakkoii na
    カッコいいな
    [You're] cool, huh?
    • Oh, wow, you're so cool, doing heroic stuff like that.
    • You think you're the good guy, don't you?
    • Hey, look, we've got a "hero" here!

The word kakko-tsukete カッコつけて, used someone "tries to look cool," is also used in criticizing tone with certain frequency.

Conjugation

Since kakkoii カッコいい is a compound word that ends in an i-adjective, it can be inflected like an i-adjective:
  • kakkoyokatta
    かっこよかった
    [That] was cool.
    [You] were cool.
  • kakkoyokunai
    かっこよくない
    [That] isn't cool.
    [You] aren't cool.
  • kakkoyoku naritai
    かっこよくなりたい
    [I] want to become cool.

Further Reading

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