Short shot #54: red-hot cool

Donald G. McNeil, Jr., “New Lines of Attack In H.I.V. Prevention”, NYT Science Times today:

The whole field of protection before sex is “red-hot cool right now,” said Sharon L. Hillier, a gynecology professor at the University of Pittsburgh’s medical school and principal investigator of the Microbocide Trials Network.

Both parts of red-hot cool have undergone semantic shift: red-hot to mean

Of a person or thing: up-to-the-minute, brand new; exciting, sensational, dramatic. (sense 3a in the OED draft revision of June 2010)

and cool, more extravagantly:

Originally in African-American usage: (as a general term of approval) admirable, excellent. (sense 8b in the OED draft revision of September 2010)

The result is that red-hot cool isn’t at all contradictory; instead, the two parts reinforce one another.


One Response to “Short shot #54: red-hot cool”

  1. The Ridger Says:

    Wow. That’s just … lovely.

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