The film is another thriller that mistakes surface coolth for depth.

What exactly does the expression trying to say?

  • What exactly is the expression trying to say? Perhaps that the thriller is superficially cool but lacks depth, using style to try to convey that is does have depth. Which it doesn't, it's just stylish. Jan 19, 2020 at 20:16

1 Answer 1


The word 'coolth' has been in use since the 1500s, meaning, essentially, the opposite of 'warmth', but, since the 1960s, has had a humorous, informal meaning of 'the quality of being relaxed, assured, or sophisticated in demeanour or style', that is, of being 'cool' in the 'hip' sense. The sentence is saying that the film (or rather, its maker) has mistaken being superficially fashionable for being profound or important.

Coolth (Grammarphobia)

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Coolth (OED - Google Books)

  • What does surface coolth of depth meaning?? Jan 22, 2020 at 15:02
  • @Abraham - 'mistake A for B' means 'wrongly think A is B'. Jan 22, 2020 at 15:54
  • Okay. What does the author imagine by the term surface coolth? Surface is cool means what? Can you please explain it? Jan 24, 2020 at 13:09
  • The surface of anything is the outside layer, or skin. To see only the surface of something, and ignore deeper parts, is what is being discussed. Creative art or writing which is only concerned with trivial matters to do with appearance or fashion is often said to be 'superficial'. The film is a thriller which is concerned with superficial dumb things like hairstyles, clothes, fashion, cars, etc, and not with e.g. important moral or political matters. Jan 24, 2020 at 14:20

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