Cole \c(o)-le\ as a boy's name (also used as girl's name Cole), is pronounced kohl. It is of Middle English and Old French origin, and the meaning of Cole is "swarthy, coal-black, charcoal". Surname derived from a medieval given name. Also used as a short form of Nicholas and names beginning with Cole-. As a given name, it is linked with the songwriter-composer Cole Porter (20th century). Outlaw Cole Younger.