Chillin: Definition, Meaning and Origin

Last Updated on
May 27, 2023

"Chillin" is an idiomatic expression that means spending time relaxed or leisurely, without any particular activity or purpose. Young people commonly use this phrase, which is often associated with a casual lifestyle.

In short: 

"Chillin" means hanging out and relaxing without any particular activity or goal.

What Does "Chillin" Mean?

"Chillin" is an idiomatic expression that means taking it easy, relaxing, or hanging out without any specific activity or purpose. This term is often used among young people as an informal way of saying that they are not doing anything in particular and just enjoying their free time.

  • This idiom usually suggests a laid-back and carefree lifestyle. It is associated with a positive and casual attitude toward life.
  • It can be used as a verb (doing some chillin') or an adjective (having a chillin time).
  • It can also be combined with other words to create variations like 'chillaxing' (a combination of chill and relax), 'chill out' (to calm down or take a step back), or "chill pill" (a metaphorical pill that helps you relax or stop worrying about something).

Where Does "Chillin" Come From?

The exact origins of the phrase "chillin" are not clear. However, it likely emerged in African American communities in the United States as far back as the 1970s. In this context, 'chill' refers to relaxing or hanging out with friends in a casual and laid-back setting. This colloquial idiom has since been adopted into the general lexicon due to its versatile usage and cultural influence. Over time, this expression became more popular among young people of all races and backgrounds, particularly in the 1990s and 2000s. Today, "chillin" has become a ubiquitous term in youth culture and is often used to describe a range of social activities, from spending time at home to going out with friends.

Historical Examples:

"We're just chillin', you know, kickin' it..." 

—Lyrics from "Just Kickin' It," a 1993 song by Xscape, an American female R&B quartet.

10 Examples of "Chillin" in Sentences

  • I was just chillin with my friends when they reminded me to always believe in myself.
  • Let's go to the park, chill and catch up on things.
  • I have for now decided to take a break from work and spend the afternoon chillin at the beach, soaking up the sun and seizing the day.
  • After work, I like to kick back and have a beer while chillin' with my friends.
  • I was just chillin at home when my friend walked in, looking like the bearer of bad news.
  • There's nothing else to do today, so why don't we chillax and spend time together?
  • I'm not feeling well, so I'll just take a chill pill and just lie down for a while.
  • My favorite thing to do on weekends is have a lazy morning and spend the day chillin' at home.
  • I was just chillin at the park when my friend called to inquire about the new job opportunity.
  • I'm not currently in the mood for anything too complicated. Let's have a chill night at home tonight.

 Examples of "Chillin" in Pop Culture

  • In the song "Netflix and Chill" by rappers 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne, the artists describe a night spent relaxing and watching movies with their partners.
  • The phrase 'chilling' is used in the song 'Hotline Bling' by Drake, where the rapper sings: "You used to call me on my cell phone, late night when you need my love/Call me on my cell phone, late night when you need my love/I know when that hotline bling/That can only mean one thing/I know when that hotline bling/That can only mean one thing/Ever since I left the city, you/Started wearing less and going out more/Glasses of champagne out on the dance floor/Hangin' with some girls I've never seen before."
  • The classic sitcom 'Friends' features several episodes where the characters spend time just 'chillin' together in their apartments or local coffee shops.
  • The movie 'Pineapple Express' depicts the characters smoking and sharing drugs while 'chilling' together, eventually leading them on a wild adventure.
  • In the video game 'Grand Theft Auto,' the player can use the phrase 'chillin" as a response to a non-playable character's greeting, indicating that they have nothing particular to do but hang out for a while.
  • In an episode of the TV show 'Atlanta,' the character Paper Boi explains to his friend that he's going to 'chill' at home and watch a movie instead of going out and partying.
  • The popular YouTube channel 'ChilledCow' features a live broadcast of lo-fi hip-hop music accompanied by an animated girl 'chilling' and studying, aimed at helping listeners relax and focus.
  • In the movie 'Friday,' the two main characters spend their day 'chilling' on their front porch, trying to avoid getting into trouble.

Other Ways to Say "Chillin"

  • Hanging out
  • Taking it easy
  • Relaxing
  • Kicking back
  • Unwinding
  • Chilling out
  • Having a lazy day
  • Lounging around
  • Taking a break
  • Killing time

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Chillin"

  • What does "chillin" mean?

It's an idiom meaning to relax or take it easy.

  • Where does the idiom "chillin" originate?

"Chillin" originated from mid-20th century America, particularly from African American Vernacular English.

  • What are some related expressions to "chillin"?

Some related expressions include "chillin out", "just chillin", and "chillin like a villain".

  • Is "chillin" formal or informal?

The term "chillin" is predominantly used in informal contexts.

  • Can "chillin" be used in professional settings?

Typically, it is not recommended to use "chillin" in professional or formal settings due to its casual tone.

  • Is "chillin" used worldwide, or is it region-specific?

While it originated in America, the usage of "chillin" has spread worldwide, mainly due to media and the internet.

  • Does "chillin" have a negative connotation?

"Chillin" does not inherently have a negative connotation, but context is key to how it's perceived.

  • Can "chillin" be used as a verb?

Yes, "chillin" can be used as a verb to denote the action of relaxing.

  • How is "chillin" used in pop culture?

In pop culture, "chillin" is often used in music, movies, and television series to convey relaxation or a laid-back attitude.

  • What's an alternative to saying "chillin"?

Alternatives include terms like "relaxing", "taking it easy", or "hanging out".

Final Thoughts About "Chillin"

"Chillin" is a versatile idiom with significant relevance in casual, everyday language.

Key aspects of the term

  • Meaning: "Chillin" denotes relaxation or a laid-back attitude.
  • Origin: The term originates from mid-20th century America, particularly African American Vernacular English.
  • Usage: While informal in nature, "chillin" is commonly used in various social contexts, from casual conversations to pop culture.
  • Spread: Although American in origin, the term has found worldwide recognition, largely due to the spread of media and the internet.
  • Variations: Related expressions such as "chillin out", "just chillin", and "chillin like a villain" also carry the same relaxed connotation.
  • Alternatives: Similar expressions include "relaxing," "taking it easy," and "hanging out."

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