What does Ill mean?

‘Ill’ means ‘Cool’

If you’ve heard someone describe something as ‘ill’, don’t worry – they’re not talking about being sick. In slang language, ‘ill’ is a way to express that something is really cool, outstanding, or superb. For instance, if you are amazed by your buddy’s new car, you might say, “Your ride is ill, dude!”

The slang ‘ill’ has its roots in the rap and hip-hop culture from the 1980s. It’s been used in rap lyrics to mean ‘crazy’ or ‘wild’. For example, a popular hip-hop band of that era, Public Enemy, used it in their 1987 song “Bring the Noise” to mean ‘crazy’. Meanwhile, another notable hip-hop group, N.W.A, used it to mean ‘cool’ in their 1988 album Straight Outta Compton.

Over time, the usage of ‘ill’ has blended through various rap and hip-hop tracks, evolving into a term that describes things that are exceptionally good or cool. Today, it’s a common slang term you might hear in everyday conversations, in music, on the internet, or in text messages for things people find impressive.

For example, a stranger on the train might say, “That cap is ill, man! Where’d you buy it?” Or, your friend might describe the latest sci-fi movie as an “ill experience.” So, the next time you hear ‘ill’, remember it’s a way to express something is cool or awesome.

Example for using ‘Ill’ in a conversation

Hey, check out my new skateboard! 🤙

Whoa, that’s ill! Where did you get it? 😮

I got it from this rad skate shop downtown. It’s sick! 🛹

Nice! Let’s hit the skate park later and show off our tricks. It’s gonna be ill! 🤘