What does the idiom "take it easy" mean?

Are you using the idiom take it easy but not sure about its meaning? Using idioms, which are important elements of spoken and written language, in the right place strengthens your language skills. Examine the meaning of the take it easy idiom and the situations in which it is used.

Meaning of "take it easy"


The idiom “take it easy” is an informal expression used to wish someone relaxation, calmness, and patience, or to advise someone to not do something too quickly or too intensely. Generally, it is a phrase used to encourage someone to not be too stressed out and to relax.


The origin of the idiom “take it easy” is disputed. There are some who believe the phrase was first used by African American slaves in the American South, as a way to express the idea of perseverance and hope despite the difficulty of their circumstances. This theory is supported by the fact that similar phrases such as “take yo’ time,” “take it slow,” and “take a chill pill” have been present in African-American slang for many years.

Others have suggested the phrase originates in rural cowboy culture, with “take a rest” being replaced with “take it easy,” as cowboys typically said this as they were preparing to leave town. The earliest record of this phrase being used in print is from 1870 in a collection of stories written by Bret Harte, an American author.


The idiom “take it easy” is most often used in contexts where someone is feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or overworked. It can also be used more generally as an expression of goodwill, when leaving someone. It is typically used as a request (“Take it easy, okay?”) or as an imperative (“Take it easy!”).

In contexts when someone is feeling overwhelmed, “take it easy” can be used to express an understanding or recognition of the difficulty of the situation they’re in. It can also be used as a reminder to relax and not get too worked up over the situation. In some cases, it can also be used as a sign of encouragement and support, suggesting that the person will make it through the situation with patience and perseverance. In general, it’s an expression of goodwill and understanding.

Example Sentences

  • I know you’ve got a lot on your plate, but try

The meanings of the words in the "take it easy" idiom

The Global Spread of English Idioms

As English has become a global language, its idioms have spread far beyond the borders of the UK and USA. For instance, the idiom "beat around the bush" has equivalents in many other languages, such as "tourner autour du pot" in French and "dar vueltas al asunto" in Spanish. Meanwhile, other idioms have been adapted for local contexts, such as the Russian idiom "?? ???? ???????" (ne svoya rubashka), which translates to "not one's own shirt," meaning to be in an uncomfortable or unfamiliar situation.


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