Kylie Jenner is showing off the new sick ride in her driveway, but the new whip is so expensive it has some fans calling for her to give that money to people in need.

Yahoo: Kylie Jenner Shows Off New $3 Million Luxury Car, Fans Upset Pointing Out People Are Starving

I saw this from this article. I feel the word 'sick' means something good here. I found a definition in this dictionary:

very informal very impressive, attractive, enjoyable, etc. This word is used mainly by young people.

The hair, make up and outfit is sick! She looks amazing!
(Macmillan Dictionary)

I'm not sure if I understand it correctly. 'Sick' can also mean unpleasant. How can we determine if the speaker means good or unpleasant?

  • 3
    As an aside: I would have said "sick new ride" and not "new sick ride" but then I'm getting old.
    – Ron Jensen
    Oct 7, 2019 at 14:27

2 Answers 2


That's the right definition. I believe this is a contronym:

An auto-antonym or autantonym, also called a contronym, contranym or Janus word, is a word with multiple meanings (senses) of which one is the reverse of another. For example, the word cleave can mean "to cut apart" or "to bind together". This phenomenon is called enantiosemy, enantionymy (enantio- means "opposite"), antilogy or autantonymy. An enantiosemic term is necessarily polysemic.

How do you determine the meaning? The same way you determine the meaning in any other case: context. You could tell from the context that it should have a positive meaning. It wouldn't really make sense for her to show off her unpleasant ride. Instead, she's likely showing off her awesome ride!

This is not unique to sick. A couple that came to mind are bad and wicked:

  • bad
    Slang. outstandingly excellent; first-rate:
    He's a bad man on drums, and the fans love him.

  • wicked
    9 Slang. wonderful; great; masterful; deeply satisfying:
    He blows a wicked trumpet.


  • Is 'badass' one of those?
    – dan
    Oct 7, 2019 at 8:04
  • 1
    @dan you mean is "badass" a seemingly negative word with positive meanings? Yes it is.
    – Eddie Kal
    Oct 7, 2019 at 12:06
  • See also dictionary.com/e/when-bad-really-means-good
    – Graham
    Oct 7, 2019 at 17:06
  • 2
    I feel like "bad" is a little outdated. I remember people using "bad" to mean the same as "cool" when I was a kid, but I don't hear that usage anymore. So I would think someone younger would be confused if you called something "bad". On the other hand, "badass" is popular. Oct 7, 2019 at 17:12

Yes, you are correct. "New sick ride" is definitely referring to something positive here. Sick can mean trendy, cool, awesome, fashionable and wicked, to name a few.

Sick can also mean unpleasant, as you have stated as well. In this case, sick is usually referring to something that you do not want to think about / imagine.

However, it is worth bearing in mind that both uses of sick here are most commonly used by younger English people, as it is a form of slang. It's like "wicked", you wouldn't typically hear an elderly person using this word.

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