I marked a student down for using the word chillax as I believed it to not be a word. Later on they approach me on the issue and show me that it is indeed in the dictionary.

Every fiber of my being screams that it shouldn't be used. Even this site underlines the word saying it's not correct.

According to all dictionary entries I've seen it's not even listed as slang, only informal.

What is a valid reason that chillax shouldn't be used?

Perhaps because it's informal but that doesn't seem like a valid reason as there are plenty of informal words that are quite common and I wouldn't think to mark them down for words such as phone or kids.

closed as primarily opinion-based by MetaEd Dec 3 '18 at 19:24

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    This site does not mark chillax as incorrect, as far as I can see. My spellchecker does, but that's because spellcheckers are behind the times. – Matt E. Эллен Sep 9 '15 at 11:49
  • 3
    Robusto's answer is spot on. While you may be able to find some argument based on context, most likely the usage is fine. Use your mistake as a lesson opportunity. – samuelesque Sep 9 '15 at 12:20
  • 1
    Presumably this was not a math assignment: "Can I split x into two factors? Chillax, Dude! x is not a prime number!" – GEdgar Sep 9 '15 at 13:32
  • 1
    You're not alone...I hate the word too...and I'm unrepentant on this. I don't know why, there's just something about it that grinds my gears. I agree with Robusto...its a matter of appropriateness. What was the topic for writing? – michael_timofeev Sep 9 '15 at 15:47
  • 2
    Note that the word is incredibly "young". One online dictionary records it's first known use as 1999. As such, even in the best of circumstances it must be considered "slang" -- appropriate only in text that is attempting to reproduce vernacular speech. – Hot Licks Sep 9 '15 at 18:36

Language changes over time. New words are added and old ones fall by the wayside. The portmanteau chillax (combining chill, from "chill out," a newish slang term meaning "relax," and relax meaning the same thing) is an example of how a lot of people talk these days.

What you may want to think about is when such a term is appropriate and when it is not. In an academic or scientific paper (excluding linguistics) one would do well to avoid the term altogether; the same applies to legal documents, sober-sided business publications, and so on.

Bear in mind that if your student tells you to "chillax" it's fairly rude, so that is also a case where you might want to suggest it not be used. But you needn't worry that casual use of chillax among peers will rot the students' brains. It won't.

Wallace Stevens, the great American poet, said of modern poetry that "It has to be living, to learn the speech of the place." "Chillax" is an example of living language. Do not feel you have to kill it, because 1) you don't have to, and 2) you can't.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.