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'Ride or Die': Original Meaning and What It Means Today

Margaret Minnicks has been an online writer for many years. She researches and shares remedies for using certain products for illnesses.


People use the expression "ride or die" often these days. It is heard a lot on reality shows such as Big Brother, Survival and Amazing Race where a contestant team up with another and that person is later referred to as a "ride or die."

What "ride or die" means today has almost nothing to do with what it originally meant.



Originally "ride or die" had nothing to do with a relationship as the phrase means today. It actually did involve riding. It is a biker's expression meaning a person would rather die if he couldn't ride. That's how important riding is to a biker.

Some people might think about riding a motorcycle when they use the expression today, but "ride or die" means so much more. While the expression includes two verbs, most people often use it as a noun.

"Ride or Die": A Noun

Today people say, "she is my ride or die." That definitely is a noun that means you have someone to ride out any situation with or you would die trying. Therefore, both of you could ride the waves together. Do you see now how "ride or die" is no longer limited to what a biker would say?

Your "ride or die" is a person rather than something you do. Therefore, it is used in that sense as a noun. Let's see how it is as a verb.

"Ride or Die": Two Verbs

In addition to the expression being used as a noun, it can also be used as two verbs. The first verb is "ride" that could mean several things.

  1. A person could sit on and control the movement of an animal such as a horse.
  2. A person could ride a bicycle or motorcycle.
  3. A person could be transported in a vehicle while he sits back and relaxes without exerting any energy at all.
  4. He could ride a roller coaster and have fun while doing so.
  5. Surfers have much enjoyment while riding a wave.

The second verb is "die." When people use the expression "ride or die," the verb "die" is a hyperbole. That is a figure of speech which is an exaggeration of the length one would go to for a friend. One wouldn't actually die, but saying it illustrates the seriousness of the relationship.

Co-hosts of "The Real"

Co-hosts of "The Real"

Some "Ride or Die" Relationships

It is obvious when some relationships are "ride or die." Those who remember Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, know that the husband and wife co-stars actually did have a "ride or die" relationship on their western television show.

At the present time, Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez are each other's "ride or die." They have been in a serious relationship for a long time.

The co-hosts of The Real daytime television talk show appear to be one another's "ride or die." The co-hosts are Tamara Mowry-Housley, Jeannie Mai, Loni Love, and Adrienne Houghton. The ladies are friends even when they are not on the air. They tease one another and have a good time on their show that is now in its fifth season. This indicates that a "ride or die" does not have to be a romantic relationship.

On Big Brother 19, Cody Nickson, 33, and Jessica Graf, 28, were such a "ride or die" that their showmance continued after their season of the reality show ended. Cody and Graf were evicted from the Big Brother show, but they teamed up and won The Amazing Race 30 in their "ride or die" relationship.

Last September, Jess and Cody announced they are having a baby. They got married on October 13, 2018. This surely proves that not only do some showmances continues but that a "ride or die" relationship that begins on a reality show will sometimes develop into something much more.

Your "Ride or Die"

Perhaps you know someone who has a "ride or die" relationship. Or perhaps you have a "ride or die" yourself. It is always good to have someone who has your back.

The next time you are watching a reality show where there are teams, notice how many times you hear someone use the expression "ride or die."


Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on January 31, 2019:

The Sampsons, yes, when most people use the expression today it is a noun. Example: Bev is my "ride or die." That is definitely a noun because Bev is the "ride or die" even though she is a person.

We remember from our English classes that a noun is a person, place of thing.

Thanks for letting me know you learned something from my article.

It is always my intent for people to learn something from what I write.

The Sampsons from The Ozarks, Missouri on January 31, 2019:

Well, I learned something here. I had no idea this could be a "noun". I guess my husband and I - of 35 years - are each others riders, and hopefully a l-o-n-g way off for the other! Yikes!

Ellison Hartley from Maryland, USA on January 31, 2019:

This is so cool. I use this term a lot, in its modern context and never thought much about what it could have originated from.

Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on January 30, 2019:

Tim, I am always interested in sayings and their origins. I watch a lot of reality shows, and the contestants usually talk about having a "ride or die."

Whenever I am interested in something and do the research, I might as well share with others who might also be interested in the same topic. There is no need for the research to go to waste.

As usual, thanks for reading and commenting.

Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on January 30, 2019:

I wouldn't be surprised if this phrase really goes back to the west, Margaret. But it makes sense for it to come out of biker culture.

I guess my wife and I are like that. But neither one of us would jeopardize the other. That's ride and be "stupid." That's like your video was talking about.

Great article on a topic that's important today.

Much respect,


PoetikalyAnointed on January 30, 2019:

Hello Margaret,

I'm glad that I added a different perspective to your topic. It's one that has so many sides to it...

Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on January 30, 2019:

PoetikalyAnointed, you have shared some interesting things about "ride or die." When I revise my article, I will include those points because they are good ones.

Believe it or not, I have never been anybody's "ride or die." I missed out on that experience.

PoetikalyAnointed on January 30, 2019:

Very cool and on-point topic for a Hub!

Thanks for sharing the origins of the phrase. I never knew where it started from but It's not hard to figure out-make sense.

Today's meaning has been used in popular songs, movies, tv and so on. I think being a "ride or die" person has it's pros and cons.

Pros: it can show that you're loyal, dependable, trustworthy, strong-willed (in Healty Relationships)

Cons: it can show an unhealthy co-depency in a toxic relationship. Maybe the two of you are scared to move on due to history. Maybe you feel like you will literally die by the hands of the other, if you don't ride...etc.

Sadly, I know a lot about the latter...but I did ride away into the sunset! I would've died if I'd stayed.

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