Bing Chilling 冰淇淋 (bīng qílín) is a meme phrase derived from phonetic English wordplay of “ice cream” in Chinese, and is used to denote a neutral-positive response to a question or proposition. It originated from a viral video in which the famous American wrestler and actor John Cena (ironically dubbed “Zhong Xina” after his “Apology to China” video became viral) professed his love for ice cream in Mandarin. The video was recorded when he was in China to promote the upcoming Fast and Furious 9 movie, of which he plays a character named Jakob Toretto. In this video, John Cena can be seen sitting in his car, holding a half-melted ice cream cone to his mouth and speaking into it as if it were a microphone.
The Mandarin transcription of the video is as follows:
“早上好中国。 现在我有冰激淋 我很喜欢冰激淋。但是《速度与激情9》比冰激淋……”
The English translation is as follows:
“Good morning, China. Right now I have ice cream. I like ice cream very much, but Fast and Furious 9 is better than ice cream.”
John Cena [@RealWWEJohnCena]. “#速度与激情9#….冰激淋…….” Weibo, May 9th, 2021, <https://weibo.com/3477696732/KeMYdlq0l?ssl_rnd=1624515099.6969>
He posted the video on his Weibo account on May 10, 2021. Many Weibo users found his pronunciation of “冰淇淋,” ice cream, quite amusing. Shortly after, John Cena suffered backlash from mainland Chinese people for referring to Taiwan as a separate country rather than a province of China. It was not until the wrestler uploaded his “Apology to China” video that his promotional video for Fast and Furious 9 started to receive more popularity. The short promotional video circulated onto other platforms, and non-Mandarin speaking Internet users didn’t understand what John Cena was saying but took a liking to the way the wrestler pronounced “冰淇淋,” phonetically transcribing the words to “Bing Chilling.” Since then, the phrase “Bing Chilling” has had countless appearances across the internet in the forms of video edits and memes. There are several video edits on YouTube with the usage of “Bing Chilling” as the punchline that have acquired more than a million views. “Bing Chilling” is also a very popular audio on TikTok, with more than 50,000 users creating videos to the audio as of February 28, 2023.
Not only has “Bing Chilling” been featured in content published to the internet, it has also been incorporated into slang and modern vernacular used amongst many online communities. While there is not an established way to use “Bing Chilling,” it is often employed by youths on social media to communicate that something is “chill” (adjective,) or used interchangeably with the act of “chilling” (verb.)
“I can FaceTime you in 30 minutes, how’s that?”
“What are you up to right now?”
“Oh, I’m just bing chilling.”