Living Rent Free

What does living rent free mean?

Being obsessed about

When someone is obsessing about something or someone, that thing they are obsessing about is "living rent free" in their head. People often use it as an insult to call out "haters" that are obsessing too much about someone or something.

Where did living rent free come from?

The phrase became popular in the late-2010s; however, it dates back earlier than that, to at least the late-1990s. Ann Landers, an advice columnist, wrote in 1999 that "Hanging onto resentment is letting someone you despise live rent-free in your head."

While it took years for it to become popular, some trace back the origins to Landers' advice. In the late-2010s, the phrase gained prominence on social media amongst people beefing with each other in competitive arenas like sports, hip hop rivalries, and politics.

When do I use living rent free?

You can use the phrase to describe anybody who is fixated on something, whether good or bad. For example, if you are obsessed with video games, someone could say that "Starcraft is living rent free in your head."

However, most people use it as a retort to people who criticize them. For example, if your stepdad is telling you to get a job and move out, you might say, "Wow, Bill, I must be living rent free in your head."


Joe just does not shut up about LeBron James on Twitter. He is living rent free in his head

When you are living rent free in someone's head

Related Slang


Updated June 17, 2021

Living rent free definition by

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