Slang dictionary

rolling in the deep

What does rolling in the deep mean?

Rolling in the deep is both a lyric and song by Adele. It suggests emotional closeness and dependence, especially in a romantic relationship.

Where does rolling in the deep come from?

rolling in the deep

Rolling in the deep is a lyric that originally appeared in the 2010 hit Adele song of the same name. The song itself describes the singer’s vengeful feelings toward an ex-boyfriend. In an interview, she says that the lyrics are telling him to “get the fuck out of [her] house instead of [her] begging him to come back.” The song has been hugely popular and by 2017, its official music video had over one billion views on YouTube.

So what does rolling in the deep mean? Adele herself has stated that she adapted the lyric from the expression roll deep. Roll deep (which is used as a verb) has existed since at least the 1990s and has a meaning that could be approximated to having a close personal relationship with one or more people. These people are your ride or die, so to speak. Adele defines this expression as meaning that someone always has your back and you’re never on your own. She says that that’s how she felt in the relationship that the song’s about before that relationship ultimately failed.

The line rolling in the deep appears several times throughout the song. The first time it appears is during the climax of the song, which starts in a pretty low-key way. She sings “I can’t help feeling / We could have had it all (You’re gonna wish you never had met me) / Rolling in the deep.” After that point, she repeats rolling in the deep throughout the song for an intense emotional effect as she sings about her grief over the end of the relationship.

Examples of rolling in the deep

“On a scale of one to Adele are we Rolling in the Deep Yet?”
Noodle Head @iam_KSlayeR Twitter (March 24, 2012)
“Hope I don’t screw up, I almost threw up / I can’t help freakin’ / Because I am on call (Everything changes when you’re in med 3) / And I won’t get no sleep (Actually doing stuff.. Waiting for the beep) [Rolling in the Deep parody video]”
Tito Daodu, “Rolling in the Deep Med School Parody - Waiting for the Beep (Beer & Skits),” YouTube (April 13, 2012)
“The shoes are cheesy, they are so sneezy / So just focus on the opportunity / Bowling with the veeps [Rolling in the Deep parody video]”
CareerBuilder, “Adele - Rolling in the Deep Parody (Bowling with the Veeps),” YouTube (March 29, 2017)

Who uses rolling in the deep?

Because of the song’s immense popularity, it’s spawned many parodies and covers. The parodies typically involve clever wordplay on the title and lyrics. They follow the rhythm of the song but replace the lyrics themselves.

Outside of doing anything with the actual song, people usually use the phrase itself to reference the hit song or to speculate on the meaning of the line, since it’s not common knowledge.

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