What Does Cash One’s Chips In Mean?

Cash in Chips Meaning

Definition: (1) to get money for tokens won while gambling; (2) to die; (3) to quit something; (4) to try to make a profit, usually at someone else’s expense.

As you can see, this phrase has multiple meanings. The most common meaning is probably the idiomatic use to die.

Origin of Cash in Chips

This expression became popular in the 1900s. It comes from gambling. Chips (small tokens) are used to represent monetary winnings in poker or other gambling games. When a person is done playing, he can turn in these chips and receive cash in return.

Examples of Cash in Chips

Meaning of cash in chipsHere is an example of two family members discussing the grandmother’s health.

Grandmother: Hello, darling. How was school today?

Granddaughter: It was fine, but are you okay? You look like you feel a little sick.

Grandmother: I actually don’t feel so well.

Granddaughter: Did you see the doctor?

Grandmother: No, I don’t think that’s necessary. It’s probably just a small cold.

Granddaughter: Well, at your age you can’t be too careful. Maybe we should make you an appointment.

Grandmother: I’m not that old, dear. I’m not quite ready to cash in my chips just yet.

Define cash in chipsThe second dialogue shows a daughter and her father discussing the father’s recent divorce.

Father: It’s been one month now since your mother and I got divorced. How are you doing with all the changes?

Daughter: I guess things aren’t as bad as I thought they would be. But there’s something I’ve wanted to ask you about.

Father: Sure. What is it?

Daughter: It didn’t seem like you and mom really had any problems. What made you decide to cash in your chips on the marriage?

Father: We did have problems; we just didn’t want to worry you with them.

More Examples

The excerpt below is about an actor who is pleased with his life and looks forward to living longer.

And when he’s asked to take stock of his own life, Hawke says his reality is pretty good.

  • “I’m not dead yet,” Hawke adds. “I don’t have to cash my chips in right now. But so far so great.USA Today

This excerpt is from an article about how an athlete might leave his team for another team in order to make more money. His original team does not support this move.

  • Agent Paul Stretford is reported to be in China right now as Rooney considers a possible move to their Super League ahead of next Tuesday’s transfer deadline, but former United captain Keane is not impressed by the apparent eagerness of his former team-mate to cash his chips in by making the lucrative switch. –Irish Independent


To cash in one’s chips has multiple meanings. Of the various meanings, to die is the most commonly used.