I've seen this expression in Dota 2 and League of Legends and I've heard streamers say it.

"I'm Tilting" or "I'm on Tilt" are examples of the expression in use.

What is the meaning of this expression?

And in what situations can it be applied?

4 Answers 4


Tilt originated from Poker and it's usually a state of emotional frustration and confusion.

It's most commonly used if you're going on a losing streak and then you become so frustrated that you start playing worse because you cannot focus anymore.

The Dignitas Blog wrote a nice article about tilting and how to prevent it.

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    The psychological meaning started in Poker, but it (likely) derives from pinball. A physical pinball machine can be manipulated by tilting the machine to make the ball fall one way or another. To avoid this, tilt switches were added which disabled the machine if it was moved too much. Thus, if you got angry and started to kick and push the machine, it would cause you to lose, and make you even more angry.
    – Max
    Commented Nov 4, 2014 at 17:33
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    @Max As the term typically describes over-aggressive play, the term may be older still. "Tilt" also means "to point or thrust a weapon" or "to charge", as in "at full tilt" or "tilting at windmills". To be "on tilt" may literally mean "to be on the charge", which would be a particularly strong characterisation of "on tilt" play in poker. Commented Nov 4, 2014 at 18:28
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    @imsotiredicantsleep, "tilt" in a phrase like "tilting at windmills" (thank you, Don Quixote) refers to jousting. Which, yes, involves charging, but the meaning is more specific. (Tilt can also be used to refer to the jousting contest itself, rather than the act of participating in a joust.)
    – Brian S
    Commented Nov 4, 2014 at 19:27
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    @BrianS I'm not so sure. Certainly the term originates in jousting, but I think the term had already been generalised to "charge" by the time "tilting at windmills" was coined. Don Quixote believed the windmills to be giants, not fellow knights on horseback, and he intended to slay them, not merely spar. There is also a big upsurge in use during WW2, when there would have been a lot of charging, but very little jousting. Commented Nov 4, 2014 at 19:54

"Tilt" originates from pinball tables, where altering the slope of the table would affect the path of the ball. As this is essentially cheating, pinball tables were designed with a tilt sensor, which when triggered would disable all scoring mechanisms (and usually the flippers as well), forfeiting any further action with that ball.

A player that's frustrated may shove the table in anger, triggering the tilt sensor. (Gentle nudging was a common tactic, if one was familiar enough with a particular pinball table to know the sensitivity of the sensor.) So the expression "on tilt" started to be used to mean a player who's lost his cool.


"On tilt" is a term used to describe a negative emotional state that clouds a person's judgement and leads them to continue to make mistakes, often growing in magnitude as the player's frustration mounts.

The term is often used in reference to gambling, as well as competitive games many sorts, including video games and poker. Wikipedia has an article dedicated to the use of the term in the context of competitive poker play.


When your so pissed off from losing multiple amount of games that you play worse and worse till your so pissed you begin leaning over your keyboard screaming over every little mistake you make and complaining about gaming imbalances

urbandictionary (i know there are spelling misstakes in the text! I just copied it how it was)

My words:

It's a state of mind that blocks or blurs your rational thinking, which leads to bad decisions. It is often caused by doing something not as desired or when your under pressure (being flamed, screamed at by parents, ...)

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    I know it's Urban Dictionary, but it still pisses me off that people can't get "your/you're" right... Commented Nov 4, 2014 at 18:49
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    i never thought i would cite urbandictionary ever.... Commented Nov 4, 2014 at 18:52

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