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16 More California Slang Terms: How to Speak Like a Californian (Part II)

Couldn’t get enough California slang from the last article? Here are some more terms that you’ll commonly hear people in California say.

If you plan on traveling to California or you’re simply interested in Californian culture, check out the vocabulary below.

Mastering these words will easily help you connect with young people from California (as well as the rest of the U.S.). Plus, it’s just so much more fun to talk this way!

Just remember, these are all informal words.

So without further ado [without anymore waiting], here are some more popular California slang terms you may have never heard of:

FREE Slang Guide: 101 Words You Won’t Learn in School

16 More California Slang Terms

Ballin’ – something that’s really cool or fancy. You can also say balla‘, which can refer to a person. This comes from a basketball player with lots of money. For example, I put diamonds on my food because it’s the most balla‘ thing you can possible do to your food.

Boss – When something is really cool or flashy. A boss is a man in charge, leading his own life. If you’re driving an expensive car, you can say you feel like a boss. Or if someone at a party is yelling and screaming and some dude easily quiets her down, you could say about the guy, “Damn, what a boss!” Check out this funny music video about boss.

Bust – when something is dangerous, not a good idea, or a waste of time. For example, having sex without condom is a bust.

Crossfaded – when you’re drunk and stoned (intoxicated from marijuana) at the same time. For example, if you’re drinking beer and someone asks you if you want to smoke weed you could say, “No thanks man. I don’t function well when I’m crossfaded.”

Dub – $20. For example, if someone asks you if you have change for a $10 bill, you could say, “Nah man, I’ve only got a dub.”

Fresh – something that is new, in really good condition, or simply stylish. For example, if you see your friend with a cool pair of shoes you could say, “Damn, those shoes are fresh!”

Gnarley – when something is intense or scary. This started as a surfer slang term that but it’s commonly used by many young people living in California. For example, if you see someone get hit by a car you could say, “Oh my God, that was gnarley!”

Heads ­- another way to say people. This is usually used to refer to guys. For example, if your inviting your friend to a party you could say, “How many heads are you coming with?”

Hella – a lot or very. This is common in Northern California (NorCal), but people in Southern California (SoCal) tend to hate this word. For example, there were hella people at the beach today.

Hyphy – to go crazy, without inhibition. This is generally used when partying. For example, if you’re planning on drinking a lot and dancing a lot, you could say to your friends, “Let’s get hyphy tonight!”

Poppin’ – when a party or other similar event is really fun, usually because there’s a lot of cool people. For example, “The party’s poppin’, get over here!”

Psyched – when you’re excited for something. For example, “I’m so psyched for this concert!”

Pumped (up) – similar meaning as psyched. When you’re excited and have a lot of energy. For example, “I’m so pumped up to go snowboarding this weekend.”

Sketch(y) – something that is dangerous, stupid, or just doesn’t feel right. When used to refer to a person it can also mean they are untrustworthy, creepy, or just someone you don’t feel comfortable being around. For example, “Look at that sketchy guy over in the corner talking to himself.”

Stunnas – sunglasses (usually big and fancy). You can also say “stunna shades.” For example, if you’re going to the beach you could say to your friend, “Make sure you bring your stunna shades.” Music video about wearing stunna shades indoors.

Trip (out) – trip can have many meanings. The most common is when someone is tripping out they are making a big deal out of a small problem. For example, you can tell someone who is over-reacting to “stop tripping out,” or simply, “don’t trip.”

Like What You Read?

Liked what you see here? Want to learn more about speaking English like a native?

If so, check out our free, check out our Free Slang Guide: 101 Words You Won’t Learn in School.

You can also follow us on Twitter where every day we post new slang terms and other English tips. It’s a great way to practice a little English every day.

  • Ethan Zinho says:

    Hella dope article T-dawg. You're such a balla.

  • Ryan Mereau says:

    dude some of these are East Coast slang

  • Yeah, but braw, where do you think they came from?

  • Dani says:

    From SoCal… you’re using some of these soooo wrong… We /DO/ say a lot of this though.

  • Austin Mahone says:

    xD haha. I think its hella funny how emphisized these things are. We dont use these words like 50 times in a sentence because then it just sounds dumb. c: but we do use all of these regularly. It doesnt even seem like a big deal. It feels like theyre just normal words really. But yeah. Your missing a bunch. Gotta catch up on this thing. Your slippin . And no one says “braw” anymore.. its too over used. However bro is appropriate context. c: it would be interesting if you also added the origin of the slang words. Most of these are from nor-Cal. Like san Francisco. Oakland. Berkeley . Vallejo. Yaknow. 😉 just a tip.

  • lou breader says:

    After reading bout how 2 speak real cool like a CA native, well I’m soo PSYCHED, feel soo BOMB, a virtual CLUTCH at conversation! I’ll b BALLIN w/ the BOSSES in no time! I mean straight POPPIN FRESH! I dont know how I managed til now! Wait, Im not putting myself ON BLAST, am I? Maybe I need a little more practice, is there a Part 3 coming out soon?

  • Mercedes says:

    Most of the weird ones come from northern California.

  • Brett Linkletter says:

    gnarly is not spelled with an "e" in it….

  • Ben Hong says:

    hey man.. WE DON'T GET HYPHY IN SOUTHERN CALI! OKAY?! GET IT RIGHT

  • I don't think we carry dubs in our wallets or go and get ourselves crossfaded, either, now that you mention it.

  • I didn't know that these 2 lists were mostly California. I thought everyone used these! Lol talk about sheltered right?

  • David Wisniewski says:

    4/16 along the 99 (mostly between Stockton and Fresno). I have never used nor heard used 75% of these.

  • David Wisniewski says:

    4/16 along the 99 (mostly between Stockton and Fresno). I have never used nor heard used 75% of these.

  • Brian Huynh says:

    Life in Nor Cal summed up pt.2

  • Kimberly says:

    I’m currently teaching in Mallorca, Spain, at a summer camp. It was really hard to think up the slang I use because it’s so pervasive in everyday life! This post helped me sort out my conversation activities. I’m pumped to teach my students about Cali slang.

    • Ethan says:

      That’s so awesome! I studied abroad in Mallorca. It’s one of the best places in the world :D. I’ll be going back in a few weeks, aww yeah!

  • Kimberly says:

    I’m currently teaching in Mallorca, Spain, at a summer camp. It was really hard to think up the slang I use because it’s so pervasive in everyday life! This post helped me sort out my conversation activities. I’m pumped to teach my students about Cali slang.

    • Ethan says:

      That’s so awesome! I studied abroad in Mallorca. It’s one of the best places in the world :D. I’ll be going back in a few weeks, aww yeah!

  • BasicWhiteGirl says:

    also the “Psyched” one could be used as, psyching yourself up, as in getting worked up over nothing

  • css514 says:

    also the “Psyched” one could be used as, psyching yourself up, as in getting worked up over nothing

  • whofan99 says:

    Do not use these unless you want to sound like a 90s rapper. I grew up in Southern California, and I say sketch, but that’s it. People who use the word “hella” want people to think they’re from Boston.

    • Ethan says:

      I don’t think that’s true. I don’t use much slang, but this was written by a Californian who uses these terms quite often. It depends completely on the person and how they grew up, their group of friends, etc. I’ve met a few people from California who in fact I struggled to understand because they used so much slang that was foreign to me.

      I also don’t use hella, but I’ve met a lot of people who do (usually from Bay Area) ;P

      • Ryan Alexander Yefimov says:

        bruh, all these people be talkin like that, i havent met a single dad my life that doesnt and hell yea rep that bay area, we say hella as often as we burn

    • Dingus says:

      Hella is a norcal term breh. Socal peeps joke that they have quantified hella to be equivalent to the number 98 though some scientists argue that it represents 10^27.

    • mei3ss says:

      Dude, Dingus is spot-on on this one. I’m from SF and I’ve use the word Hella all the time, regardless of who the company is. Same with dude

      • whofan99 says:

        I’m thinking it’s a divide between North and South. I never heard Hella growing up, but I have a good friend from SF, and he said it was used all the time. And we used choad way more than we ever used dingus…

        • Shortie_Doo_Wop says:

          Haha! I’m lovin this page! I’m from the SF Bay Area and we use all these and more! It a trip because I was born & raised here, so I never really realized how much slang we use. We are also very gender fluid here so any terms like bro could be to a f/m/tsp etc. I work for a large medical corporation in SF and none of these words are inappropriate for the work place.

          Hella, hecka, tryna, bro, dude, man, bruh, fool, thug, shady, sketch, cutty, The City (SF), The Town (Oakland), Bail, cruise, ride (can be anything from a car to a wakeskate), swoop, mob, bum, tree, dank, stoked, bomb, hyphy, gigin, no worries, fosho, for sure, nice, butt-hurt, trippin, light-weight, jacked, thrashed, trashed, janky, ballin, faded, hurt, kicks, threads.

          We also add “The” to any freeway “The 680” “The I 5” “The 4 cooridor”. We also have a tendency to Break up the bay and there are a ton of stereotypes that go with it all. I could go on for days. The North Bay is snooty. The Town is hood. The East Bay is laid back. The South Bay is over populated and the traffic is the hella crazy yo!?

  • whofan99 says:

    Do not use these unless you want to sound like a 90s rapper. I grew up in Southern California, and I say sketch, but that’s it. People who use the word “hella” want people to think they’re from Boston.

    • Ethan says:

      I don’t think that’s true. I don’t use much slang, but this was written by a Californian who uses these terms quite often. It depends completely on the person and how they grew up, their group of friends, etc. I’ve met a few people from California who in fact I struggled to understand because they used so much slang that was foreign to me.

      I also don’t use hella, but I’ve met a lot of people who do (usually from Bay Area) ;P

    • Dingus says:

      Hella is a norcal term breh. Socal peeps joke that they have quantified hella to be equivalent to the number 98 though some scientists argue that it represents 10^27.

    • mei3ss says:

      Dude, Dingus is spot-on on this one. I’m from SF and I’ve use the word Hella all the time, regardless of who the company is. Same with dude

      • whofan99 says:

        I’m thinking it’s a divide between North and South. I never heard Hella growing up, but I have a good friend from SF, and he said it was used all the time. And we used choad way more than we ever used dingus…

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