17 California Slang Terms: How to Speak Like a Californian

17 California Slang TermsSlang is one of the most interesting and fun aspects of a language.

The more slang you know, the easier it is to connect and make friends with native speakers.

People from California love to use and make up their own slang, adding color and personality to the language.

A lot of the slang used in California is also used by the rest of the United States, partly because of Hollywood and partly because a lot of people want to move to California. People from California tend to use much more slang than people in other parts of the U.S.

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

Also, because of Hollywood and music, California slang gets spread to the rest of the English speaking world as well.

One of the great things about slang is that it makes normal, boring things sound much cooler and more exciting. For example, check out “post up,” “cruise,” and “bail” below (among others).

Here are some of the most common California slang terms that you’ve probably never heard of:

17 California Slang Terms

Bail – to leave a place. (Bail also means the temporary release of someone awaiting trial for a crime.) For example, if you’re at a friend’s house and you want to go home, you can say, “Hey man, I’m tired. I’m gonna bail.”

Bomb(ie) – you can say something is bomb when you really like it. When a girl is very attractive, you can call her a bombie. (Bomb also means an explosive.) For example, “Angelina Joline is so bomb,” or “Angelina Joline is such a bombie.

Bum – to borrow/have. (Bum is also another word for a homeless person.) For example, if you order food that costs $8.25 you can ask your friend to bum a quarter.


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Butthurt – when someone gets upset over a small thing. You use this to emphasize how easily someone got upset about something so small. For example, Joe got butthurt when Cami didn’t answer her phone.

To call (someone) out – to say someone is wrong. For example, I decided to wait until after the speech before calling him out on his mistake.

Claiminit – what you say when someone is bragging. (Claim also means to state something is true, usually without evidence.) For example, if someone’s talking about how cool they are because they can do a backflip on a snowboard, you can say while rolling your eyes, “Claimin’ it,” or “he claims so hard.”

Clutch – when someone unexpectedly has something that helps a situation. (Clutch also means to grab tightly.) For example, if you buy some wine but you don’t have a wine opener at your house, but your friend has one in his backpack, that’s clutch.

Cruise – another way to say “come” or “leave.” (Cruise also means to sail about for pleasure, often with no desitination.) For example, “Hey man, you wanna cruise over to my place after work?” Or, “Hey man, it’s getting late. I’m gonna cruise.”

Dank – another way to say something is good. (Dank also means disagreeably damp and stale.) This originated from marijuana, but is commonly used for other things as well. For example, “This food is dank, I could eat it every day.”

Drag – to inhale cigarette smoke. (Drag also means to pull something or someone with force.) For example, if someone is smoking a cigarette, you can say, “Hey man, can I get a drag?”

Heavy – when something is very sad or depressing. (Heavy also means something that weighs a lot.) For example, if someone tells you their cousin died yesterday, you could say, “Damn, dude. That’s heavy...”

Mob – similar to cruise, but it usually implies to come quickly, often by foot, bike, or skateboard. (Mob also means a large crowd of people.) For example, if you ask someone to cruise over to your house after work, and they say they don’t have a car you can say, “Just mob, dude.

Post up – to stand around (often leaning against a wall) without doing much. You can use this when telling some to wait for you, “Just post up here, I’ll be right back,” or if you’re in the club, “hey let’s post up by the bar.” This is a little bit like hang out. [link]

Put (someone) on blast – to make fun of someone in front of other people. If someone is making fun of your new haircut at a party in front of other people, you could say, “Yo dude, why’re you putting me on blast?

To rock (something) – to wear clothes/accessories with style. (Rock also means to move gently from side to side.) For example, if someone asked to borrow white sock from me, I could say, “Sorry man, I only rock black socks.” Also, asking someone, “Can I rock this?” is another way of saying, “Does this look good on me?”

Swooped – to steal/take. (Swoop also means a fast, downward movement through the air, usually by a bird.) This is also used when you’re trying to get with a girl and someone else ends up hooking up with her. For example, if you’re sitting in the front of a car and you leave to go to the bathroom, and someone takes your spot, they swooped you (or you “got swooped”).

Part II – 16 More California Slang Terms

Did you think this was it? You’re trippin’ out, bro!

Get pumped for the second part of this series, and learn 16 more cool California slang terms.

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  • Erik says:

    “for sure” as well

  • Ray says:

    In Southern California, does people call other people “cousin”?

  • Dave says:

    I Live, And was born in Cali,
    Some of these i dont recognize but some i do!
    the ones i Do are
    Calling someone out
    Rocking somethin
    and Swooped,

    Though i personally use
    alot in the way i talk, though i do use
    Rocking somethin
    and Swooped as to say in a Joke sense,
    When- they’re like– i dunno- Sketchers

    Also- Another word is Hella, I dont hear Hella ever outside of California.

  • Yeah me says:

    Do they use “bitch” casually in SoCal? In Compton?