15 Slang Words Unique to California

California, famous for its sunny beaches, diverse culture, and the glitz of Hollywood, also has a rich collection of slang terms reflecting the West Coast lifestyle. Below are 15 unique slang words that are quintessentially Californian, akin to palm trees and surfboards.


  • Origin: Northern California
  • Meaning: Very or a lot
  • Usage: “That concert was hella good!”

The 405

  • Origin: Southern California
  • Meaning: Interstate 405, notorious for traffic
  • Usage: “I got stuck on the 405 for hours.”

June Gloom

  • Origin: Coastal California
  • Meaning: Overcast weather in June
  • Usage: “I hope the June Gloom clears up by noon.”

NorCal & SoCal

  • Origin: Statewide
  • Meaning: Northern California and Southern California
  • Usage: “I’m from SoCal, but I love visiting NorCal for the redwoods.”


  • Origin: Surf Culture
  • Meaning: Extreme, good or bad
  • Usage: “That wave was gnarly!”


  • Origin: Surf Culture
  • Meaning: A person, typically male
  • Usage: “Dude, did you see that?”


  • Origin: Northern California
  • Meaning: Incorrect term for Northern California
  • Usage: “It’s NorCal, not NoCal.”

The Industry

  • Origin: Los Angeles
  • Meaning: The entertainment industry
  • Usage: “He works in the Industry.”

The OC

  • Origin: Orange County
  • Meaning: Refers to Orange County
  • Usage: “We’re heading down to The OC for the weekend.”


  • Origin: Surf Culture
  • Meaning: Excited or enthusiastic
  • Usage: “I’m stoked for the music festival!”


  • Origin: General Slang
  • Meaning: Relax or calm down
  • Usage: “Just chill, everything will be fine.”


  • Origin: 90s Slang
  • Meaning: Excellent or great
  • Usage: “That taco place is the bomb!”


  • Origin: General Slang
  • Meaning: New or cool
  • Usage: “Those are some fresh kicks!”


  • Origin: Skate Culture
  • Meaning: To perform well in skateboarding or snowboarding
  • Usage: “He can shred on the halfpipe.”


  • Origin: General Slang
  • Meaning: A car
  • Usage: “Check out my new whip!”

These terms represent the vibrant slang used by Californians. Whether you’re surfing in Malibu, hiking in Yosemite, or networking in Silicon Valley, these words will help you blend in and grasp the Californian vibe. Remember, slang evolves with the culture, so stay tuned for the latest lingo on your next visit to the Golden State!

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