55 California Slang Words To Sound Like A Local

California is a mix of many cultures, giving rise to a unique set of slang words that reflect its diverse people and places. In Southern California, you’ll hear terms born from the beach culture, while the Bay Area’s slang often echoes its tech scene. Each area of the state adds its flavour to the way people talk.

This isn’t just about regional differences; it’s about the influence of tech gurus, movie stars, and newcomers worldwide. Learning these slang terms isn’t just fun—it lets you in on what everyday life feels like in California.

Why Learn California Slang?

Learning California slang can improve how you communicate and connect with locals. California’s diverse culture shines through its language; slang is a big part of daily conversation here. When you start using local phrases, you fit in better. You get the subtle meanings and appreciate what makes the region unique. Speaking like a local helps conversations flow better, and you get a more profound sense of how Californians live and interact.

55 California Slang Words To Know

California has its own way of speaking, shaped by its diverse cities, such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego.

Slang Meaning
Bail To leave abruptly
Bomb Awesome or excellent
Bougie Luxurious or fancy
Bro/Bruh Friend or buddy
Chill Relax or calm down
Chillax Combination of chill and relax
Clutch Perfect timing, useful
Cali California
Dank High-quality, usually refers to marijuana
Dope Cool or awesome
Epic Grand or impressive
Fam Close friends or family
Gnarly Impressive or difficult
Hella Very or a lot
Janky Low quality or unreliable
Kicks Shoes
Legit Authentic or real
Lit Exciting or fun
Lowkey Subtly or discreetly
Mad Very or a lot
Mint Perfect condition
Noob Beginner or inexperienced person
O.G. Original or authentic
Rad Cool or awesome
Savage Bold or relentless
Shady Suspicious or untrustworthy
Sick Cool or awesome
Sketch Suspicious or questionable
Slaps Good music
Squad Group of friends
Stan Overzealous fan
Stoked Excited or enthusiastic
Swole Muscular or fit
Thirsty Desperate for attention
Tight Cool or awesome
Trippy Strange or surreal
Turnt Excited or wild
Vibes Atmosphere or mood
Wack Bad or inferior
Whip Car
Yolo “You only live once.”
Zonked Extremely tired
Ballin’ Living in luxury
Big Sur Referring to a remote or scenic location
Cruisin’ Driving around for fun
Flake Someone who cancels plans frequently
Frisco San Francisco
L.A. Los Angeles
NorCal Northern California
SoCal Southern California
Sun’s out, buns out A phrase for sunny beach weather
The 405 Referring to the Interstate 405
The Valley Referring to San Fernando Valley
The ‘Bu Malibu
Veggie Vegetarian


Learning California slang helps you communicate better, fit in, and enjoy the rich mix of languages here. Knowing the local lingo lets you chat more easily with people, which helps you connect and understand each other better. As California’s culture continues to impact the world, using its slang is practical for day-to-day talk and a way to celebrate its unique way of speaking.

About the author
Winston Simon
Winston Simon, the founder of the Translation Blog, holds a Bachelor of Science (BS) from Auburn University. Fluent in multiple languages, including Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, French, German, and Japanese, Winston has had a lifelong passion for learning languages from around the globe

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