Californian slang vs East Coast slang

Milton   Sat Jul 14, 2007 7:37 pm GMT
I would like to know what you think about this...
Most Californian slang words are spreading all across the US (and Canada) so most people are familiar with it (and some people even use them: words like AWESOME or WAY [like in: that's way kewl, way rad!])...
On the other hand, East Coast slang words are not used on the West Coast and many people don't even know what these words mean (in California: wicked means BAD, it doesn't mean AWESOME or RAD or ''kewl'' )...
Sitcoms like Buffy the Vampire Slayer help spreading the West Coast slang, but the WestCoast seems resistant to ''Back East exposure'' (thru NY/NJ set sitcoms like ''the Sopranos'' or '"Friends'')...
Guest 224   Sat Jul 14, 2007 8:27 pm GMT
This phenomenon is attributed to the fact that it's naturally cooler to be Californian as opposed to being say...Virginian =D

I kid, I kid.
Guest   Sat Jul 14, 2007 9:00 pm GMT
I am Californian, and I know the slang meaning of "wicked", although I don't use it in the slang sense, or use it at all most of the time.
Travis   Sun Jul 15, 2007 2:08 am GMT
The thing is that both Californian and East Coast slang sound strange here in Milwaukee. I would probably look funny at someone if they ever said "awesome" (more than occasionally and when not in referring to something that truly is *really* good or cool), "way" (as an intensifier), "dude", "wicked" (in a positive fashion), "rad", or like to me. There are some exceptions, though, such as the widespread use of "like", which seems to have really caught on here.
Guest   Sun Jul 15, 2007 2:14 am GMT
People don't say "rad" anymore, at least here in California.
Guest 224   Sun Jul 15, 2007 3:21 am GMT
Yeah, "rad" and "way" are a little bit outdated here in Southern California.
Skippy   Sun Jul 15, 2007 3:29 am GMT
People still say "way" alot in Southern California. Though there are alternatives such as "hella" (yes, even in southern California), you still hear it way more than anything else I can think to put in its place. Rad is pretty outdated though.

For alot of southerners there's still a great deal of animosity towards the north, so I think the fact that typically "east coast" slang doesn't get too far in the south is because of the accent behind it. My first linguistics professors asked our class what we thought the prettiest and ugliest languages are and they fell along party lines from WWI and WWII (German and Russian being unpopular with French being the number 1 prettiest) and this is surely the case with dialects as well. This coupled with the fact that California has several television shows and movies that take place there helps make Southerners more interested in the West Coast culture.
Travis   Sun Jul 15, 2007 3:53 am GMT
For the record, "hella" also sounds rather weird to me as well.
Skippy   Sun Jul 15, 2007 4:03 am GMT
Oh and I forgot to mention that I have no idea about people from the West like Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, etc. think about all this.
Pub Lunch   Sun Jul 15, 2007 8:40 am GMT
Flipping heck - Americans use the term 'wicked' to mean good, as in 'that film was wicked'??? Again I am shocked!! As with the 'kil-ah-metre' pronunciation, I'd never have imagined 'wicked' to be used in this way. Surely this is a Briticism????

The slang term for 'wicked' is used mostly in the south east but is definitely dying out. 'Cool' and 'awesome' are more popular now. So again, I am shocked that (judging by Travis's comments) in parts of America, if you said 'awesome' (or 'way' or 'dude' for that matter) you would sound 'out of place'. I hear my little sister say things such as 'that computer game was way good' all the time. I try to tell her that here in Basildon it is 'well good' not 'way good', but what the hell.

<<There are some exceptions, though, such as the widespread use of "like", which seems to have really caught on here. >>

What is going on with this 'like' speak??? It's EVERYWHERE!!!!! Due to a bereavement in the family (my wonderful wonderful grandad) I have had relatives from Scotland and Australia stay with us recently, and I noticed that they all were saying 'I'm like' or 'I was like' instead of 'I thought' or 'I said' etc. It is not used quite as much as the Americans who I work with mind, but nonetheless it is on the increase. Even my mum uses it!!!!!!

How did this happen??? I have no idea how this usage could have spread so quickly and so far. I rarely hear this usage in American films and telly programmes (I think) so how and why???? Arrgghhh, am I the only one that finds it bloody annoying??????
furrykef   Sun Jul 15, 2007 9:05 am GMT
"Wicked" meaning "good" is not unknown in America, but I rarely ever hear it. Something similar that I used to hear all the time (and is probably long out of date for the most part) is the use of "bad" to mean "good" on the same principle... of course, the word "bad" has many more uses than "wicked" and is much more common, so this creates many more ambiguities. Surprisingly enough, though, intonation and context are usually enough to resolve the intended meaning.

One related usage that survives is the adjective "badass", which is invariably positive... but often used in a sarcastic sense, too.

- Kef
The Ugly Cali Kid   Sun Jul 15, 2007 5:11 pm GMT
people do not use wicked unless they are trying to purposley use "out dated" slang. I live in Southern Cali (orangecounty/riverside) a new cool trend that has caught on is using outdated slang. For example, "that was wicked brah, nah nah that was fresher than a basket of fruit" "that was seriously fresh" or the classic "that was bomb ass beer" I should also mention for those who do not know this already it truly depends on what kind of people you hang out with. If your a cool hipster who loves blocparty/strokes/smiths and goes to shows and lives at your friends coffee house you use quirky outdated slang. If your a "909 bro" you use a "shitload" of curse words along with "bro". If your a skater/heshen/tight pants while wearing oldschool hiphop vintage kicks you use gangsta/quirky/fresh slang. Seriously, there are so many different groups of people who use different slang that you simply can't say "so cal people use this" anyone who has a life/hates their life in so cal knows this (unless your like 35)

Believe me or not this is how it goes.... from the stupid ass O.C to the Pacific Beach aka Downtown S.D peeps slang greatly varies!!
Kess   Sun Jul 15, 2007 7:16 pm GMT
''Rad is pretty outdated though. ''

Not at all.
Gwen S. keeps usin' (or should I write: useen' ;) ? ) it.
Kess   Sun Jul 15, 2007 7:25 pm GMT
Taken from:

Airhead- An intellectual lightweight
Awesome - Very good (e.g. "That movie was totally awesome!")
Audi - Out of here (e.g. I'm audi.) Often confused with Outtie, this misunderstanding then went into widespread use.

Barf - To vomit
Baldwin - Handsome boy or man (from the Baldwin brothers)
Barf bag - Jerk
Barney- An unattractive boy or man (presumably from The Flintstones character Barney Rubble)

In other contexts, the term "Barney" is used to refer to police officers; in that case, it derives from Barney Fife.

Betty -Beautiful girl or woman (stated on the Whatever! DVD edition that the term 'betty' comes from The Flintstones character Betty Rubble)

Bitchin' -Cool (aesthetic)
Bro Brother, meaning friend or dude
Buggin' - Freaking out (usu. mildly)
Bum -Another word for "to borrow" (e.g. "Can I bum a cigarette?")

Dork - Originally slang for a penis (as used in Sixteen Candles), but eventually came to mean geek or nerd or a clumsy or eccentric person.

Dude - General term for a male, but may also be used in a derogatory manner, or to get someone's attention

Dweeb - Nerd and Loser
Classic - Great
Fiesta - Party
Fer sure! - Certainly
For seriousness - Absolute Certainty

Gag me with a spoon! That's disgusting (from a method of inducing vomiting)

Gnarly - Good, Great
Grody - Disgusting (e.g. grody to the max) (from "grotesque")
Gross - Disgusting

Hella - Lots, Many, Excessive, Very (That was hella cool. I haven't done that in hella days)

I'm like... - (When talking about yourself) emphasis placed on the "li" in "like."

I'm so sure! - (spoken sarcastically) I don't believe you.
Joanie - Unhip girl (from the Joanie Cunningham character on Happy Days)

Later! - Goodbye!

Later days! or Later dates! - Goodbye! (Usually said by Tino at the end of each episode of Disney's The Weekenders)

Loadie - Stoned boy or girl
Monet - Someone (or thing) that looks good from afar, but up close it's a total mess. (e.g., "That hag is a full-on Monet!")

Postal - To go insane/freak out/bug (as in "going postal".)
Psych! - Just kidding
Rad - Very cool (from "radical")
Rays - Sunlight. (e.g., "I'm going to the beach to catch some rays.") See UVs.

[I know] Right?/Right on Used as bland filler when there is lack of interest or content for a response or to express agreement with indifference or cockiness. (e.g. That bikini looks so hot on you Heather! Right.!?; Hey bro I found 20 bucks under the seat of my car! Right on!)

Scarf - To eat, usually very quickly (e.g., "I totally scarfed that burger!")

Sketchy - Weird/suspicious (e.g., "that guy looks sketchy"; "I dunno, you were acting kind of sketchy about [x]."

Spaz -A hyperactive nerd/geek/klutz/a confused person. (e.g., "That guy is a total spaz!")

Sweet! - Used to express excitement, satisfaction, camaraderie, happiness for another person/thing/event. (e.g., Dude I like totally dicked a Betty today! Sweet!) Strong emphasis and elongation of the Es Sweet.

To the max - More of the preceding adjective (e.g. grody to the max). "Max" being short for maximum.

Tripendicular - Awesome; literally “a triangle with three perpendicular sides”, a geometric impossibility in Euclidian/plane geometry (it is possible in spherical geometry), therefore synonymous with "unbelievable”; the stressing of the first syllable is by association with “trip”, referring to the experience felt while under the effects of illicit drugs.

Tubular - Very cool

UVs - Ultraviolet radiation, the property in natural sunlight that causes skin to tan. (e.g. I'm heading down to the beach to get some UVs.)

to Veg (out) - To rest (from "vegetate")

Way - Used as an adverb for emphasis. (e.g. "That was way cool"); also meaning "yes" (e.g. in response to the exlamation of disbelief "No way!", the response "Way!")
Uriel   Sun Jul 15, 2007 8:09 pm GMT
"Wicked" is big in New England, and you've gotta use the accent to make it really work. It's used just like "hella", which is one of those California words that never made it past Nevada. "He's wicked good at that" or "It's a wicked good ride".

Byt the way, my mind just rebels at saying "Californian slang". It's California slang, to me. I think it was Alastair Cooke who remarked on our tendency to reverse parts of speech, so that "California" becomes the adjective (California sunshine, California girls, California cuisine), while the adjectival form becomes the noun (person from California=a Californian).

And it's not just California -- we do the same with most states: Only a native Arizonan could love the Arizona climate; Kansans don't find the flat Kansas topography the least bit monotonous. Alaska and Hawaii seem to be immune to this effect, though; you do talk about Alaskan tundra or Hawaiian beaches.