The latest on travel, languages and culture by EF Education First
Menu

Talk like a Californian: 10 (more) expressions to master

Californian expressions change like the seasons – we’ve already covered 10 key ones here – so here’s a list of ten more slang terms you absolutely need to learn before you come visit California. You’ll fersure be stoked you practiced (it’ll all make sense if you keep reading. Promise.)

1. “Stoked”

What does it mean?

To be stoked is to be very excited. It is most commonly used to refer to excitement in going or having gone somewhere.

How do you use it?

“I am so stoked to go to Coachella this year!”

2. “Fresh”

What does it mean?

Fresh refers to something that is new or stylish. Use this term to refer to fresh shoes, a fresh watch or a fresh new gadget.

How do you use it?

“Jacob’s new Nike’s are so fresh!”

3. “Sketch(y)”

What does it mean?

Sketch or sketchy means something is not safe. Sketchy can refer to an environment like a dark alley or food that looks too rotten to eat.

How do you use it?

“Walking through that dark alley last night was sketch.”

OR

“I would have eaten the last avocado but it looked a bit sketchy.”

4. “Low-Key” or “High-Key”

What does it mean?

Low-key can be used when talking about something that is no big deal but still worth mentioning. Low-key can be exchanged for “kind of” or somewhat. Inversely, high-key means something is a “big deal” or super important.

How do you use it?

“I’m low-key in love with my study partner’s new cologne.”

“I high-key cannot stand when my roommate sings in the shower.”

5. “Fersure”

What does it mean?

Fersure is slang or short-hand for “for sure”. This is often riddled off the tongue very quickly and therefore sounds like “fersure”. Fersure is an affirmation term. It’s meaning can range from “okay” to “definitely”.

How do you use it?

Person 1: “Hey man, let’s go play indoor soccer tonight!”

You: “Fersure! What time?”

6. “Sig Alert(s)”

What does it mean?

A Sig Alert is a traffic incident that blocks a lane of traffic for a minimum of 30 minutes. Sig Alerts are sent out by the CHP (California Highway Patrol Officers) when a block of traffic occurs. You can hear/see Sig Alerts on the radio or on smartphone applications

How do you use it?

“I didn’t hear about the Sig Alert and was one hour late for work today.”

7. “Good Lookin’ Out”

What does this mean?

Good lookin’ out is almost the same as saying thank you and is often accompanied with a ‘thank you’. One might say this to a stranger who helps you with something.

How do you use it?

Person 1: “Hey! You dropped your wallet!”

You: “Thanks man! Good lookin’ out!”

8. “Yewwwwwww”

What does it mean?

Yewwwwww is an onomatopoeia (a word that sounds like how it is spelt) and is most notable in extreme sport culture (surfing, snowboarding, rock climbing). Yewwwww is an expression normally verbalized but not written.

How do you use it?

When walking up to the beach to see perfect surfing conditions one might yell, “yewwwwwwww” in excitement.

Summiting a mountain or taking in an amazing view might also be accompanied by a “yewwwwwww”.

9. “The (insert highway name)”

What does this mean?

California in the only place in the United States that inserts the word “the” before the name of any highway. For example: The 405, the 5, the 101 or the 580.

How do you use it?

“Driving to San Diego I usually take the 1 the entire way but this time I took the 405 to the 5.”

10. “To Put (someone) on Blast”

What does this mean?

This term is used to describe when someone has been confrontational or said something negative about someone else. It can be used to describe gossip, but is more commonly used when talking about a face-to-face confrontation that occurred.

How do you use it?

“Did you hear Kristy yesterday? She put Xavier on blast when he showed up late to the meeting again.”

Study English in California - and put that slang to daily useLearn More

Share this article

Latest articles from Language learning