Today, I’d like to introduce slang by selecting a region, and what better place to start than my hometown of California? I mean, like*1, it totally*2 has TV/music, surfing, hippie, Beverly Hills and Hollywood culture, so it’s gnarliest*3 choice, dude*4! This list will progress from more recently created slang to older, but still popular slang.
Mob — to travel while going through a crowd of people. (This can mean walk, bike, skate or drive through a crowd of people (supposedly slowly).)
- I can’t find a way to get around this crowd … I’m just going to mob through!
Clutch — helpful, life-saving, useful. (Often used when someone is able to help during times of need, or when the probability of getting help is on the low side.)
- Whoa, pal, you have a spare tire that will replace this flat tire on my car? This is so clutch.
Bail — to leave; to exit.
- Hey, this party is dying. I’m gonna*5 bail out of this party.
Cruise — to wander aimlessly. (This can also be used to go somewhere (with a plan) in a leisurely way.)
- Let’s just cruise around town for a while until it’s time to meet up our friends.
Dank — good, great. (This is typically used to describe food.)
- This restaurant is dank, so I’m going to be coming here for lunch from now on.
Heavy — deep, serious, intense. (Recently it’s especially used when describing something that’s deeply depressing.)
A: I lost my cat during the drive towards home, and I don’t think I’ll ever see her again.
B: That’s heavy. I’m sorry.
Post up — to hang around*6, to wait and do nothing in particular. (Sometimes it can be used when someone wants to claim or save a spot.)
- Ok, you go and do what you have to do, and I’ll just post up here on the beach until you come back.
Rock (something) — to successfully manage to wear something in a stylish way. (Often this is used when something fits or works for someone in a way that wouldn’t as likely work on another person.)
- Wow, you’re really rocking those orange boots tonight!
Hyphy — crazy, uninhibited.
- Don’t get too hyphy while waiting in this line. The staff at this shop rejects disorderly people.
Swoop — to steal away someone’s chance.
- I could have won that prize, but I got swooped by my brother! He cut in line right in front of me.
Ballin’ / Boss — cool or fancy in an affluent manner. (Both of these terms refer to being rich or successful. The former word originated from the idea of achieving success by playing professional basketball.)
A: This is my friend’s new sports car and it’s ballin’.
B: Yeah, that’s really boss.
Fresh — new, stylish.
- Man, that jacket is fresh!
Bum — to beg for something.
- Yo*7! Can I bum a dollar? I need to make a phone call.
Hella — a lot or very. (This entry is very personal to me. People in Northern California love this word.)
- You finally did it? That’s hella amazing!
Poppin’ — fun, promising in an exciting way.
- This party’s starting to get poppin’, so let’s get some more friends over here now!
Psyched / Pumped (up) — ecstatic about something. (This is often used to describe the feeling of excitement for a future event. The former tends to be used more for the mental feeling, while the latter is used more to describe an energetic kind of feeling.)
A: I’m so psyched about starting uni*8 next fall! How about you?
B: As for me, I’m already feeling pumped even though it’s still three months away.
Sketchy — possibly dangerous. (This is often used when dealing with something unknown or unfamiliar.)
- The narrow street looks really sketchy, so we should avoid it if we can.
Trip (out) — to make a fuss; to worry.
A: I’m sorry, but I can’t stop tripping out about losing my house key.
B: Don’t trip. We’ll just get your brother to help.
Well, peeps, that’s all for now, but I hope you come join us again soon!
*1 like ─ an interjection similar to ‘um.’
*2 totally ─ completely, really.
*3 gnarly ─ cool, great.
*4 dude ─ fellow, friend.
*5 gonna ─ short for ‘going to.’
*6 hang around ─ to spend time.
*7 Yo! ─ Hey!
*8 uni ─ short for ‘university.’
【プロフィール】Jason Andrew Chau（ジェイソン・アンドリュー・チャウ）
アメリカのテキサス出身。ＵＣバークレーで心理学と人類学を学ぶ。これまで，日本の英語教育に10年以上かかわる中，「仕事の英語 緊急対策マニュアル 電話・メール編」「英会話リズムメソッド」「中学 定期テストの対策ワーク」等英文校正に携わる。また，レベルにあった英会話教授法も熟知している。