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S.F. Slang: The Bay Area Phrases That'll Have You Talking The Talk

S.F. Slang: The Bay Area Phrases That'll Have You Talking The Talk

Whether you're a first-time visitor or new resident, our guide to San Francisco slang will have you talking like a local in no time.


4 min read

January 16, 2021


From the Bay to the beach, the Golden State’s vernacular is almost as diverse as its terrain, people, and weather. Even though many slang words are popular enough to be used by people across California, if you use Los Angeles-specific slang in San Francisco, you’re bound to get some blank stares every now and again. 

If you’ve been considering a move up north, there are a few things you should know before coming to the Bay Area to avoid being caught off-guard. But fret not—we’ve compiled a list of the most common S.F. slang words that’ll have you blending in with lifelong Bay Area residents in no time. 

1. Hella

Hella is one of the San Francisco slang words that has gained popularity beyond Bay Area borders. Perhaps the most commonly used jargon in the Bay Area, “hella” is often used instead of “very” or “a lot of.” 

Example: “I'm hella hungry.”

2. Good Looks

A shortened version of the phrase “good looking out,” this S.F. slang term is used to show appreciation or gratitude to someone who has helped you in some way, whether it was by giving you information or doing you a favor.

Example: “How do I get to Baker Beach?” “Take a left at the next street.” “Good looks.”

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3. Tryna

This is an extremely versatile slang word that is commonly used in San Francisco. “Tryna”—as you might’ve already guessed—is a lazy alternative to the phrase “trying to.” You can also use this S.F. slang as a substitute for “would you like to?”

Example: “Tryna get coffee?”

4. Finna

Finna is another Bay Area slang term that means “going to” or “about to.” Finna is frequently used by people outside of the region as well.

Example: I’m finna grab some boba from down the street.”

5. Yee

Yee has the same meaning as the words “yes” or “yeah”—just with a little more enthusiasm. The longer you drag out the “yee,” the greater amount of excitement you show.

Example: “Tryna come to my birthday party next month?” “Yeee.”

6. 415

In a unique local twist, "415," the area code for San Francisco, is sometimes playfully substituted for the city's name itself.

Example: “Are you from around here?” “Yee. 415 all the way.”

7. The City

When someone in the Bay Area mentions that they’re going to the city and don’t specify which one, that means they’re heading to San Francisco.

Example: “I was in The City the whole weekend.”

8. The Town

In a similar fashion to “The City” being a slang term for San Francisco, “The Town” is Bay Area slang for Oakland.

Example: “I’m finna cross the bridge to The Town this week.”

9. Slaps

Describing something as "slaps" is a fun way to express that it's exceptionally good, a phrase that's become popular slang in the Bay Area. While it's often used to commend great music, the term is versatile enough to apply to just about anything that impresses.

Example: “This beat slaps.”

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10. Put on Blast

You put someone on blast when you call them out on something or reveal information about them they didn’t want other people to know. This S.F. slang word has been popularized by social media, so it’s often used by people outside of the Bay Area as well.

Example: The teacher put me on blast by telling the whole class I failed the test.”

11. Outta Pocket

To do something outta pocket means to act out of line. When someone tells you you’re acting outta pocket, they’re trying to tell you that you’ve crossed a line.

Example: “Why did he get so mad at the meeting?” “Right? That was hella outta pocket.”

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12. Cop

Another slang term highly popularized by the Internet, to “cop” something means to be in possession of it. It’s used instead of the words “to buy” or “to get.”

Example: “Can you believe I copped these shoes on sale?”

13. Juiced

“Juiced” is a true slang word originating from the streets of the Bay. You would describe yourself as being “juiced” when you’re excited about something. A more modern alternative to this Bay Area slang word is “gassed.”

Example: “I’m juiced about starting my new job.”

14. Joog

“Joog” is used in the Bay Area to describe something you got for a cheap or discounted price. 

Example: “I got these headphones for 60-percent off.” “Wow, you got it for joog.”

15. For the F

Speaking of scoring a deal, when someone tells you they got something “for the F,” they mean they got it for free.

Example: “How much was the entrance fee?” “Nothing. We got in for the f.”

16. Whip

“Whip” is used as a substitute for the word “car.” This Bay Area slang term has become popular in areas outside of the Bay as well in recent years.

Example: “My parents promised to get me my own whip once I get my driver’s license.”

17. Cutty

This slang term is somewhat ambiguous in its origin and exact definition. But in the Bay Area, it’s typically used to describe situations that are somewhat shady or sketchy. Some people say that it’s an abbreviation for “cutthroat,” while others claim it refers to “the cuts”—the dangerous parts of town.

Example: “Tryna go to this new club?” “I don’t know, that place seems hella cutty.”

18. Yadadamean 

Although this S.F. slang term is not commonly used anymore, anyone planning to move to the area should at least be familiar with it. “Yadadamean” is Bay Area street jargon for “do you know what I mean?” It can also be used as a term to show agreement, and it is commonly shortened to “yadada.”

Example: “I want to go home before it gets dark. Yadadamean?” “Yadada.”

19. Raw

“Raw” is used to describe something that is really good. It’s sort of similar to the aforementioned S.F. slang term “slaps.”

Example: The new record I bought is hella raw.”

20. On one

This is another somewhat ambiguous S.F. slang term, but it’s usually used to say someone acting weird or unusual.

Example: “Why is he dancing like that?” “He’s on one for sure.”

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