A General Slang Dictionary for Writers

Not so much 2017 specific.

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How about some more dialogue ideas? The slang specific to 2017 has been covered here already, but there is a lot of slang that’s been floating around and survived a long time. Survival of the fittest and all that.

I’ll be focusing on a lot of the slang from the state of California, specifically Southern California, since that’s what I know the best. Yep, there’s a difference between Southern and Northern California slang. As if U.S. English wasn’t complicated enough anyway.

So if you have a character in your book interacting with the state in some way, at least you’ll have some fun ideas for what they can say, maybe what can confuse the heck out of them when they visit. Or just have fun with the weird ways language works. Enjoy.

Dude

All purpose identifier. It identifies a man, woman, or child of any gender and any age. It’s been stereotyped as a surfer thing (Duuuude) but it’s become a pretty normal use word. It also means many things. It’s an expression of disapproval (Dude) surprise (Dude!) congratulations (Dude!!) anger (Dude, no!) or anything else you like. Nonverbal cues are used to demonstrate what it’s supposed to mean in the moment.

 

PicardFacepalm
Alpha: “I have programmed the kitchens to get rid of all sugar and caffeine stimulants.” Captain Picard: “Dude.”

“Yeah, no.”

Very firm negative statement. One step above just saying “no”, it means really, really not OK, no. Generally an expression of extreme disapproval.

example; “Dude, do you want to go to the Justin Bieber concert with me?”

yeah no

“No, yeah” or “No, yeah, for sure.”

Firm positive statement. Said while nodding your head yes. It means that would be fine, yes, sure.

example; “You want to go to the bookstore? I need some new reads.” “No, yeah, that sounds cool.”

Tripping Balls

Descriptive phrase. Extremely messed up on drugs. Freaking out. Very, very high. So high that anyone watching can tell something is wrong.

example:

tripping

Grody

Adjective. A little old fashioned now. It means gross, disgusting, broken, vile. Can refer to a person, place or thing, whichever you’re trying to describe at the moment.

example; “The roof leaked and the whole inside of the house is full of green fuzzy mold. It’s so grody man.”

Sketchy

Adjective. Similar to grody, but less emphatic. Something sketchy is something that just doesn’t look right, or safe. Some parts of the state use “Janky” to mean the same thing.

example; “I was going to go pee but the gas station bathroom looked really sketchy. I’ll just wait.”

Psyched/Stoked

Verb. It means very excited or happy about something.

example; “I’m so psyched I just passed that class with an A!” or “She’s stoked to go buy her new car today.”

stoked
Definitely stoked

Sorry not sorry

Not so much a California thing, this one is all over. It’s a phrase, said all together, almost like one word. It’s both sarcastic and sincere at the same time. It expresses an apology, but not a true apology. Sometimes it’s even an expression of pride.

example: “I ate the last piece of that salted caramel cheesecake, it was so good. Sorry not sorry.” Or “I went to the gay pride parade and apparently that pissed the hell out of my parents. Sorry not sorry.”

I can’t even

Again, a slang phrase that is everywhere, not just California. A complete phrase. It means the speaker is totally done. They can’t explain how very done they are in words. They are out of patience and a long way past annoyed.

example: “I tried to re-set my password twenty five times and this still says I’m doing it wrong. I can’t even.”

cant-even-oakley
Tyler Oakley is famous for being unable to even

2 thoughts on “A General Slang Dictionary for Writers

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