This is a glossary of frequently used Santa Cruz and UCSC terms.  Feel free to add Santa Cruz-specific lingo or slang.  This may include phrases commonly used by students or Santa Cruzians.  Feel free to use humor, but if you want to make an entry just tell people the special word you and your particular circle of friends use for a specific type of fart, please go to Urban Dictionary Dot Com.


# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


420 — Refers to cannabis or the consumption of cannabis at the time of 4:20, or on the 20th of April (4/20).





B40 — n. Shortened form of Branciforte, and can refer to any object or place bearing that name, but usually refers to the Branciforte area of town or Branciforte Middle School.

Baytree — n. Shortened name of the Baytree Bookstore

Bowl — n. Usually short for "a bowlful of marijuana," in reference to the bowl portion of a pipe. Usage: "I smoked 3 bowls last night with my RA."



Carmelization — n. Term used to describe gentrification in Santa Cruz County in relation to the vapid aspects of the luxury community of Carmel. Usage: "Ryan Coonerty, more than anyone, is responsible for the Carmelization of downtown Santa Cruz."

Core, the— n. The shuttle at UCSC that serves the center of campus.



Denys -as a noun. There was once a Denny's in Scotts Valley.  One of the lights went out in the sign, and it read "D E N  Y S" instead of "DENNYS" which started an easy way to determine which Denny's a local was talking about. Denny's was the Santa Cruz location and Denys (pronounced De-NIES) was the Scotts Valley location. The light was out from about 1996-2006 till the place became Scotts Valley Diner. Obsolete since the Scotts Valley Denny's closed.



Eastside — Area of Santa Cruz to the east of Seabright Avenue. Usage: "I live on the Eastside."



Fishhook - n. The sharp turn where northbound Highway 1 turns into Southbound Highway 17.

Forty — n. A 40oz bottle of beer, usually cheap beer or malt liquor.



Grip — n. A lot of something, as in "I just bought a grip of grapefruits."

Grommet, Grom — n. Grommet is a general term referring to a juvenile sportsperson. In Santa Cruz it can be heard used often towards young surfers, and the younger Santa Cruz Derby Girls team is called the Derby Groms.



Havajava — prop. n. Old name of Oakes Cafe.

Hecka/Hecca — adj. Synonymous with "hella" below.

Hella — adj. A word which will cause shock and confusion among many incoming freshmen from SoCal It's short for "a hell of a...", and can be used to modify any adjective. Find an in-depth definition of its uses and history here or here







Kiva — prop.n. Short for Kiva Retreat House, a clothing-optional sauna and community spa in Midtown. For a more traditional definition of the term, click here.

Kombucha — n. A non-alcoholic fermented drink made using a bacteria culture (sometimes called a "kombucha baby") and sweetened tea, often attributed with numerous health-promoting qualities. This drink is available in many grocery stores in Santa Cruz, and some people even brew their own. Click here for the Wikipedia Article



Lane, the — n. Refers to Steamer Lane, a popular surf spot

Lighthouse Point - n. How locals refer to Santa Cruz Point.

Locals — n. See Locals.

Loop, the— n. The shuttle on the UCSC campus that serves the whole campus in one big, well, loop.



Mate — n. (pronounced Mah-tay), also called Yerba Mate. An plant from South America, from which a tea-like beverage is made. Mate is typically drunk out of a Calabash gourd and is sipped out of a bombilla. Click here for the Wikipedia Article

Midtown — The upper area between Downtown Santa Cruz and the Eastside, generally designated as the area between Pacific Avenue and Seabright Avenue. The lower portion of this area is often called Seabright, and the area directly adjacent to the coast is called East Cliff.

Mountain folk - n Usually applied to people who live and work in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Often applied to anyone who lives there and has little reason to come down from the hills.



NorCal — Northern California.



Old San Jose Road - One of the former names of the current Soquel San Jose Road. The name Old San Jose Road was changed to Soquel San Jose Road before the mid 1980's but many locals still call it by the old name.



Pleasure Point -n  The local term for Soquel Point located at the coast near 41st Avenue. There was once a Pleasure Point Roadhouse at that location. By the 1930's the name Pleasure Point started to appear in descriptions of the area.. Official maps still show it as Soquel Point.





RA — n. Short for "resident assistant," or the students in each dorm who are employed by UCSC to help/monitor dorm residents. In some colleges, the same definition applies for the terms "neighborhood assistants" (NAs) and "community assistants" (CAs)

Rob Roy Junction - (proper noun) What older locals call exit 433A on Highway 1. It is where Highway 1 and Freedom Boulevard meet. At one time it was the main turn-off to get to the town of Rob Roy, which is now called La Selva Beach.  Since the name appears on many traffic maps, some web sites assume it is the name of a populated place. (Latitude: 36.97083 : Longitude: -121.87306)



Santa Cruzan — n. A person from Santa Cruz  (This ignores the grammar rule where "er" is added if the noun ends in a consonant.). Also seen informally as "Cruzan."

From a Santa Cruz Sentinel Tweet.

Saturn — Short for Saturn Cafe, a wacky local restaurant.

SCM — Short for Santa Cruz Mountains, found on stickers and used as a territorial identifier

Slugs — UCSC students.

SoCal — n. Refers to Southern California.

Summit --n. Term for the Summit Road area which follows the border between Santa Cruz County and Santa Clara County.



Tranny — n. Often used by locals as a slang word for "transplant", referring someone who is not from the area originally. Outside of Santa Cruz and more generally, tranny can be a short form of "transvestite" or "transient".



UTE - n. In the early 1970's, the Rand Corporation  (heavily involved with the Defense Department in the Vietnam War) was hired by Santa Cruz County to do a report on the county's transient population. The report was highly critical of the young people moving to and transiting through the area,  describing them as an "Undesirable  Transient Element." or "UTE."  The acronym was used as an ironic term of pride in protest banners, cloth rucksacks, and tee-shirts ("I LOVE UTE." etc.) for about a year.  Now, it is an obsolete term. 



Valley/Valley Go Home — The 1970s term Valley referred to tourists and people from the Santa Clara Valley



Weed — n. Cannabis

Wharf - n. What the locals call a pier. (Technically a pier goes out to the water and a wharf is along side the water.) The Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf got it's name from an error in the 1910 bond issue. The name stuck and "wharf" has been applied to several piers since.

Westside — Areas in Santa Cruz west of the San Lorenzo River





Yacht Harbor -n. What locals call the Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbor --which is the official name. Today you can see "Santa Cruz Harbor" on directional signs.  Yacht Harbor is found on advertisements.  Nautical maps still use the official name.

Yerba mate— see "Mate"



Zombie — nickname for the Zami Co-op


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2008-03-18 14:55:40   stoked!!! brah. —

2009-10-20 10:11:23   Absolutely NO ONE who is a Santa Cruz local would EVER, EVER!!!! say the word hella. That word gets brought over from the "trannys" over the hill. That's how you REALLY know someone isn't a local- if they say "hella" UGH! —

2011-08-17 21:59:53   ha yea no one uses hella in SC! —