Skip to content


Slang to Know When Living in Orange County, California

Slang is shorthand for common places and experiences that binds locals together. If you’re from outside Orange County, you’ll hear a lot of terms that you might not understand. You could just ask somebody what they mean, which would instantly mark you as an outsider. Or you could be totally cool and just check out this list.

  • The Circle. The large traffic circle in the historic section of the City of Orange that’s directed cars and people since the 19th century. Also known as The Plaza, it contains a fountain, benches, palm trees, and a flock of formerly domesticated wild parrots. The Circle is also surrounded by restaurants, boutiques, and antique shops, making the area a charming and walkable place to spend an afternoon.
  • E-Ticket Ride. Up until the early 1980s, when you visited Disneyland, you received a booklet of tickets marked “A” through “E” that you used for each ride. “A” tickets were for the simplest rides, such as the King Arthur Carousel or Horseless Carriage. “E” tickets were for the best rides, such as The Matterhorn or The Submarine. An “E-ticket” or “E-ticket ride” refers to an exciting experience.

  • El Toro “Y.” Also just the “Y,” refers to where the 405 merges into the 5 Freeway in Southern Orange County near the Spectrum shopping center. As one of the busiest interchanges in the world, the “Y” is best avoided during rush hour.
  • John Wayne. Also called John Wayne Airport or SNA (for Santa Ana Airport), Orange County Airport is the main air terminal for the county and handles domestic and international flights. It is also a major hub for private aircraft. The name comes from one of the county’s most famous native sons and a statue of the actor rises near the entrance.
  • Orange Crush. An interchange in the middle of Orange County where Interstate 5 (Santa Ana Freeway), State Route 22 (Garden Grove Freeway), and SR 57 (Orange Freeway) converge. The 2002 Guinness Book of World Records called this the most complex interchange in the world. Avoid this nightmare during rush hour. Worsening traffic problems here are the frequent construction updates designed to ease congestion.
  • PCH: Pacific Coast Highway, also called Coast Highway or State Route 1, runs from Mendocino County in Northern California to Dana Point in Southern Orange County, passing through Orange County’s beach communities, including Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and Laguna Beach. For the quintessential OC experience, try the route in your convertible with the top down and the Beach Boys playing on the stereo.
  • Surf City: Huntington Beach is world-renowned as a surfing capital and is home to the US Open of Surfing each summer. The city also contains a concrete pier, suitable for strolling and fishing; the Surfing Walk of Fame, and the International Surfing Museum. Many surfing-related terms came into common English use from this location, including “hang ten,” “bummer,” “amped,” and “awesome.”
  • “The” and a number such as “the 5,” “the 405,” or “the 57.” Refers to a freeway of the same number. For example, “the 5,” refers to Interstate 5 (the Santa Ana Freeway). However, never say “the PCH.” It’s just “PCH” as in “We’re cruising down PCH.”

If you want to know more about living in Orange County, or want to tour one of our model homes, please contact us.