Hella good Thanksgiving!

Grant Barrett gbarrett at AMERICANDIALECT.ORG
Wed Nov 24 20:33:55 UTC 1999

On Wednesday, November 24, 1999, AAllan at AOL.COM wrote:
>Has anybody commented on the complimentary epithet "hella good"? Seems to be
>among young people on the Pacific Coast.
>- Allan Metcalf

We've got a few mentions of "hella" in various contexts in the ADS-L archive.

Hella, for me, has been one of those words writers use consciously, kind of like the
word "redux." Of course, it's because the word is outside of my peer group and
social circle; the most likely way I would encounter such words is via writing.

Some of the more pertinent posts:

On Wed, 24 Jan 1996, Jesse T Sheidlower wrote:

  Not entirely sure; it depends on how accurate the
  transcription is. "Hella-" is an intensive prefix like
  "mega-," that has been in use at least since the late
  '80s. I've never heard "hawkin'" before, but I have
  (rarely) encounted "honkin'" meaning roughly "exciting;
  jammin', etc." Perhaps these are different realizations
  of the same word.

Mary Bucholtz:

I'd be interested in knowing where you've heard "hella." As far as I
can tell it's restricted to Northern California, esp. the Bay Area--does
that fit your own observations? I wouldn't characterize it as a prefix,
incidentally--what leads you to describe it this way?

Dan Moonhawk Alford:

I agree about the accuracy; I'll ask my student to say it for me. Re:
below, yes -- this is Northern California data, where what is "hella-"
here is often "hecka-" in LA. An emergent dialect split along the lines
of "101" vs "the 101".

Grant Barrett
gbarrett at americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list