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Julian Jargon

Updated: Dec 29, 2020

Mountain Made Blog: Payphone in Julian, CA
Payphone in Julian, CA

Through this blogging journey that I have embarked on, one hope of mine is to teach you about the small-town culture we have here in Julian. Every culture has its own customs, arts, social institutions, and language. Growing up, I have always known that we do things differently up here on the mountain. It wasn’t until I started documenting and sharing this culture until I realized how unconventional we really are. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love this place and all its quirks.

Without further adieu, today’s culture lesson is on Julian Jargon. Just like other regional dialects, we have our own regional vocabulary words, acronyms, and slang. Additionally, we often used personalized names to refer to places or landmarks instead of the assigned address. For example, we'd say something like "three doors down from the Hatch house." Once a location gets a personalized name it is often still used out of habit even after the family moves away or the business changes.


Our vocabulary terms have many interpretations among the locals, depending on the context. Most of these terms have earned their usage through a reputation. To avoid confusion, I do want to note that some terms are often used with sarcasm. We have a sense of humor in this town!

Down the hill - Anywhere in San Diego County to the west of Julian that is below 3,000 ft.

Up-The hill - Anywhere in San Diego County to the East that is above 3,000 ft.

Town - The four blocks that make up Main Street and the school campuses, library, and Post Office.

Snowmageddon - A snowstorm that falls on a holiday break or weekend that will result in thousands of tourists flocking to the mountains that surround Julian for the next week. Locals will stay out of sight if they can.

"It’s Julian" - The saying local use when they are trying to get away with something that wouldn’t be acceptable anywhere else but in Julian (jay-walking, anyone?).

Local - One who has claimed residency and lives in Julian full time. Being that Julian is a tourist destination local status is something we take pride in.

Julianite - The term a Julian local uses to identify themselves as a Julian local to a non-local.

Old-Timers - Anyone who is 5th generation and up born and raised Julianite. In the eyes of an old-timer, they are the only "true" Julian locals. Everyone else is a "transplant."

Transplantie - One who moved to Julian from elsewhere and is not related to any 3rd plus generation old-time Julian family.

Weekender - One who owns or rents a home in Julian for occasional vacation visits.

Tourist - A person who visits the greater Julian area for recreation and leisure.

Apple Days - The fall months are locally known as apple days. The three to four weeks out of the year when the u-pick apple orchards are open bring thousands of tourists to the area looking to experience fall in SoCal. While apple days is really only the time when apple are available (roughly the end of August through the beginning of October), locals often use the term to describe the town's busy tourism season (the end of August through the New Year).

The Kentwoods - The neighborhood of Kentwood is locally known as two separate areas. The unofficial boundary distinction is the ridgeline that divides the two valleys the neighborhood sits in. The terms you use for these areas probably depend on how long you have lived in the area. Kentwood-in-the-Pines also know as Kentwood-One (K1) is the North-East side of the subdivision. The South-West side of the subdivisions is referred to as Kentwood-in-the-Dump or Kentwood by the Dump, and is now more commonly known as Kentwood-Two (K2). This region got its name because back when the town had a dump, it was located in the backside of this side of the neighborhood. The usage of these terms is never in a derogatory way but rather a way to distinguish the two geographical locations. Now that the dump has closed, the terms Kentwood-in-the-Dump and Kentwood by the Dump are primarily only used by old-timers. Many old-timers do long for the days when the dump was still around because now we have to take trash runs to Ramona.

Frequently used acronyms:

Locations with a multiple word name are often time shorted to an acronym. Many of the local clubs and organizations go by acronyms. See our upcoming post on community involvement for all those acronyms. Here are the most commonly used acronyms:

SY - Short for Santa Ysabel

JBC - Short for Julian Beer Company

JHS - Short for Julian High School

MG - Short for Mesa Grande

JCSD - Short for Julian Community Service District, the water district the services town.


If the location doesn't have an acronym, the official name is oftentimes cut down from multiple words to one word. Here are a few examples:

Miner's - Short for Miner's Diner

Jack's - Short for Jack's Grocery and Deli

Banner - Short for Banner Grade

Shelter - Short for Shelter Valley

Mom's - Short for Mom's Pie House

Inspo. - Short of Inspiration Point

The Station - Short of Julian Station

Cuyamaca - Short for Lake Cuyamaca

The Cafe - Short for Julian Cafe

The Pie Company - Short for the Julian Pie Company, JPC is so commonly used.

The Corner Market - Short for Julian Market and Deli

It's Interpretive

Regional dialects are very interpretive and used based on personal preference. There is no official Julian dialect dictionary. The use of word choice and expression behind it is up to the individual. No matter what local words or slang someone chooses to use, if you’re a Julianite, you know exactly what they mean!

*This article was featured in the November 2020 issue of the Julian Journal.


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