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Nicknames for Los Angeles

Fanciful Image of LA With Palms in Background

Image by the Los Angeles Almanac.

  • L.A. or "El Lay"
  • City of Angels(1)
  • Southland(2)
  • La-La Land(3)
  • Lotusland(4)
  • Lotusville(5)
  • Double Dubuque(6)
  • El Pueblo(7)
  • The Big Orange(8)
  • Shakey Town(9)
  • Tinseltown(10)

(1) Abbreviated English version of the original Spanish name of Los Angeles.
(2) Commonly used by Los Angeles radio and television media referring to their broadcast market (Los Angeles and Orange Counties and portions of Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura Counties).
(3) Made even more famous by the motion picture of the same name. A phrase describing "a dreamlike mental state detached from reality" and used for the Los Angeles movie industry since late 1970s.
(4) Term from the land of lotus eaters in The Odyssey, where "people ate lotus flowers that made them forget everything they ever knew; where they were from, where they were going, everything." May have been used for Los Angeles as early as the 1920s.
(5) See note 4 above.
(6) A put-down on Los Angeles used since the 1920s, but most popularly used after World War II through the 1960s. The phrase came from there being so many midwesterners in Los Angeles.
(7) Spanish for "The Town." This was one of the early abbreviated names of the city during the Spanish/Mexican period (1781-1849).
(8) A name to contrast with New York City's "The Big Apple." Used mostly from the 1970s through the 1990s and even used as title of a book by L.A. Times Columnist Jack Smith. Never really caught on.
(9) Said to be used by truckers to refer to Los Angeles.
(10) Refers to the "shiny, bright, and unreal" nature of the film industry in Los Angeles, especially Hollywood.

Source: Labels for Locals by Paul Dickson, 1997, Merriam Webster and Almanac Research