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Nicknames for Los Angeles

LA, Los Angeles, Palm Trees

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  • L.A. or "El Lay" - Abbreviation of Los Angeles. We searched for some of the earliest occurances in print of "L.A." as an abbreviation for Los Angeles. We found "L.A." used in the 1883-1884 edition of the Los Angeles City Directory. We also found a reference to "L.A. County" in the June 9, 1882, edition of the Los Angeles Times. We can't be certain that there weren't earlier occurances.
  • City of Angels - Abbreviated English translation of the original Spanish name of Los Angeles.
  • Double Dubuque - A put-down on Los Angeles used since the 1920s, but most popularly used from after World War II into the 1960s. The phrase came from there being so many midwesterners in Los Angeles.
  • El Pueblo - Spanish for "The Town." This was one of the early abbreviated names of the city during the Spanish/Mexican period (1781-1849).
  • La-La Land - Used long before 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 the late 1970s.
  • Lotusland or Lotusville - 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.
  • Shakey Town - Said to have been used by truckers to refer to Los Angeles.
  • Southland - Commonly used by Los Angeles radio and television reporters when referring to their broadcast market (Los Angeles and Orange Counties and portions of Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura Counties).
  • The Big Orange - A name to contrast with New York City's "The Big Apple," named for Southern California's most famous agricultural products. 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.
  • Tinseltown - Refers to the "shiny, bright, and unreal" nature of the film industry in Los Angeles, especially Hollywood.

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

Also see:
-- Where Did the Name Los Angeles Come From?
-- Pronouncing "Los Angeles"