Tag Archives: lope


This informant grew up in San Diego, CA.  He is now a sophomore student at USC.  He told me about a few folk expressions from his high school and I chose “Lope”

Informant: Lope is short for “Low Profile” but it can be used in all different sorts of contexts.  If someone if drinking vodka in the parking lot they might ask their friends if they are being “lope,” meaning “is this cool? Will anyone see me?”  Also kids used to use the phrase all the time when smoking marijuana around school or parents.

Me: Do you know where the phrase came from?

Informant: I’m pretty sure someone at my high school came up with it when I was there.  It was basically a way to check with your friends if you were chill doing whatever thing you weren’t allowed to do, without anyone else around knowing.

Me: Was it a widely used word around the school?

Informant: Uhh I wouldn’t say widely, but all my friend group knew was it meant or anyone who partied.

The word “lope” looks like it was created by someone to remain secretive when they were breaking the law or doing something they shouldn’t.   More likely than not, some popular kid starting using it and then everyone tagged along.