Hella is a word associated with Northern California, particularly the San Francisco Bay Area. It is a contraction of the phrase "hell of a" or "hell of a lot [of]," in turn reduced to "hell of." It often appears in place of the words "really," "a lot," "totally," "very" and in some cases "yes". Whereas hell of a is generally used with a noun, according to linguist Pamela Munro, hella is primarily used to modify an adjective such as "good."
According to lexicographer Allan A. Metcalf, the word is a marker of Northern California dialect. According to Colleen Cotter, "Southern Californians know the term ... but rarely use it." Sometimes the term grippa is used to mock "NorCal" dialect, with the actual meaning being the opposite of hella.