A Guide to Canadian English

7 Conversations

Okay, I came across this and since the author has apparently left the building, I thought I'd take over. Not being Canadian I may not be an expert, but I've been here a while and understand most of what they say. Suggestions welcome.

Being both the neighbour to, and largest trading partner of, the United States, AND being a former Colony of the British Isles, Canada often finds itself culturally, well, ignored. This leaves Canadians alone to search for their own cultural identity.

As with all things Canadian and cultural, this list must be sufficiently regionalized, and its distinctness must be affirmed. When suggesting a word, please state what region of Canada the slang originated, and (where possible) how it differs from an US or UK slang word.

Also included in this list are "Canadianisms"; Words that, while not actual slang, are none-the-less, distinctly Canadian (NB. this is left from the previous researcher's notes. I'm not sure this distinction is worth making myself).

2-4Beer Related - noun(pronounced "too-fore") - a case of twenty-four bottled beers. as in "Yes, we'd like a 2-4 of Elsinore please..."
AcadianCanada-wide - nounA Maritimer (q.v.) of French extraction.
Barmp Newfoundland - verbto honk your car horn, "Barmp the horn" or to honk at someone or something "Hey, Barmp this buddy here"

Cultural Note- In most Atlantic Provinces, honking your car horn is actually a friendly gesture-- a way of saying hello to people you are passing by.
Block Heater Canadianism - nouna device that comes standard on every car sold in Canada. Essentially, it is a small electric heating coil, under the engine block, that is connected to a standard electrical plug protruding from the front of the car (usually above the left headlight). During the winter a car owner will, using an extension cord, plug the block heater into an external wall socket at night. The purpose of this device is simple-- to keep the engine warm so that it will start in the morning. This piece of automotive equipment is so commonplace that Canadians rarely even mention it by name; they instead, refer to block heater usage as "plugging in the car"
BluenoserCanada-wide - nounA Nova Scotian.
Buddy Canada wide - nouna man. Frequently used in place of the pronoun "he", e.g. "Hey, yknow Buddy there, Buddy that gave me that boost that cole snap coupla weeks ago when I borrowed other Buddy's Dodge Ram, yknow Willy there with the Dodge Ram? Fine peessa machinery, that Dodge Ram. Well, dja know Buddy was a Ferguson just like Buddy down there at the Corner Gas and all thu other Buddies down there at the Corner Gas? All along, Buddy's a Ferguson. Sheesh. Go figgur, eh?"
Bum Canada wide - verbto take, or receive- usually used when asking a favour. "Can I bum a ride to the store?"
Bunny-hug Canada wide - nounA sort of 'sweatshirt' (smooth - ie. not knitted -, fairly heavy, long-sleeved shirt) with a rather large pouch on the front (much like you would have if you took two side pockets and attached them together), and a hood (usually with draw-strings).
Canuck Canada Wide - noun, adjectiveColloquial term interchangeable with the word "Canadian". Many non-Canadian journalists and educational institutions improperly assume this is somehow an offensive word, while it is regularly used within Canada in a semi-affectionate manner. Also the name of a British Columbia professional hockey team ("the Vancouver Canucks"). Comparable to the Austrailian term "Aussie", or the UK term "Brit".
Chapped Alberta - nounUsed to describe feelings of anger or frustration toward someone or something. The phrase "chaps my ass" may also be used if especially upset.
Currently Requiring Verification if any other Albertans could verify/dismiss this term, it would be greatly apreciated. (a sentence detailing its usage would also be handy)
ChuckWest coast - nounThe sea (see also skookumchuck).
CowtownCanada-wide - nounCalgary, the largest city in Alberta.
CrookedNewfoundland - verbA state of mind, being somewhere between hard to get along with, cheap, angry, irritated, and should have stayed in bed.
Cuckoo's Nest, TheProper nounOttawa, Ontario, Canada. Given this name because of the doofuses that are in Parliment.
DepQuebec - nounShort for depanneur (q.v.)*
DepanneurQuebec - nounDeriving from depanner, to un-break down, this is what most people refer to as a corner store. In downtown Montreal, they tend to be run by Asian families. These tend to be slightly more expensive than super-markets with closer to expiration merchandise, but they are closer, more numerous, and open later than the super-markets. This is why people frequent them.
DownhomerCanada-wide - nounSomeone from the Maritimes (q.v.).
EhCanada wide - sentence suffixAn unconscious additive to almost every sentence ever spoken by Canadians, as in "Great hockey game last night, Eh?" This seems to reflect a deep-seeded desire by Canadians to have their opinions validated.
First Nations Canadianism - proper nounThe preferred (and official) term used when mentioning Canadians of aboriginal decent. comparable to the US term "Native American"
GapperCanada wide - AdjectiveUsed by some to describe people who live in an area they consider a "waste of space". Classicly Saskatchewan or the Prairies. ie She's a Gapper.
GarburetorCanada wide - nounA garbage desposal, that is the thing in your sink that you throw food down and flip a switch to eliminate the wastes which you can't bother to compost. See the film 'Fargo' for a rather over the top example of its operation.
GitchManitoba - nounUnderwear, usually men's.
Great One, the Hockey Related - Proper nounNickname associated to Wayne Gretzky, an exceptionally talented hockey player and a true gentleman. A Canadian living legend.
Grapes Hockey Related - Proper nounNickname for Don Cherry, a tv peronality famous for his work on Coaches Corner, a Segment on Hockey Night in Canada.
Hill, TheCanada-wide - nounParliament Hill, Ottawa, where the Canadian Houses of Parliament stand.
Hockey Canadianism - nounThe only word needed by Canadians when talking about the game that every other English-speaking country in the world calls "ice hockey". Canadians only put adjectives in front of the word if mentioning sports being played on surfaces other than ice ("field hockey", "street hockey") or to indicate the level of skill the hockey players posses ("amateur hockey", "semi-pro hockey")
Hockey Chick Hockey Related - nounPertaining to young women whose ultimate goal is to date, and eventually marry a "Rising Star" hockey player in hopes that he will "make it big". "Hockey chicks" can typically be found in small rural towns. They are identified by their propencity for tight pants and exessive make-up.
Hockey Mother Hockey Related - nounPertaining to overly aggresive mothers of young hockey players. Sometimes former "hockey chicks", a "hockey mother" is an extremely viscious and bloodthirsty type. Found at almost all amataur hockey games, they are always the most vocal, and obsene, critiques of referees. Completely dispassionate, "hockey mothers" seem to thrive off witnessing the injury* of players who aren't their own offspring.
HogtownCanada-wide - nounToronto. I'm not sure why.
Homo1Canada-wide - adjectiveHomogenised, as in "homo milk"2.
Hork Ontario - verbTo spit, usually after drawing phlem from the nasal cavity into the mouth "Lets go hork on cars from the overpass." Alternately, to steal or take "Somebody horked our clothes. C'mon, lets go check lost and found."
HoseCanadian-wide - transitive verbTo mess something up, as in, "Man, I really hosed that exam." Also, to take advantage of, as in "You really got hosed on the price of that car."
Hosed Beer Related - adjectiveExtremely Drunk. "Man, was I hosed last night."
Hoser, Hosehead Canada Wide - nounTerm popularised in the mid-Eighties by SCTV comedy show characters Bob and Doug MacKenzie* (played by Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis). During the run of the show, ‘hoser’ became part of the popular lexicon and used unselfconsciously by most Canadians either to denote angry, rejecting disapproval of someone or to denote good-natured, affectionate disapproval of someone, regardless of time and place. Since the cancellation of the show, time and place has narrowed; still part of the popular lexicon, its current usage is limited to somewhat selfconscious after-work Canadian bonding rituals (e.g. beer, hockey (q.v.)), and must be accompanied by the "I’m kidding" face (q.v.) which was popularized on a 2004 'Late Night With Conan O'Brien' show by Jim Carey.
HydroOntario and Quebec - nounElectricity. Used because most electricity is supplied by the companies Ontario Hydro or Quebec Hydro. Most municipalities also have a "Hydro-Electric" Commision rather than an electrical utility. This word is far more commonly used than "electricity" or any other synonymous term.
Inuit Canadianism - proper noun (pronounced "INN-you-eet")The preferred term used when mentioning the most northerly members of the First Nations. It also aplies to their language (both written and spoken). Literally translated, it means "The People". Comparable to the more vulgar, and somewhat racist, word "Eskimo"* used world-wide.
LoonieCanada-wide - nounA one dollar coin. So called because it has a picture of a loon on the back. No, not the Queen, she's on the front; a loon is a small waterbird that's quite common in Canada and has a weird call.
LotuslandCanada-wide - nounCoastal British Columbia in general or Vancouver in particular.
Maritimes / Maritime ProvincesCanada-wide - nounRefers to those little fiddly provinces that cluster around southern Quebec, namely New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Noun - Maritimer.
NewfieCanada-wide - nounAn inhabitant of Newfoundland.
OssifiedNewfoundland - adjectiveDrunk.
ParkadeCanda-wide - nounA car park, generally of multiple floors.
Pogey Canada Wide - noun (pronounced Poh-GEE)welfare*, or government assistance. Comparable to the UK term "Dole".
Poutine Quebec - noun (pronounced "Poo-TEEN")A fast-food dish comprising of french fries , cheese curds and gravy (usually beef gravy, but sometimes chicken). This is especially tasty after night of drinking.
Poverty Pack Beer related - nounA box of six bottled beers. as in "I'm short on cash this week, just get me a Poverty Pack."
Puck Bunny Canada-wide - nounA hockey chink (q.v.).
Rock, TheCanada-wide - nounRefers not to the star of the film The Scorpion King, but to the island of Newfoundland3.
SevManitoba? - nounA convenience store, derived from "Seven-eleven" which is a chain of such.
SkookumWest coast - adjectiveImpressive. "Skookum lookin' boat you got there."
SkookumchuckWest coast - nounThe ocean, or a large, fast-moving body of water.
SloughPrairies - nounA stagnant body of water filled during the spring and by rainfall. Commonly refered to in other areas as a pond or dug-out.
Smoke Canada Wide - nounA cigarette, comparable to the UK term "fag"*
Snark Eastern Canda? - noun and verbA sarcasic wise-crack, or to make such. Adj - snarky.
Steamé Quebec - noun (pronounced STEE-meh)Essentially a steamed hot dog, traditionally garnished with chopped cabbage.
SteeltownOntario - nounHamilton, a city a little south-west of Toronto, so called because it is based around the steel-manufacturing industry.
Stubby Beer Related - noun (now defunct)The name associated to the short, neckless, bottles Canadian beer used to be shipped in. These bottles were phased out in favour of the American style "Longneck" bottle when "twist off" caps became popular.
Tim'sCanada-wide - nounTim Horton's, a Canadian chain of cafés, famous for Timbits, which are doughnut "holes", i.e. small balls of doughnut stuff. Now American owned.
T.O.(,The Big) Canada Wide - noun (pronounced "TEE OH")Short form for Toronto, Ontario; Canada's Largest city, and the capital of Ontario. As such, much of Canada's big business and media production is done there. Many Canadians hold a certain resentment for Toronto, as most get the impression that Torontonians* assume that they are all there is to Canada. No where is this resentment more apperant, than in Ottawa Ontario, the National Capital.
Toque Canadianism - noun (pronounced "tewk")A woolen cap, coming to a point, traditionally topped off with a "Pom-Pom". Worn with the bottom rim rolled up, many toques will also have a crest or badge of some sort, to indicate which side goes in the front.
ToutonNewfoundland - nounDeep fried bread dough, usually dipped in molasses.
Training Beer Beer Related - nounAny beer with a per volume alcohol content less than 4.5%.
T'rana Canada Wide - noun (pronounced "trah-NAH")Usualy said with a heavy nasal inflection. A more sarcastic version of "The Big T.O."
TwoonieCanada-wide - nounA two dollar coin, by analogy with "Loonie" (q.v.)
U-All Southern Ontario - nounSemi derogatory term for a US tourist. A play on the linguistic tendency of Americans to turn the phrase "You All" into one word. Comparable to the UK term "Yank"
W****r Ontario - nounCompletely different from the British meaning*, a Canadian "w****r" is an individual who listens to Late Eighties and early Ninties Heavy Metal music almost exclusively. Traditionally, a "w****r" sports very long hair teased to obsene volumes, and is prone to wairing extremely tight blue jeans, construction boots (usually unlaced with the tongue sticking out) and a leather or denim jacket. The prefered mode of "w****r" transportation is the late eighties Trans-Am. A "w****r chick" is the female variation of the "w****r". They are set apart only by the desire to whair exremely large amounts of make-up. While the male "wr****r" breed seems to be slowly dying off, many "w****r chicks" can still be found working as check-out attendants in various grocery and department stores. This may be due to the similarity between "hockey chicks" and "w****r chicks".
YaffleNewfoundland - nounAn armful. As in, he carried an yaffle of fire logs
1Stop laughing at the back.2I said "Stop Laughing".3As opposed to the Province, which includes the Labrador coast and is hence sometimes refered to as Newfoundland and Labrador.

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