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Canadian Slang & English Words

Canadian English has words or expressions not found, or not widely used, in other variants of English. Additionally, like other dialects of English that exist in proximity to francophones, French loanwords have entered Canadian English. This page comprises words — proper English terms, French loanwords, and slang words — that are distinctive for their relatively widespread use in Canada.

Canadian English words, expressions, and terms

  • ABM, bank machine: a common term for an automated teller machine. Short for automated bank machine.
  • allophone: a resident whose first language is one other than English or French. Used only by linguists in other English-speaking countries, this word has come to be used by journalists and broadcasters, and then by the general public, in some parts of Canada.
  • bachelor: bachelor apartment ("They have a bachelor for rent").
  • Bunny Hug: Term used in Saskatchewan that is a hooded sweatshirt with or without a zipper that has a pocket in the front. Also refered to as a Hoodie in most other provinces
  • Bytown: the original name of Ottawa before its designation as national capital, often still used in the same context as Hogtown for Toronto or Cowtown for Calgary.
  • Canuck: A slang term for "Canadian" in the U.S. and Canada. It sometimes means "French Canadian" in particular, especially when used in the Northeast of the United States and in Canada. Adopted as the name of the National Hockey League team in Vancouver. Sometimes jokingly pronounced can-OOK (not used this way for the hockey team, aka "the Nucks").
  • chesterfield: a sofa or couch. Used somewhat in Northern California; obsolete in Britain (where it originated). Sometimes (as in classic furnishing terminology) refers to a sofa whose arms are the same height as the back, but more usually to any couch or sofa. The more international terms sofa and couch are also used; among younger generations in the western and central regions, chesterfield is largely in decline.
  • Chinook: a warm, dry wind experienced along the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and Canada. Most common in winter and spring, a chinook wind can result in a rise in temperature of 20 C° (36 F°) in a quarter of an hour. In Alaska, the word is pronounced with an affricate ch instead of the fricative sh sound as used in Canada, and means an extremely wet, warm, constant southwesterly, which actually is the same weather pattern as the drying wind that it becomes when it hits Alberta. The use of the word to mean a wind is from the Chinook Jargon, "i.e., the wind from the direction of the country of the Chinooks" (the lower Columbia River), as transmitted to the Prairies by the francophone employees of the North West Company, hence the Frenchified pronunciation east of the Rockies. A Chinook in BC is also one of the five main varieties of salmon, and can also mean the Chinook Jargon, although this older usage is now very rare (as is the Jargon itself).
  • concession road: in southern Ontario and southern Quebec, one of a set of roads laid out by the colonial government as part of the distribution of land in standard lot sizes. The roads were laid out in squares as nearly as possible equal to 1,000 acres (4 km²). Many of the concession roads were known as sidelines, and in Ontario many roads are still called lines.
  • dayliner: a Budd Rail Diesel Car, a self-propelled diesel passenger railcar on the former British Columbia Railway, also called "Budd Car" after the company who made them (the dayliner is now out of service). Dayliners also saw service in Ontario on the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) and the Canadian National Railway (CNR).
  • deke: A word derived from decoy and used to decribe a fake or feint intended to deceive a defensive player, often drawing that player out of position, usually in hockey, as in "I deked him out and scored."
  • double-double: a cup of coffee from Tim Horton's with two creams and two sugars
  • eaves troughs (also Northern & Western U.S.): grooves or channels that attach to the underside of the roof of a house to collect rainwater. Known to most Americans and to Britons as gutters.
  • eh: a spoken interjection to ascertain the comprehension, continued interest, agreement, etc., of the person or persons addressed ("That was a good game last night, eh?"). May also be used instead of "huh?" or "what?" meaning "please repeat or say again." Frequently mis-represented by Americans as A, or hey. May have its origins from the French hein, which is pronounced in a very similar fashion.
  • Family Compact: a group of influential families who exercised substantial political control of Ontario during part of the 1800s. The Quebec equivalent was the Chateau Clique.
  • fire hall: fire station, firehouse
  • fishfly: mayfly
  • garburator: a garbage disposal unit located beneath the drain of a kitchen sink.
  • homo milk: homogenized milk, particularly with a fat content greater than 2%, usually 3.25%. Referred to in the U.S. as whole milk.
  • humidex: measurement used by meteorologists to reflect the combined effect of heat and humidity.
  • hydro: (except Alberta, Saskatchewan, and the Maritimes) commonly as a synonym for electrical service. Many Canadian provincial electric companies generate power from hydroelectricity, and incorporate the term "Hydro" in their names: Toronto Hydro, Hydro Ottawa, etc. Usage: "Manitoba Hydro... It's not just a Power Company anymore."; "How long did you work for Hydro?" "When's Hydro gonna get the lines back up."; "The hydro bill is due on the fifteenth."; "I didn't pay my hydro bill so they shut off my lights." Hence hydrofield, a line of electricity transmission towers, usually in groups cutting across a city, and hydro lines/poles, electrical transmission lines/poles.
  • joe job: a low-class, low-paying job. Not to be confused with the American term joe job.
  • Kokanee: British Columbian name for a species of land-locked salmon (accent on first syllable). Also the name of a popular beer made in the Kootenay district, also known as "Blue Cocaine."
  • Kraft Dinner: Kraft macaroni and cheese. Sometimes called "Krap Dinner" or "KD".
  • loonie: Canadian one dollar coin. Derived from the use of the loon on the reverse.
  • lumber jacket: A thick flannel jackeolett either red and black or green and black favoured by blue collar workers and heavy metal/grunge afficinados. This apparel is more commonly referred to as a mackinac (pron mackinaw). In parts of British Columbia, it is referred to as a doeskin.
  • Nanaimo bar: a confection named for the town of Nanaimo, British Columbia and made of egg custard with a Graham-cracker-based bottom and a thin layer of chocolate on top; however, this term is now common in the United States and elsewhere, thanks to the efforts of Starbucks in popularizing them.
  • Newfie, Newf: A colloquial, often derisive term used to describe one who is from Newfoundland and Labrador. Historically used with light humour in "Newfie Jokes", similar to "Dumb Blonde Jokes". Use of the word is now considered to be offensive and in very bad taste.
  • parkade: a parking garage, especially in the West.
  • pencil crayon: coloured pencil.
  • pickerel: This is a slang word for walleye.
  • pop: the common name for soft drinks or soda pop.
  • quiggly hole and quiggly town: remains of First Nations underground houses in the Interior of British Columbia
  • rad: Short for radiator in a car or home heating, but pronounced like the first sylable of 'radical'.
  • regular: used to denote a coffee with one cream, one sugar ("I'll have two double doubles and a regular")
  • runners: running shoes, sneakers, especially in Central Canada. Also used somewhat in Australian English.
  • serviette: a small square of cloth or paper used while eating, a napkin. Derives from British English.
  • Timbits: a brand name of donut (doughnut) holes made by Tim Hortons that has become a generic term
  • toonie: Canadian two dollar coin. Modelled after loonie (q.v.). Also spelled tooney, twooney, twoonie, twonie, or twoney
  • tuque: a knitted winter hat, often with a pompon on the crown. Sometimes misspelled "toque", which is in fact an unrelated type of hat.
  • washroom: the general term for what is normally named public toilet or lavatory in Britain. In the U.S. (where it originated) mostly replaced by restroom in the 20th century. Generally used only as a technical or commercial term outside of Canada. The word bathroom is also used; the term toilet is generally considered somewhat indelicate in Canada and is avoided. [1]

The Bob & Doug McKenzie "Take off to the Great White North" comedy routines, popular in both the U.S. and Canada in the early 1980s, drew heavily on linguistic differences such as pronunciation (such as Trawna for Toronto or brudle for brutal) as well as once-obscure historical terms such as hoser or hosehead (originally used to refer to gas siphoning on the prairies in the depression era).

 

French loanwords

Often native French Canadian speakers will use calques of French idioms, so in Quebec it is relatively common of for both Anglophones and Francophones to "close the light" or to "open the light," meaning to turn on or off the light in a room. This was especially common in the Gaspé Peninsula, where until recently Anglophones and Francophones lived in mixed communities for generations. Similar calques from other languages are found in English throughout Canada, particularly in BC and the Prairies where translated usages from European languages are common, whether inherited from parents or spoken by new immigrants.

  • poutine: a dish of french fries (or chips) topped with cheese curds and covered with hot gravy (Quebec) or a dumpling filled with ground meat (Maritimes).
  • tuque: a close-fitting woolen winter hat (sometimes spelled toque, which is assimilated from a different kind of hat, or touque). Akin to a stocking-cap, knit cap or watch cap.

 

Canadian slang words

Canadian slang consists of words and phrases of slang exclusive to or originating from Canada. It is important to note that many of these words are regional and not used in all areas. In addition to general-purpose slang, there are slang nicknames for many Canadian places, and residents of specific Canadian places.

 

Numbers

  • The 905: the suburbs to the west, north and east of Toronto, covered by the 905/289 telephone area code, including Halton, Peel, York and Durham regions. Many "905ers" identify with right-wing political views, an issue that gained recognition during the Mike Harris era. Contains a number of much sought-after federal electorial districts. Does not include Hamilton, Ontario and the Niagara Region, even though they are part of the same area code.

 

A-B

  • BC Bud or BC Hydro: Marijuana (or Pot) grown in BC, often in Grow Ops (hidden hydroponic growing operations) scattered throughout the province in both urban and rural areas. BC Bud has a reputation of being very strong and is apparently sought after, especially in the United States, where much of it is "exported" to. Rumor has it that BC Bud is the largest cash crop in the province and contributes significantly to the provincial economy.
  • Blochead: A derogatory term for Anglophone, or English speaker in the province of Quebec. French translation tête carrée. Considered by Quebeckers as equivalent to an Anglo-Canadian calling a Franco-Canadian a frog.
  • Bluenoser: A person from Nova Scotia.
  • Buckle Bunny: A term used in the west, particularly in Alberta, to refer to a rodeo groupie, always female, who chases rodeo riders or dates rodeo riders. Not necessarily derrogatory, depending on usage. See also definition of Puck Bunny. May also be used in the U.S.
  • ByTown: Ottawa, Ontario (Bytown is the former name of the capital of Canada).

 

C-D

  • Caper: A person originally born on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. Typically used to identify someone who has left the island in search of employment.
  • Cape Bretoner: A person currently living on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia.
  • Central Canada: What Ontarians and Quebecers like to call their provinces. A misnomer, as Manitoba is more central (geographically speaking) than Ontario and Quebec.
  • CFA: A derogatory term used in rural Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, acronym for 'Come From Away', often shortened to 'From Away' indicating someone who has immigrated to Nova Scotia from another province or country, purchased land, and criticized the local way of life.
  • Cowtown or Cow town: A nickname for Calgary, Alberta. Refers to its roots as a hub of ranching, livestock trade and the Calgary Stampede or rodeo culture.
  • Crappy Tire: colloquialism for Canadian Tire. Also used frequently in Manitoba is Canuck Wheel, primarily in the Westman region originating in Brandon (circa 1994)
  • Dead Rear: A local term for Red Deer, Alberta. A play on its proper name and a supposed lack of culture or interesting activities available in the city.
  • Deadmonton: Sometimes used as a derogatory for Edmonton, Alberta. It is a play on its proper name and a supposed lack of culture or interesting activities available in the city. Made famous by a British journalist who asserted the same in a U.K publication. His "description" was withdrawn after actually visiting the city and being given a tour by the mayor.
  • dec: A slang expression dirived from the word decent. Often used in Marijuana subculture, this phrase is commonly used while describing the quality of weed. "How's that weed look?" "It's dec."
  • double-double: a coffee with double cream, double sugar (especially, but not exclusively, from Tim Hortons), recently added to the Oxford Dictionary. Triple-triple and four-by-four (less common) are three and four creams/sugars, respectively. Rarely, one can hear a request for a "Gretzky", nine cream, nine sugar after Wayne Gretzky's jersey number of 99.[citation needed]
  • down south: refers to the United States.

 

E-F

  • Edmonchuk: A name for Edmonton, Alberta, referring to the large Ukrainian population.
  • Farmer Tan: tan of the lower left arm, obtained by driving with the window open wearing a short-sleeve shirt. Also any tan or sunburn of both arms from mid-biceps and lower. Also used in the US.
  • Farmer turn: a manoeuvre executed while driving an automobile in urban areas. A right turn that starts by veering to the left, often crossing into the adjacent lane before completing the (often slow) right turn. Name refers to the driving habits of rural farmers accustomed to large vehicles and unused to city traffic.
  • Farmer vision (also Peasant Vision, Country Cable or TFC - Three Friggin' Channels): The basic three broadcast TV channels that can be picked up almost anywhere (Global, CBC, CTV).
  • FBI (Fuckin' Big Indian): Racist slang for a First Nations person
  • Fish Police (also Tree Cop and Critter Cop): Derogatory reference to Federal or Provincial Fisheries or Wildlife Officers.
  • Flat: An Atlantic Canadian term used to refer to a box containing 24 bottles of beer. (see also, 2-4) Central and Western Canadians usually use the term 'case' to identify this quantity, although the term flat is also sometimes used for the same thing in Western Canada. Also slab. "Flat" is almost never used to mean "apartment" in Canada, even though this usage is common in both the UK and some regions of the US, although it is fairly common in the city of Victoria, British Columbia as are other Britishisms uncommon elsewhere in Canada.
  • Floater: See Goal Suck
  • Flowerpots: See The Rocks.
  • Flippin: increasing in use; also Friggin as alternate use for fucking.
  • FOB: In B.C., a derogatory term used to describe a person of Oriental descent. An acronym for "Fresh Off the Boat."
  • foof: A dim-witted girl who dyes her hair platinum blonde and exhibits an apricot-colored tan in the hopes of attracting a man to marry and live off of.
  • (The) Force: The Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  • Fuck the dog: A term used to indicate doing nothing (e.g. I fucked the dog all weekend). May be referred to as Making Puppies or Screwing the Pooch in polite company. Also refers to slacking off at work or getting paid to do nothing. However, in Québec, to "fuck the dog" (f***é le chien) means to screw things up, like in "I was with this girl but got too drunk and embarassed myself, I told you, I fuck the dog!"
  • forty pounder (forty ouncer) — a 40 oz. bottle of alcohol (see 40).
  • Frog: Derogatory term used to describe French Canadians or a French Canadian aesthetic. Extremely rare in the province of Quebec, where "Pepper" is the predominate slur.
  • From away: A term used by those from Prince Edward Island in reference to people who are from other Canadian provinces.

 

G

  • Garden City: Richmond, British Columbia's official sobriquet. However, more popularly applied to Victoria
  • Gastown: the old part of Vancouver and the original colloquial name of the settlement , a contraction of "Gassy's town" after steamboat captain-cum-bartender "Gassy" Jack Deighton. Sometimes used to mean Vancouver in general in the way that Hogtown and Cowtown are used for Toronto and Calgary respectively, and also often mistaken or at least fudged to include the Downtown Eastside of that city, which includes Gastown proper.
  • Gino: used to describe someone of Italian descent.
  • Giv'n'r: used to describe any act carried out with extreme exuberance or to its fullest potential. "We were just Giv'n'r last night." Often used to describe heavy alcohol drinking and partying. Short for "giving her (hell). Variation "Give 'er" used on east coast ('I'm gonna just give 'er in tonight's game' or 'We really gave 'er last night at the game.')"
  • Goal Suck: In ice hockey, somebody who stays around the opposing teams goalie and does not play defence. (see "Cherry Picker")
  • Goof: 1: cheap sherry or fortified wine ("I could buy the Indian chiefs off with a case of goof," – Ed Havrot, chair of the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission, Toronto Globe and Mail, May 16. 1975); 2: in prison culture, a major insult relating to being a Child Molester or "Kiddie-Diddler", often precipating violence.
  • Goolie: In Manitoba, a derogatory term for someone of Icelandic descent. From Islendigur, meaning Icelander.
  • gotch, ginch, gonch, gitch (From Ukrainian gatky/gatsi): refers to men's brief-style underwear, particularly those that are threadbare. Used in British Columbia and Alberta. Gitch and gotch are variants heard mostly in Saskatchwan. It is also acceptable to append 'ies' to any of these variants, especially when referring to the underwear of male children. eg: "Make sure you do laundry tonight, I'm going to need some clean gonch in the morning". The term is becoming more widespread in use as a result of the rise in popularity of Vancouver-based undergarment company GinchGonch. A "gotch-pull" or "gonch-pull" is another name for a wedgie.
  • Gorby: A derogative term for a tourist or one who is severely ignorant to Canadian culture and believes in stereotypes (such as year-round snow, 'eh', etc.)
  • Gouge-and-Screw Tax: Goods and Services Tax (Canada)
  • Grit: a member of the Liberal Party of Canada. In British Columbia, a neo-Grit is a new-era BC Liberal (distinct in character from the pre-1970s BC Liberal Party), although Grit is commonly used in the media, though usually to mean the federal Liberals only.
  • Gripper: a former 66 imp fl oz (1/2 U.S. gal) or a 1.75 L (61.6 imp fl oz) bottle of liquor. So named for either having a looped handle on the bottle neck, or matching indented "grips" on the body of the bottle.
  • Grocery Police: A Canadian Customs and Revenue Border Agent.
  • GTA: frequently used acronym for the Greater Toronto Area
  • Gunt: Term used to describes a woman with a large lower torso, such that her stomach and genitals extend away from the body. A combination of "gut" and "cunt".
  • G'wan: Used by residents of the Maritime Provinces, in particular inhabitants of Cape Breton, to denote disbelief. Literally translated to "Go on!"
  • G'way: Also used by residents of the Maritime Provinces, in particular inhabitants of Cape Breton, to denote disbelief. Translated to "Go away!"

 

H-J

  • Habs: Historical Quebec: Habitants - Nick name of the Montreal Canadiens NHL team.
  • Had the biscuit: Dead, broken, spent, "My old car has had the biscuit".
  • half-sack: A six pack of beer.
  • Hali: Halifax, Nova Scotia.
  • Haligonian: a resident of Halifax (and of its namesake in the UK).
  • The Hammer: Hamilton, Ontario
  • The Hat: Medicine Hat, Alberta
  • Head'r: Used as a verb, to leave. eg. I guess I'd better head'r.
  • Here Before Christ: The Hudson's Bay Company (founded 1670).
  • Hog Town or Hogtown: Nickname for Toronto.
  • Housecoat: robe one wears around the house.
  • Hollywood North: a reference to Hollywood, used to describe Toronto and Vancouver as two major sites of Canadian film production. Usage and context differ for both locales, particularly for the latter which – like Hollywood, a centre of the American film industry – is on the Pacific coast, in the same time zone, and less than two hours by air from Hollywood proper. The term was originally coined by the industry to refer to Vancouver, but has since been adopted by Toronto to describe itself (as with Big Smoke, also originally a reference to Vancouver only). In Toronto its association is with glamour and the Canadian star-system being cultivated by that city's media, in Vancouver it is a term for the workaday film industry per se.
  • Hongcouver: A somewhat derisive name for Vancouver, mocking the city for its large immigrant population from Hong Kong and the proliferation of steel and glass condominium skyscrapers downtown that appear transplanted from the Asian city. By some accounts the term was in fact coined by immigrant Chinese youth until it became noticed by the press, after which it was denounced by Chinese community leaders who blamed it on white Canadians.
  • Honger or Hong: Derogatory name for immigrants from Hong Kong used by Mandarin-speaking and Canadianized Chinese. Also a derogatory name for a spoiled teenage brat from Hong Kong. NB "Hong Konger" is not derisive.
  • Hoodie: A hooded sweatshirt with or without a zipper.
  • Horny Tim's: Tim Hortons doughnut chain
  • hose: used as a verb 'to hose' meaning to trick, deceive, steal, etc.
  • hosed: Broken or not working. e.g., "There was a power surge and now my TV's hosed."
  • hoser: a stereotype and a mild insult; exploiter; from Depression era prairie gasoline thieves.
  • The Hub City: the city of Moncton, New Brunswick, the city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and the city of Nanaimo, British Columbia
  • Huck: to thrown something, often during wall-ball
  • Inside Passage: a "marine highway" linking BC's south coast with the Central Coast and North Coast/Prince Rupert via a chain of channels. The route is "inside" because it is sheltered by the coastal archipelago.
  • The Interior: used (without further description) by residents of British Columbia to describe essentially the entire province outside of Greater Vancouver, the Islands and the North Coast. Often seen in compound forms, Central Interior and Southern Interior especially (which almost mean the same thing, but not quite).
  • The Island: Vancouver Island, in common British Columbia usage; other islands are referred to directly by name, except in context.
  • The Islands: in BC, the Gulf Islands. In a general sense can be used to include Vancouver Island. In the capital 'I' sense this refers generally to the inhabited islands of the Strait of Georgia, usually the southern Gulf Islands; does not usually include the archipelagos Desolation Sound, Discovery Passage, the Queen Charlotte Strait or Inside Passage.
  • Islander: A person from Prince Edward Island
  • jam buster: a jelly-filled doughnut, generally covered with icing sugar (Manitoba, possibly Ontario)
  • The Jaw: Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
  • jawbone, as in to give jawbone: backcountry expression referring to giving credit at a store or bar. "He gave me jawbone" means the storekeeper or merchant advanced credit.
  • Jesus Murphey: a common exclamation, sometimes Jesus H. Murphy.
  • jib: methamphetamine or crystal meths (West/Central Canada).
  • joggers: a term used for jogging pants or sweatpants ;; another word for "sneakers" in Newfoundland and Cape Breton.

 

K-M

  • Kentucky Fried Pigeon and Kentucky Fried Rabbit and Dead Bird in a Box: disparaging term for Kentucky Fried Chicken, due to suspect quality of poultry used in preparation of this food.
  • Ketchup Potato Chips: a common flavour in Canada for potato chips but difficult to find in much of the USA, as is the most common Canadian chip flavour, Salt And Vinegar.
  • Kraft Dinner: A popular brand of macaroni noodles, often used to describe any macaroni or macaroni-like noodle meal, especially when abbreviated as K.D.. Also called "Krap Dinner". In the States is sold as Kraft Mac & Cheese.
  • KV: A term for the Kennebecasis Valley, which consists of two towns, Rothesay, New Brunswick and Quispamsis, New Brunswick, which are affluent suburbs of Saint John, New Brunswick.
  • Lakehead, The Lakehead: Thunder Bay, Ontario
  • Language Police: A Quebec provincial government body titled the Office québécois de la langue française who under Bill 101, the controversial language law passed in the 1970s, were charged with ensuring that Quebec businesses predominantly feature the French language on signs, menus etc.
  • L.C.: Slang for Manitoba Liquor Control Commission (MLCC), the government-run liquor stores in Manitoba; also for Nova Scotia's 'Liquor Commission'. Abbreviated as the 'Mission. The phrase Lick-Bo is used commonly in Ontario, as a reference to the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) government run liquor stores. In British Columbia the same reference is now L.D.B. - Liquor Distribution Branch (formerly L.C.B. - Liquor Control Board; L.C.B. is still heard despite the Board's renaming). People of Saskatchewan use "LB" for Liquor Board store.
  • Liquor Store: A specific reference to a government operated liquor store, as privately owned liquor stores are uncommon or illegal in Eastern Canada, depending on provincial liquor laws. A private liquor store is generally referred to as a Cold Beer & Wine Store or off-sale. Alberta has no government run liquor stores but still refer to the private stores as liquor stores.
  • Left Coast: term used to refer to British Columbia; the phrase is often applied in the United States to California; both are a reference to their geographical locations, (on the left side of a map of North America) and to the more liberal, or left-wing, attitudes of those regions in comparison to the rest of the country. An early user of the phrase was Allan Fotheringham, then writing for Vancouver Sun. It also occurs in the title of the Left Coast Review, a Vancouver-published magazine.
  • Lord Stanley or Lord Stanley's Mug: slang reference to the Stanley Cup, awarded annually to the champion team of the National Hockey League.
  • Lotus Land: British Columbia, especially the Lower Mainland around Vancouver; often in reference to the absurd theatrics of BC politics and political personalities, and also including at times political life in the provincial capital of Victoria. Sometimes written as one word. Originally coined by Vancouver Sun columnist Allan Fotheringham; derived from the Homeric "Land of the Lotus-Eaters". The California cognate, on which Lotus Land was styled, is La-la Land, for Los Angeles.
  • Lower Mainland; the Greater Vancouver-Fraser valley area of BC, apposite to "upcountry" (q.v), the Interior, the North, and the North Coast. The origin of this term is that the Fraser delta-Vancouver area is virtually at sea level, vs. the extreme heights of nearly all the communities on the Interior Plateau, the "upper mainland" (though it is never called such).
  • Mackinac, pronounced Mackinaw and sometimes spelled that way. A plaid Melton jacket, typically red or green, at one time a hallmark of the Canadian workingman. Later popular in artists and fans of the grunge movement.
  • Mainlander: Used by Newfoundlanders, Prince Edward Islanders and Cape Bretoners to refer to a person from mainland Canada; often used in the derogatory. Also used by Vancouver Islanders, especially Victorians, in the same way but primarily referring to residents of the Greater Vancouver/Lower Mainland area rather than those from the Interior or Upcoast.
  • Maritimer; Used to describe residents of the Maritime provinces on Canada's east coast. Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward's Island make up the Maritimes, but not Newfoundland due to climatic and geographic differences.
  • Manisnowba; a tongue-in-cheek term for the province of Manitoba which highlights the quantity of snow which falls in the winter months. See also: Winterpeg.
  • 'Masi; "thank you", from French merci by way of the Chinook Jargon, used in Yukon and parts of northern BC and the NWT. Notably used in regional broadcast programming.
  • Member; Used by the RCMP to refer to fellow Mounties in place of the usual "officer" or "constable" (or equivalent) in other police forces. Mounties have their own lexicon of special terms and usages, which are familiar the general public because of their use on-air by RCMP press relations officers. Sample usage: "the member approached the suspect with caution".
  • mickey: a small (13 oz.) bottle of liquor, shaped to fit in a pocket, much like a hip flask. Also fits conveniently alongside the calf of a cowboy boot or rubber boot.
  • Monster house: In Vancouver, a newly-built and very large, post-modern residence taking up nearly all of a city lot, often overshadowing neighbouring houses and usually in a bland stucco out-of-character with the older flavour of the neighbourhood. Monster houses began going up in the 1980s during the influx of new immigrants fleeing the PRC takeover of Hong Kong. The term was denounced by Chinese organizations as racist, since most houses being built this way were owned by Chinese. Originally limited to the city's West Side, they are now common throughout the suburbs and have no particular ethnic association, and the term has fallen into disuse as "politically incorrect"
  • Mountie: a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  • Mother Corp: The CBC. Originally coined by then-Vancouver Sun columnnist Allan Fotheringham as the Holy Mother Corporation.
  • Mtl:spelled out M.T.L. means Montreal
  • Muni, the Muni : in British Columbia, a municipal government and its bureacracy. "The Muni won't allow that to go through", "He works for the muni".

 

N-R

  • N.D.G.: refers to the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce district of Montreal
  • Newfie, Newf: a person from Newfoundland; derogatory if used by someone other than a Newfoundlander.
  • Newfie Tan: a tan where your upper arms, feet and ankles remain pale but the rest of your body is tanned, in reference to the tan usually accumulated by Newfoundland fisheren.
  • New West: New Westminster
  • nutter: as in "right-wing nut", most often referrencing American religious right-wing Republicans, but also members of the much-smaller Canadian exteme right, including certain evangelical Christian members of the Conservative Party of Canada.
  • Oilberta: A portmanteau of Alberta and oil, referring to Alberta's large oil industry.
  • the Oilpatch, or the patch: the local term of the oil industry of Alberta, especially the part involved directly with drilling.
  • Oil Town: Nickname for Edmonton due to the oil refining that is done in the region.
  • Ontario Piss Pots: Ontario Provinvial Police (O.P.P)
  • Out East: A summary term used in Western Canada (BC specifically) to classify anyone born and raised east of Manitoba- used with less negative connotation as "Torontonian." See Back East. Often also "Down East".
  • Out West: Term used to describe the general direction towards anywhere in Western Canada west of the Manitoba/Ontario border.
  • Over town: Term used in Vancouver's North Shore municipalities to refer to Vancouver, as in "Are you going over town", or "well, over town there's...". Sometimes in the same context "the city" is used, as with elsewhere in the Lower Mainland. The sense is over "the bridge(s)" (the Lions Gate or Second Narrows and/or over the water (Vancouver harbour/Burrard Inlet).
  • Parish: In New Brunswick, although now defunct along with counties, they are equivalent to townships in other provinces. They are now only geographical expressions (as are counties) and exist outside of incorporated municipalities (towns, cities & villages, as well as the new Rural Communities).
  • The Peg and Peg City: Winnipeg, Manitoba.
  • The Peninsula: Refers to New Brunswick's Kingston Peninsula, a rural stretch of land surrounded by the Saint John River on 2 sides, the Kennebecasis River on 1 side, and Kingston Creek on part of one side. Also used for the northern suburbs of Victoria, British Columbia, which are on the Saanich Peninsula.
  • Pepper, Pepsi: derogatory term used to refer to francophone Quebeckers
  • Pile O' Bones: Regina, Saskatchewan (the latin word for Queen, named for the Queen, and pronounced like vagina); this was the name of the site of the future city when it was selected as the site of the capital of the North-West Territories.
  • Poco: Port Coquitlam, one of the "Tri-Cities" or "Northeast Sector", which includes Coquitlam and Port Moody. Sometimes all three are described, usually in print rather than in speech, as PoCoMo.
  • Pogie: Atlantic Canadian term for social assistance or welfare.
  • Poutine: french fries covered with gravy and cheese curds.
  • Poverty Pack: a six-pack of beer. Used in Southern New Brunswick.
  • Prairie nigger (derogatory) — A person of aboriginal descent.
  • Puck Bunny: (AKA 'Puck Slut', or just 'a Puck') In disparaging terms, A young girl who pursues hockey players; a groupie of hockey players. More correctly is "Puck Fuck," but rarely used in mixed company.
  • Puck (verb): A term used by Rural Atlantic communities that is synonymous with the word punch. Ex: "Shut up b'y or I'll puck ya!"
  • Queen City: Regina, Saskatchewan.
  • Queen's Hotel: local or county jail
  • Randy: Excited, turned on, "horny" (common in British English, but in North America it is not used in the United States, only in Canada)
  • RCs: RCMP officers, especially patrolling the highway, as in "Look out for the RCs in the Park (Jasper or Banff National Parks)." Possibly used only on the prairies.
  • Rancherie: In British Columbia, an Indian Reserve, specifically its residential section and often specifically the oldest residential neighbourhood of a reserve. Pronounced with a "hard" /ch/ and accent on the last syllable. Derived from Californian Spanish rancheria, the workers' residential village on a rancho.
  • Reservation Rocket: nickname for vehicle generally seen travelling towards or away from native reservations, typically an old Camaro or Trans-Am, frequently overloaded and over-speed.
  • Rez : Short for Dormatory Residences in University or College.
  • the Rez: A First Nations reserve, particularly its residential area. Found across in Canada, generally used by First Nations English-speakers, slang for a university residence or dormitory, slang for reseviour, where bush parties are often held.
  • Rice King and Rice Queen: In British Columbia, non-Asians who date only Asians, often immigrants from another part of Canada moved here for that reason.
  • Rink Rat— Term used to describe people who work at a hockey rink and maintain the building/ice surface.
  • Rippers: term for strippers and exotic dancers. Derived from the fact they rip their clothes off (eventually). They perform in Ripper Bars. See Peelers.
  • River City— a nick-name for Winnipeg, Manitoba. See also: The Peg/Peg City and Winterpeg
  • The Rock: Newfoundland. Also, in Greater Victoria, British Columbia, for Vancouver Island .
  • Rockhead: A resident of the small town of St. George, New Brunswick, which is affectionately called the "Granite Town".
  • The Rocks: The Hopewell Rocks, in Hopewell, New Brunswick, where the highest tides in the world are found. Also referred to as the Flowerpots.
  • Rotten Ronnie's: McDonald's restaurants. Also McScumolds, McDick's, McRaunchie's, or in Quebec, McDo's.
  • (The) Royal City: New Westminster, British Columbia. Often mistakenly used for Victoria, British Columbia. Also used when referring to the city of Guelph, Ontario.
  • Runners : Running shoes or casual shoes. (U.S. term is "sneakers", UK term is "trainers".)
  • Rye: Canadian Whiskey.

 

S

  • Sack Vegas: Another name for Lower Sackville, a lower to upper middle class suburb of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Known for a significant concentration of used car dealerships and at least seven separate Tim Horton's doughnut shops serving the population of around 30,000, one of the highest ratios in the country.
  • Saltchuck: In British Columbia, the chuck is a reference to water, usually the straits and other inland waters between Vancouver and Vancouver Island from the Chinook Jargon and commonly used in marine English and in weather forecasts, e.g., "It'll be fine out on the saltchuck tomorrow." Also chuck.
  • Saint Leo: refers to largely Italian Canadian district of Saint Leonard, Quebec.
  • Saskabush: Saskatchewan or in some circles, Saskatoon
  • Sasquatch: A creature similar to Bigfoot or Yeti, from the Halkemeylem word sesqac. In British Columbia often used, especially in the short form Squatch (rhymes with "botch"), to mean someone tall, large and shaggy or bearded. Also a Saskatchewan driver in Alberta, or an Albertan teen with Saskatchewan licence plates.
  • Sauga: Mississauga, short form. AKA "The 'Saug"
  • Scarberia: Scarborough, a suburban part of Toronto, a derogatory reference to its desolation. Also known as Scompton, in reference to its perceived similarities with the Compton neighbourhood in Los Angeles, as well as Scarlem, in reference to its perceived similarities with the Harlem region of New York .
  • Scare Canada: a derogatory term used with regard to national air carrier Air Canada. Originally this was coined in British Columbia as Scare BC (for Air BC).
  • Scivey: (Pronounced SKY-vee) an untrustworthy person; or someone who is considered un-generous or stingy. Used in Nova Scotia, and with similar meaning to Sketchy.
  • Screech: a particularly potent type of Newfoundland rum. See Newfoundland Screech.
  • (The) Shwa: Local slang (generally derogatory) for the city of Oshawa, Ontario.
  • Sixty-Sixer: A term for a sixty-two ounce (1.75 L) bottle of liquor (from the old 1/2 U.S. gallon size, 66.6 imp fl oz).
  • Sketch'd right out of 'er: Extreme form of Sketchy used in New Brunswick.
  • Skid: a reference to people who appear down and out with raggedy clothing, sometimes homeless but not always. Derived from skid road.
  • slack: Term for low quality, disappointment, etc. Often prefaced with ever, as in Ever slack, eh? To slack off is to work slowly and minimally.
  • Sliveen: commonly used in Newfoundland, refers to an individual of disreputable character.
  • Slurrey: Derogatory name for Surrey, British Columbia.
  • Smogtown: Nickname for Toronto.
  • Snokked or snocked: drunk, as in really drunk.
  • Snowbirds: a reference to people, often senior citizens, who leave Canada during the winter months to reside in southern states of the U.S. (particularly Florida.) Also the name of the Canadian Forces aerobatics team.
  • Social: In Manitoba, a gathering at a town's legion or community centre (or sometimes in the viewing gallery of a hockey arena) for a night of dancing, drinking, and socialising. Often held as a fundraiser for a wedding, sports team, or a charitable cause.
  • The Soo or The Sault: Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
  • Speedy Creek: slang term for the small city of Swift Current in Southwestern Saskatchewan. Considered slightly pejorative by current and former residents who prefer "Swifty" or "Swift".
  • Spinnin' an Freakin': To drive in a reckless fashion. Usually only used in small prarie towns where reckless driving is a common pastime.
  • Spinny: when used in reference to a girl or woman, this means a certain kind of talkative, dizzy, not-all-there kind of personality, as in "man, she's a spinny chick, huh?" and "I dunno man - she's pretty spinny." See also Surrey girl (though the terms are nowhere near synonymous).
  • Spudhead: a person from Prince Edward Island, in reference to the province's abundance of potato farming
  • Square Head/English Muffin: Words used to describe English/Anglo Canadians, the former in French is "Tête Carré." "English Muffin" is often heard in New Brunswick schoolyards with its counterpart, "French Fry." In British Columbia and Alberta, squarehead invariably is a derisive term for an ethnic German, i.e., someone who still has their accent and old-country hardliner attitudes. Not generally used to mean Austrians or Swiss.
  • Stagette: the female equivalent of a stag party.
  • Steeltown: Hamilton, Ontario, in reference to the city's main industry
  • Stinktown: Sarnia, Ontario, in reference to the smell from the petroleum refineries.
  • Stubble Jumper or stubblejumper: Someone from Saskatchewan, or from the prairies in general. Relates to the province's vast farmlands that when harvested, leave stubble.
  • Suitcase: Case of twenty-four cans of beer. The handle is located such that the case carries like a suitcase.
  • Surrey Girl: something more than just a stereotype, evocative of the character and "culture" of Surrey, BC ("Canada's Brooklyn"). See "Slurrey" and "Whalleyworld".
  • Swish: Homemade low-quality liquor. Made by taking leftover, used, liquor aging barrels and swishing water in them to absorb the alcohol from the wood. Absolutely terrible. In BC, the British context of swish can be heard, as in slickly presented or fancy/fashionable, having a little too much showiness, if not effeminacy. "He's kinda swish, doncha think?" might imply the individual in question is homosexual, or at least tending that way (as well as well-dressed).

 

T-Z

  • Takitish:used in conversation as slang for "take it easy" mostly in cenral Canada, more specifically Southern Ontario
  • T-Bar: refers to female underwear visible above the pants at rear end. Presumably from T-bar ski lift
  • "Take Off": expression of disagreement or command to leave, similar to "get lost" ("Take off, you hoser!"). Used by TV characters Bob & Doug McKenzie.
  • Telecaster: Term used in Nova Scotia to refer to a newspaper TV listings publication. Sometimes used in BC media English interchangeably with "broadcaster."
  • (The) Telephone City: Brantford, Ontario, where the telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell.
  • (The) Terminal City: Vancouver, BC. Referring to its function as the terminal of prairie rail lines feeding the port for export and import of goods.
  • Texas Mickey: A 3 litre(or 3.78 litre) or larger bottle of liquor, despite the Texas reference, this is a purely Canadian term.
  • Thongs: Summer sport sandles with a pair of straps anchored between the big and second toe, then across the toes. Referred to as "Flip-Flops" in modern trendspeak.
  • Tim's, Timmy's, Timmy Ho's, Timmy Ho-Ho's', T-Ho's: Tim Hortons doughnut chain; female employees of same are sometimes (affectionately) known as "TimTarts." or in a more derogatory context, a Timmy's Ho or Timmy Ho (as in 'whore', and often used by the employees themselves for fun).
  • Timbit: A round bite-sized treat made from what is left over of a doughnut after the hole is cut out from the middle. The term was coined by the Tim Hortons doughnut chain, but the term "timbit" is used to refer to the same treat served at different doughnut locations, such as Country Style or Dunkin Donuts, though these chains do not officially refer to their version of the treat as "timbits".
  • Tipper: A 3.75 litre bottle of liquor, sold with a metal frame used to support the bottle when pouring.
  • T. O.: Toronto
  • Toon Town: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
  • Towney : In Newfoundland, to describe someone from St. John's. The term is heard variously in BC by rural residents to refer to town residents nearby.
  • T Dot: Toronto
  • TransCan, T-Can: reference to the Trans-Canada Highway, also called the Number 1. Begins in Victoria, British Columbia, ends in St John's, Newfoundland. Is also the world's longest national highway at 7821km.
  • twenty-sixer or two-six: a 26 oz bottle of alcohol like vodka etc. (see 2-6)Referred to as a "quart" in Newbrunswick and Nova Scotia.
  • twofer, two-four: a case of 24 beer (see 2-4).
  • Two-eight: a case of 28 beer (see 2-8).
  • upcountry: in BC anywhere on the mainland outside of the Lower Mainland, or if in the Southern Interior. points north. Not usually used for points up the Coast, in which case "upcoast" is used (as also "up the Coast"). May have its origin in the colonial-era usage "the upper country", meaning the Interior. See also "bush", as in "the bush"
  • Upriver: Refers to northwestern New Brunswick (Edmundston, Grand Falls, Florenceville, etc) in reference to it location from Saint John, at the southern end of the river.
  • Van — Vancouver. Local short form used to refer to certain districts and suburbs of Vancouver, e.g., East Van, North Van, West Van. Also used by itself in the other suburbs in the context "are you going into Van today?". The form Van-City, originally and still a credit union's brand name, has become fashionable in texting usage among the young and also in trendy business names.
  • Vancouver Special: A house with little or no basement having the main living area above the first floor. The first floor is often renovated as a suite and rented out. References both the construction in the Vancouver area (bed rock prevents deep basements) and the high housing cost requiring people to rent out half their homes.
  • Vico: Synonymous with "chocolate milk". Used primarily throughout Saskatchewan.
  • Waste Island: refers to Montreal's West Island.
  • West Island: Western portion of the Island of Montreal
  • Wheels: A vehicle, usually a car. Tire is usually used when referring to the actual wheels "Where are your wheels parked?"
  • Winterpeg: Winnipeg


Published on: 2006-11-15 (265937 reads)

submitted by: Canadaka

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