Canadian Vocabulary

Canadians may speak English and French, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have slang of our own. Today, I’ll take you through common Canadian words and phrases that you’ll likely hear if you visit the Great White North!

  1. Toque: A toque is any warm knitted or wool hat, usually with a pompom if it’s a winter toque. It’s the Canadian version of beanies.
  2. Double Double: A double double is the typical coffee order at Tim Horton’s, which is a coffee with two creams and two sugars.
  3. Chesterfield: A chesterfield is a couch or sofa. You’ll also more likely to hear this term being used by older generations.
  4. Cowtown: A nickname for the city of Calgary, based on the fact that we’re the home of the Calgary Stampede, which is basically a 10-day long rodeo.
  5. KD: KD refers to (any) sort of Kraft Dinner, which is basically macaroni and cheese. However, it’s not quite the same as the American Kraft Mac & Cheese.
  6. Chinook: A chinook is a warm wind that comes off of the Rocky Mountains, causing the temperature to warm considerably in a short amount of time. You can tell when one is coming in when you see a chinook arch in the clouds and the temperature goes from -40 to 0 overnight in Calgary.
  7. Loonies and Toonies: Loonies are our $1 coin and toonies are our $2 coin. Loonies are nicknamed based on the fact that the coin has a loon on it, which is a type of bird.
  8. Colour, favourite, or any words with an extra u. Canadians tend to spell words like colour and favourite with a u, unlike the Americans who spell them color and favorite.
  9. Mountie: A Mountie refers to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who are recognizable from their bright red dress uniforms.
  10. Canuck: What Canadians generally refer to themselves as. It’s not to be confused with the Vancouver Canucks, which is Vancouver’s hockey team.
  11. Pop: What Canadians call soda, so your usual Coke, Sprite, etc. Although, if you want ginger ale in Canada, ask for Canada Dry.
  12. Smarties: Smarties are candy-coated chocolate in Canada made by Nestle. If you’re looking for an equivalent for American Smarties, you should ask for Rockets.
  13. Keener: A brown-noser, basically someone who sucks up a lot or is overly eager about something. It would also be equivalent to calling someone a teacher’s pet.
  14. Kerfuffle: A small scuffle or conflict, not necessarily physical. There could be a kerfuffle over Timmies not having any Timbits, for example.
  15. Chirp/Chirping: Generally a hockey term, it means insulting someone or making disrespectful comments. If you want to see chirping in action, watch Letterkenny.
  16. Puck Bunny/Rink Rat: Both refer to people that always seem to be at the hockey rink. Puck Bunny applies to women only and can imply that they’re at the rink to get a date with the hockey players.

Hopefully, this list helps you navigate some of the weird slang Canadians use. If you’d like to share your favourite Canadian slang, drop it in the comments below!

-Mel.

MelissaAyc

I'm a recent graduate currently living in Calgary, Alberta. You can usually find me with a cup of coffee in one hand while reading a pile of books or planning my next big project. I'm curious about many things - including history, photography, and travelling. You can find me writing away at couragetocontinue13.com.

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