Whether you’re moving to Canada, meeting new Canadian friends, or traveling to Canada for a short while and blogging about it, you’ll do well to learn all the Canadian slang words, Canadian phrases and funny Canadian sayings. This is because while Canadians speak English, they’ve got their own quirks and peculiarities that make them unique and interesting as a culture. Learning Canadian words, Canadian sayings and Canadian expressions helps you make your way around and mingle better. It’ll help you blend in, adjust quicker to the new locale and potentially discover many new and exciting friendships.
If you are a writer or blogger, you can learn Canadian slang to incorporate some words into your content that may help in addressing a Canadian audience better. Whether it’s a casual or professional purpose, it’s always helpful to have some Canadian slang in your vocabulary to make your posts more engaging. It will also help you understand your audience or follower base better.
They say that Canada has three languages: English, French and an informal, unofficial last one: Canadian slang. This illustrates how the country has grown to create its own language that defines its own culture. In fact some of the slang words do incorporate elements of everyday Canadian culture that help bloggers or travelers navigate the place easier.
Canada’s melting pot society is a mix of different cultures. Their society values nature and the simple things: politeness in dealings, being a good sport and enjoying the outdoors or having enough leisure time. Canadian slang is a reflection of the people’s priorities and way of life.
Native English speakers from other countries might find Canadian slang quite humorous in its use of common English words to mean completely different things or in an unusual context. But hey, those eccentricities make up part of the reason why many end up falling in love with Canada!
Where to Start
Learning Canadian slang isn’t rocket science. Here’s a compilation of the most common Canadian accent words and Canadian expressions that can help you get by, or make your writing more interesting to Canadian readers.
“Clicks” in Canadian Slang
What does it mean when someone says, “Brian is waiting about two clicks away.”? Well, it turns out that in the dictionary of Canadian words, “clicks” is a shortcut for kilometers. So when you’re talking about distance or asking for directions to go somewhere, remember that “two clicks” stands for “two kilometers” and not two snaps of a finger. No one is going to appear magically; it just means you need to drive a bit further to get there.
“Deke” is Short for Decoy
“Deke” is another odd word you might encounter in Canadian slang. In Canadian words, it simply means a decoy, which is reflective of Canadians’ love for hockey. In hockey, a deke means a move where the player with the puck does a fake out or deceives another player. Pretty handy when watching a hockey game with friends.
Canadians love their ice hockey.
If you want to blog about Canadians and their love for sports, consider surprising them by using the word deke once in a while.
What’s a “Dep”?
True to their French-speaking roots, Canadians have managed to include a lot of French words into their slang, albeit sneakily or nonchalantly sometimes.
In French-speaking Quebec, “dep” is an abbreviation of dépanneur, which means “troubleshooter” in French. However, a “dep” is understood as the term for a convenience store in Quebec. It has since been added to the list of Canadian slang words used by the English-speaking population to mean “corner stores”.
Why do they keep saying “Eh”?
“Eh” is among the most commonly used of all the Canadian slang words or Canadian expressions. It’s pronounced as “ay” and in common speech it means “don’t you agree” or as a means of emphasis. Canadians usually end their sentences with this.
Does “Beauty” Really Mean What You think it Means?
Well, yes and no. Canadians have an odd way of using the word beauty not just as a description of physical beauty but as a reference to something that’s exceptional. For instance, they can describe a movie or a play as a “beauty”.
In Canada, “timbits'' is slang for doughnut holes. Timmies is slang for Tim Hortons, the famous coffee shop named after a hockey player.
Is it Calgary or Cowtown?
Canadians use “Cowtown” as a nickname for Calgary. It’s become known as such because of its heritage that’s described as “Old Western” and famous events like the Calgary Stampede. The annual rodeo and festival has bestowed the “Cowtown” nickname on Calgary.
If you hear the word “canuck”, know that it’s Canadian slang for a person from Canada--a.k.a., a Canadian, except you don’t call them as such. This is also the basis for the name of the famous Vancouver hockey team.
In Canada, Chirping is not just for Birds
In Canadian slang, “chirping” means trash-talking or making fun of someone. This is usually in the context of a sport or competition.
British California is a Loaded Term
British California is slang for British Columbia, which Canadians liken to the American state. They find that similarities abound, such as laid-back lifestyles, warmer weather in general and marijuana of better quality. Sounds like California, all right.
Darts, the game?
No, darts, the cigarettes. So when you say you’re “smoking darts”, it means you’re actually smoking cigarettes and not inhaling the pointy metal instrument that’s used to hit a rubber board. Quite the relief.
What does it mean when you order a “double-double”?
A double-double is how Canadians like their coffee. They’ll order it with double cream and double sugar. Hence, a double-double.
A freezie is an old-fashioned Canadian treat made up of sugar, ice and food coloring. This nostalgic treat is obviously consumed during the summer, and not during freezing Canadian winters.
This is a great idea for a food blog topic, isn’t it?
This is Canadian slang for support or encouragement. They say this when they want to encourage you to complete a task or finish something.
Is it okay to “Fill yer boots”?
This means “help yourself”. It’s a hospitable saying originating from Newfoundland. It’s Canadian slang for “feel at home” or “do as you wish” and, yes, “take as much as you like”.
“Kerfuffle” sounds like fun, but what does it mean?
The word Kerfuffle in Canadian slang means disagreement, which may range from a small argument, a commotion or a full-on fight.
Canadians sure are fond of encouraging others. “Give’r” means to give it everything you’ve got. This is usually in the context of sports.
In Canadian slang, “goal suck” means that you’re a cherry picker in sports. It refers to players who neglect defense by staying near opponents’ goal area as they wait for easy chances to score. This doesn’t sound like a positive term, eh? (It’s never too early to start practicing “eh”.)
This is Canadian slang for men’s cotton briefs, which tend to be tight. It’s another term for tighty-whities. If anyone ever asks you whether you’re wearing a “gotch”, that’s what they mean.
This is another slang word taken from French. It’s an abbreviation of les habitants or “ the residents”. It is a nickname for a Canadian hockey team: the Montreal Canadians. This term has a long history. It was first used in 1914 to report on this team’s victory against the Toronto team, the Maple Leafs.
Toronto Maple Leafs.
What’s a “gong show”?
It’s interesting how a “gong” came to be associated with disaster. The Canadians have managed to put these two meanings together. The Canadian term “gong show” refers to an out-of-control situation or a full-on disaster.
What does it mean to “Hang a Larry” or “Hang a Roger”?
News to the Larry’s and Roger’s of the world: you’re famous in Canada! Unfortunately, it’s not for anything remarkable you’ve done.
When Canadians say “hang a Larry” it simply means to turn left. When you “hang a Roger”, you turn right.
What’s “homo milk” in Canada?
Over there, they use the term “homo milk” as a short name for homogenized milk.
In Canada, a “jambuster” is something good to eat. It’s a jam-filled doughnut. Now, aren’t you glad they invented a term for that? It would be quite fun for a tourist to say “Hey, I’d like to order a jambuster.”
Who are the Mounties?
Canadians have a lovely slang term for their police. The RCMP, or Royal Canadian Mounted Police, known for their scarlet tunics and flat-brimmed hats, are called the “Mounties”.
Is going “out for a rip” as badass as it sounds?
In Canadian slang, this could mean two things: that you are going out for an extreme drive like snowmobiling or offroading, or that you are simply about to hang out with your friends. Take your pick.
If you ever wish to truly “go out for a rip” and do something radical, like actually ride a snowmobile, create some video content on your blog with the caption “Going out for a rip”. That should keep your Canadian audience excited, and other audiences curious.
Is a “KD” healthy?
KD in Canada stands for Kraft Dinner. This appears to be popular in Canada, and it refers to the packaged macaroni and cheese product from said manufacturer.
Oh wow, there’s a Canadian term for a brown-noser!
In Canada, a brown-noser or overly eager people pleaser is called a “keener”.
Who’s craving some ketchup chips?
Ketchup chips are a classic staple in Canada. They serve regular potato chips with a ketchup seasoning that tends to leave a stain. Hence, the shortcut term referring to the dish is “ketchup chips”.
The Loonie and the Toonie
One of the important things you need to learn is currency slang. Canadian slang for the dollar coin is a “loonie”. It was named after the image of the common loon--the bird that appeared on the first minted one dollar coin in 1987. The country then followed with the release of a two dollar coin, which was then subsequently nicknamed the “toonie”.
If you’re traveling or moving to Canada, you can’t miss eating poutine. It’s a dish from Quebec that’s now famous all over the country, and is made of gravy-covered french fries and cheese curds. Consider adding poutine to your must-try list of Canadian dishes.
This well-known dish could be another great subject for your food or travel blog.
Unleash your New Canadian Vocabulary in a Blog
Starting a Canada travel blog? Canadian slang could be very useful.
There are many more words that you can add to your Canadian slang lexicon, but consider this an initial brief.
Now that you’ve learned a few new Canadian words and Canadian sayings, why not put them to good use? If you love writing or blogging, you can consider setting up a new blog that will hone your writing skills and share your experiences with the world.
If you’re just starting out on your personal travel blog, you will want a user-friendly setup with lots of free options to personalize your website. Strikingly offers a free website building platform that is great for anyone who wants to start out with a clean, beautiful and feature-filled interface.
Share your best photos of your Canadian sojourn, make a list of all the Canadian slang words you learned, and you could be on your way to a viral post that earns you plus points with your Canadian friends!