The Gateway Words to Canadian Slang

Photo via Pixabay

Ever been to Canada and heard a few words you weren’t too sure were actually words?

Canada proudly turned 150 years old this last year and with it was celebrated the vast cultural diversity that makes it country so great! While the main two spoken languages across Canada are English and French, it’s also host to 200 other spoken languages – that’s one diverse vernacular of a population!

Most people are familiar with the typical Canadian colloquialisms or local colour such as ‘aboot’ instead of ‘about’ and adding ‘eh’ on the end of nearly every sentence, but what other ingenious words is this linguistically and culturally diverse country home to?

Below we list a few of our favourites and what they mean. Don’t forget to comment at the end if there’s any we’ve missed or if you have any other particular favourites!

Photo via Flickr

1. Toonie

Most countries are privy to a few slang words when it comes to their currency, but Canada might be our favourite! Toonie is the slang for a $2 coin. It followed after ‘loonie’ which refers to a $1 coin and the aquatic bird that adorns it.

2. Kitty-Corner

Sadly, this one is not as literal as you might hope and doesn’t refer to a corner of kittens. It actually means something that is in a diagonal direction from something else. For example “the bookstore is kitty-corner to the drug store.”

3. Chinook

It doesn’t get much more Canadian than this one. A chinook refers to a warm wind that is blowing East over from the Canadian rockies, and warming up some of the other colder parts of the country.

4. Rink Rat

Don’t panic! It’s not as bad as it sounds! A rink rat is the slang for someone who loves to spend time on the ice-skating rink (phew!). No rodents here.

5. Kerfuffle

Only Canadians would come up with such a cute sounding word for this! Kerfuffle refers to a commotion, fuss or chaotic situation! Usually caused by some sort of disagreement.

6. Toque

A toque is a particular type of knitted hat that many Canadians like to wear in Winter. Or any season – it’s a pretty cold country! Why is it called a toque? Well it’s actually derived from Arabic, which found it’s way into Medieval French. So the Canadian French influence is to blame for this one!

Photo via Flickr

7. Double-Double

If you’re not familiar with Tim Horton’s you will be by the time you leave Canada. And the order you’ll probably be most familiar with is the double-double – the slang for ordering a coffee with double cream and double sugar in this popular coffee shop chain.

8. Cowtown

We’re spotting a theme here with the animal references in Canadian slang. Not a reference to a dairy farm, but actually a friendly reference to Calgary, Alberta. Even the residents of Calgary themselves use it.

9. Klick

Canadians have a preference for using kilometres over miles. A klick is a slang term for kilometers! For example, “Let’s go to the mall, it’s only 3 klicks away.”

10. Canuck

We saved our favourite for last. Who doesn’t love affectionate slang for our peers? Canuck is a friendly term for fellow Canadians.

So there you have it! A list of our favourite Canadian colloquialisms! We’re pretty sure there’s more to be added to this list – let us know any we’ve missed and your favourites in the comments!