Canadian Slang, Unique Phrases and Canadian Sayings

Written By: The Planet D

We have some very unique Canadian Sayings and Phrases.  Most people think Canadians speak a lot like our American neighbours, but the truth is, we’re a little weird up here in the Great White North.

People must be pretty confused when we tell them: “A Coffee Crisp costs about a Loonie, pretty good deal eh?” Or, “I’d like a dozen Timbits with a large double double please.What on earth does that mean? Let me explain. 

Great Canadian Sayings

Canadian Slang – How To Speak Canadian

canadian phrases | canadian slang video
Click here to watch our How to Speak Canadian video

To listen to how we Canadian’s talk, watch our video of these two crazy Canucks explaining all the Canadian phrases we use. Here are a few of the staple Canadian slang words used daily.

1. Eh

This is our most popular Canadian saying that we receive the most flack about from the rest of the world. “Eh.” Everyone always makes fun of us. They mock us by using “eh” in the most ridiculous phrases and they never get it right. So I am going to give you a quick lesson on how to use the word “eh”. It is so simple to use and anyone can do it.

Canadian words and sayings
Don’t worry, it’s very Canadian to drink American beer – We’re not picky

All you have to do is make a statement like “It is a very nice day out today.” If you add “eh” to the end of that statement, you can turn it into a question that will require a friendly reply from the person you are talking to.

For example…”It is very nice day out today eh?” To which the other person will reply “Yes it is.” See how easy it is? Now before visiting Canada, you can practice your use of the word “eh” and fit right in once you get here.

2. Loonie

Loonie | canadian sayings

By far the silliest word for currency on the planet is the name of the Canadian dollar coin. “The loonie.”

When our one-dollar coin came out in the early nineties. Nobody really knew what to call it. We couldn’t exactly call it a dollar bill anymore, and a dollar coin just didn’t roll off of the tongue. So obviously a Loonie would be the next choice right?

Ok, I am kidding, it doesn’t make sense at all. That is until you see the coin. It has a picture of a Loon on it. So naturally, we all decided to call it a Loonie. And of course, when the two-dollar coin came out with a picture of a Polar Bear on it we called it a Bearie or a Polie right?

No way…we ended up calling it a Toonie, because Toonie rhymes with Loonie, and we Canadians like things that rhyme. It sounds loonie-toonie but it’s true!

3. Tuque

canadian slang for hat is tuque

I went my entire childhood and a large portion of my adult life not realizing that this was a word only used in Canada. “Tuque” (it can also be spelled toque) I watched Canadian icons Bob and Doug Mackenzie as a kid wearing their tuques telling each other to “Take Off Eh” and I never thought anything of it. Take off and tuques were perfectly normal.

And then I started traveling. That’s when I realized that Canadians are strange. When I made statements like “Its cold tonight, I should have packed my tuque,” People looked at me like I was from another planet. What’s a tuque? They asked. Well, it is simple, a tuque is a knitted hat is used to keep the head warm.

The Edge from U2 often wears a tuque, and Jacques Cousteau always wore a tuque. Now you know. Buy your own Canadian tuque on Amazon. 

4. Washroom

When I first started to travel the world. I was surprised to see the word Toilet used so much. In Canada, we call it a washroom. To us, the toilet sounds a bit vulgar.

I don’t think that I have ever heard the term washroom anywhere else except for Canada. In the U.S. They use bathrooms, and restrooms, I have seen water closet used around the world and The British love to say The Loo… But I never see washroom. I like washroom. I think I will keep using washroom.

5. Double Double

canadian phrases double double

Ok, I could do an entire post on how Tim Hortons has shaped our coffee drinking as a nation. Tim Hortons is mediocre coffee that we are all mysteriously addicted to. We even opened a Tim Hortons in Afghanistan for our troops overseas. Nobody can do without their Timmies.

Here’s a phrase you must learn when coming to Canada. “I am going to Timmies to grab a box of timbits and a large Double Double.” That is what you say when leave the house to order an assortment of tasty doughnut centres and an oversized cup of coffee with two creams and two sugars at Tim Horton Doughnuts. Mmm Yummy.

By the way, Tim Hortons was founded by hockey legend Tim Horton. We love our hockey almost as much as we love our Timmies.

6. Two-Four

canadian phrases 24 of beer

One of my favourite phrases that is uniquely Canadian is Two-Four. This is our phrase we use when we go to buy beer at the beer store. “I am going to get a 2-4 of Canadian at the Beer Store, do you want anything?”

Yes, we buy our beer at the Beer Store in Canada and a box of 24 beers is simply shortened to the words “two four.”

Speaking of booze, we also have something that is called a “Mickey” in Canada. A Mickey is a small bottle of alcohol that can fit in your pocket. In high school, people carried around a Micky of vodka or Canadian Club Rye Whiskey. (CC and Coke) to drink at parties.

7. Molson Muscle

canadian slang molson muscle

Here’s another great Canadian phrase for you, the Molson Muscle. It’s what Canadians call a beer belly.

8. Hydro

Here’s a word I just learned was distinctly Canadian. I didn’t realize that we are the only people in the world that call their electricity Hydro. When we pay our utilities each month, we pay our hydro bill. We don’t call it our electric bill. It’s Hydro.

In Ontario, we are run by Ontario Hydro. Dave’s dad worked for Hamilton Hydro. It’s as ingrained in our vocabulary as much as “eh” and “looney.” Oh, and PS, Canadians pay a lot for hydro even though we live next door to Niagara Falls.

9. Knapsack

canadian words and phrases knapsack

This is what we Canadians call our Backpack or Rucksack. To Canadians a backpack is often called a knapsack. especially for school aged kids. . All through my school years I would pack my knapsack with my schoolbooks. When I first started traveling 10 years ago, I said to myself, “Well, I better buy a new knapsack to carry everything.”

I now use the term Backpack more often but I haven’t been able to say the term Rucksack, it is just odd to me. I really miss my knapsack days.

10. May 2 – 4 Weekend

Our favourite holiday is Queen Victoria’s Birthday on May 24th. Not because it is the Queens birthday. It is because it is a holiday to celebrate our great Canadian Beer. We all call it May 2-4 Weekend, because that is exactly what we do on long weekends.

We grab a 2-4 of beer and go to the cottage up north to work on our “Molson Muscle.” A Molson Muscle is our endearing term for the beer bellies we have developed over years of drinking Molson Canadian Beer. Yee Haw

11. Chocolate Bar

canadian sayings food
Our Canadian word for candy bar – Chocolate Bar

Canadians call our Candy Bars Chocolate Bars and I like it like that. That is what they are made out of. Chocolate, therefore they should be called chocolate bars. I rest my case.

A very typical Canadian chocolate bar is a coffee crisp. We have a commercial where the announcer asks, “How do you like your coffee?” Naturally, we like our “coffee” “crisp”.

Here’s a fast fact. Canada has its own version of M&M. We call them Smarties and we like to eat the red ones last.

12. Chinook

canadian phrases chinook
A chinook explained by the Weather Network

I had heard this word as a child. Being born in Alberta, Canada my parents often talked about Chinooks blowing in from the mountains and how nice it was. I had no idea what this meant until I was older.

A Chinook is quite amazing actually. I learned today on the CBC that it is an Inuit word for “The snow that melts.” What a Chinook is, is a warm wind that comes over the mountain in the dead of winter and instantly melts the snow and raises the temperature.

It is needed because Alberta can be extremely cold in the winter. We’ve experienced winter in Alberta and trust me, it’s cold. My mom and dad love to tell the story of a pair of boots that my grandmother sent to them to keep warm in the winter. Well, my dad wore them out on one cattle drive (my dad was a rancher) and it was so cold that his boots cracked right open and shattered. They didn’t have Gortex then. And that is why everyone wore leather in Alberta.

14. Out and About Not Oot and Aboot

dave and deb
no, we don’t say oot and aboot

No, we don’t say aboot. If I hear one more person say “Oh your Canadian, do you go oot and aboot?” I’m going to sock it to em in the nose. Canadian’s don’t say about. However we do say About different from Americans. Americans say About like it is A-Baow-T with a more open ah sound. We say it more like A-boat. And I like the way we say about.Canadians should start embracing the way we say about. It’s lovely.

Why people think we say aboot is beyond me. But if you really want to delve into the reasoning for the difference. Check out Grammar Girl. She explains the diphthong differences eloquently here. 

The American pronunciation is more like a-bow-t. (as in take a bow)

15. Zed

I know our American friends rhyme the alphabet and sing x, y, zee, but we say Zed. It doesn’t have the same zing when singing the alphabet song, but we do stick with zed. I used to drive a Zed 28 car. American’s called it Zee 28 and that’s just weird. But we do call ZZ Top Zee Zee Top, that would just be wrong to change their name.

So there you have it.

Can you think of any other Canadian sayings that are unique to your region or the country? Tell us some words unique to your country, we want to hear them.

If you enjoyed these Canadian sayings and Canadian slang terms, save this to Pinterest for future vocabulary fun!

canadian sayings and canadian slang

For more fun Canadian Facts check out

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About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

Leave a Comment

183 thoughts on “Canadian Slang, Unique Phrases and Canadian Sayings”

  1. Agree with others that “Eh” is overblown, same with “oout and aboot”. Some people have it more (those more isolated) and some use it as a source of distinction, but it’s not an everyday thing and is fading.

    Certain pronounciations are a giveaway, such as “pro-cess” instead of “proc-ess”, the fast “sorry”, almost “surry” instead of the louder “SOR-RY”.

    Forms of politeness, Canadian commentators will always call them Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Biden, never just Trudeau and Biden.

    One important slang that was missed, “Klicks” for kilometres.

  2. I’m a proud Canadian living in California and in the process of opening a Canadian eatery I am calling “Canadian, Eh? Cafe” People always ask me what or how is Canadian food different than American. Quite simply Canada is much like America, a giant crock pot of diversity. I will be cooking up all the great foods I grew up with. Influences of Ukranian, French, Polish, German, Mi’kmaq, and Danish inspired North Atlantic treats.

  3. •Canadians say Out and About and House just exactly as United Statesians from Roanoke Virginia say it.
    • Right you are about Washroom vs Toilet . I like Washroom but also call it a Lavatory. Many Usonians call it a Bathroom but withno bath available whatsoever.
    Great article

  4. So tired of the “eh” nonsense. Yes, we use it to elicit agreement sometimes, but we do not all use it constantly and ridiculously as do the “Canadian icons Bob and Doug Mackenzie” We are not all “red-necks”.

  5. Fun read thanks! I can think of some additional foods and expressions that are distinctly Canadian that visitors might not know:

    Butter Tart
    Nanaimo Bar
    Bags of milk
    Pop instead of soda
    Ketchup Chips
    Clicks (distance)
    Kerfuffle (commotion)
    For sure
    Homo milk
    Brown bread
    Girl Guides
    Muskoka Chair
    Track pants
    Postal code
    Crispy Crunch
    5-pin bowling

    • Agree with most, would add All-Dressed Chips. Elastic is also commonly used in the New England states. Pop v Soda varies greatly across the US. It’s always Pop in the Midwest. Living just on the American side of the border and having gone back and forth for 60 years I know them all and have fun confusing American friends from further away.

  6. A ‘half-sack’ of beer is half a dozen. ‘Pop’ for soft drink or soda. ‘The Rock’ for Vancouver Island, as in “I’m getting off The Rock this weekend.”

  7. I’m American but my parents are from Canada and I went to grade school in that country. Most people not from Canada can figure out what most of the slang means. I will point out that, while people in Alberta do not say “aboot”, people in eastern Canada do.

    Funny list.

  8. I once used the word serviette (not sure if I’m spelling it correctly) while in the US and the lady at the counter said you must be from Canada because we say napkin.

  9. Distinctly Canadian words: Jagged pronounced JAGD as in ‘tagged’.
    He became visibly jagged when he missed his flight.
    I’ve used it for years, but can’t find it in any dictionary, so it must be ours.
    I’ve tested it with friends and everyone agrees – it is pronounced JAGD not JAG ed as in the adjective.

  10. Ha! I always say Zed Zed Top & La-Zed-Boy just so people realise how silly it is to make zee rhyme with vee in the alphabet!! Sadly, I’ve noticed far too many Canadians using zee, probably from having watched so much American TV, & they don’t even seem to be aware of zed. CBC Q’s host Tom Power is a notable traitor that way, he boasts about saying zee, when he ought to be ashamed for promoting it on national radio. Indeed, I think there ought to be a law against Canadian broadcasters ever saying zee!

  11. We have Chinook winds in here in Alaska, though not so much here in Fairbanks. And yeah, it definitely gets *cold* here…coldest recorded temperature was -80 F, set back in Camp Prospect in January 1971. Alaska’s coldest high temperature was -66 F the next day in Allakaket. This year has been a bit warm…I’ve seen it down to -35 F here in “the ‘banks” and up to +35 F just within the past couple days (it’s 2022-02-27 today) — a “heatwave”. 😛

    I think in some ways, Alaska and Canada are very similar and quite different in others. 🙂

  12. As a Brit. I find a lot of this familiar. We say zed, we have smarties, knapsacks (though back pack is probably more common) and chocolate bars. As for “oot and aboot”, it may not be Canadian but it is pure Scottish. Incidentally, anyone wanting a primer is Scots, I recommend watching Rab C Nesbitt on Youtube.

  13. In The Republic of Doyle TV series, they quite often refer to others as “by”. Does that mean ‘brother’, ‘buddy’, or what??

  14. I would correct your comment regarding where Canadians buy their beer. Ontario has the Beer Store. However other provinces have different arrangments. BC has only the provincial-regulated and privately owned liquor stores, both of which have beer; there are no separate beer-only stores. Another idiom that confuses Canadians from other provinces than Ontario, is ordering ‘Regular’ coffee (one cream, one sugar); in my experience, Ontario Tim’s locations seem to be the only ones that operate that way.

  15. It is very typical for a Canadian to say I need to use the ‘can’ in reference to washroom. In fact I hear that more often than washroom. In exploring where the expression can came from, it stemmed back from people from the 70’s era that would have to pee while at a drive in. They didn’t want to miss the movie so they would use (the males) an empty can of soda and pee into it. Hence the can.

    • I was staying in Alberta earlier this year and never once heard can used, but washroom was used not only exclusively, but actually written above public toilet entrances and on directional signs too.

      • That’s because “use the can” is vulgar; the only people in Canada who you’d probably hear saying it would be teenage boys, if that. I’m not saying Canadians can’t be vulgar or crude, but Canada doesn’t quite have that raunch culture element that America does (and I’m glad of that). Even our swearing is tamer – we typically only swear if we’re angry (or drunk), and the only people in my eastern Canadian home who ever swear around minors are bitter old curmudgeons and weird jerks on the public transit. Of course this is changing with the influx of social media… just last week at the Halifax Shopping Centre, I saw a girl with a crop top that had bedazzled letters spelling out the words “I have anxiety and sh!t”, in full view of little kids at the food court. Or shot glasses at Spencer’s that have the phrase “legalize eating *ss” printed on them… but Spencer’s has always been a rude, greasy-looking store, anyway. That’s not Canada talking there.

  16. Hi,
    I came across the word “elastic”. When in the states, I was needing some elastics and we had quite a time trying to explain what an elastic is. They call them rubber bands! Ahhha! It’s funny how something so commonplace to us became such an ordeal to figure out.
    Another word we use here in Alberta is “vendors”. It refers to the liquor vendors store shortened to just the vendors here. We’d use it as…heading to the vendors, want anything?
    BTW…I use the term washroom all the time

  17. Really enjoyed your blog about the slang of Canada. You asked about more slang. Here’s one.
    You can always identify a Canadian by the way they use the word “University”. Canadians will say “I’m going to University”. (Lol I hope I got that right.). In the US, you’d never use the word this way. It might be “I go to the U of R”. Or I’m getting my degree from Ohio State. Or “I’m a student at the university of Cincinnati”. But when you hear someone use the word as “I’m finishing university”, it’s a clear tell that they are from Canada. That’s interesting eh? 😉

    • I have friends in Ukraine who use “college” to mean they have a two-year (Associate) degree and “university to mean they have a four-year (Bachelor) degree — I think that’s the norm for the FSU counties. In the US, “college” and “university” can mean the same thing since a university is a “universe of colleges”.

  18. “Washroom”? Huh…? I’m in Canada (40+ years), and we don’t use that here. Besides, I don’t go there to wash. We say toilet (that’s not vulgar, it’s simply a more accurate noun).

    • I have lived in Ontario, BC and presently Alberta and I never hear people say “where is the toilet”, its usually washroom or bathroom. 😉

    • I’ll respectfully disagree. 99% of Canadians will use ‘washroom’ or ‘bathroom’, but very rarely will they use ‘toilet.’
      And yes, after you answer nature’s call, you do go there to wash, hopefully.

    • I have literally never heard a Canadian use “toilet”. I have mostly heard Europeans call it that. Washroom is so exclusively used that I have heard people from outside of Canada point it out. Not sure what part of Canada you live but this is ABSOLUTELY very Canadian and very prominent.

  19. What about sorry? Canadians (or at least southern Ontarians) say it like soe-ry and I know that some other places say it like sah-ry.

  20. Twenty-six’er, by the way – don’t just stop at the 2-6. And another one is “parkade” for a parking deck. My friend asked me “What’s that? Do they serve ice-cream?” Another funny one – a grader/back hoe. That seems to be only in Canada. Can’t figure out what it is in the South, but how would you pick up snow anyways without a back-hoe? On the West Coast, a few words mixed in from Indigenous trade languages – chuck for the ocean, Skookum for pretty big, pretty neat. One more – a crummy. Can’t go to work if you don’t have a crummy!

  21. When we were in Virginia a few years ago I asked our host as we were reading the daily newspaper if I could see the “funnies”. He had never heard that expression before!

    • I’m guessing that was a one off. Although it’s very possible that young people don’t use it anymore, when I was growing up in virginia, we always called them the funnies. And I believe my grandparents in kansas also used to call them that.

  22. I am not sure if it’s Canadian slang or
    Not haven’t heard It elsewhere,
    the word is tad. “Just a tad”, you you like some dessert? Sure but just a tad (small amount).

  23. Is “you do you” Canadian slang or American? I can’t say I’ve heard the phrase while I lived in the US west coast. However, I sure have heard this in Burrrrtaa (Alberta)! LOL 🙂

  24. How about some French words that are spoken by English speakers. Maybe it is only in Quebec, Are they?
    Depaneur – Convenience store
    Macdo – Short name for McDonald
    Regie – I have heard this from many English speakers, I went to the regie web site (government agency)

    • Interesting. I’ve never heard a Canadian use this phrase. I’ve heard James Cagney use it in an old movie, so I think it must have been common in the States in the 30’s or 40’s.

  25. Okay, so my question is some what related to this topic, but not exactly. I watch several Canadian YouTuber’s and have always wondered why they leave certain small words out of certain statements. For example, I watch a handful of people who start off their videos by saying, ” Hey guys! Welcome back my channel!” Where in the US, we would say, “Hey guys! Welcome back to my channel!” Another one would be, “When I’m done this show or when I’m done this product.”, etc. Where as an American would insert the word “with”, “When I’m done with this show or with this product.” I’ve always been curious. Hopefully that all made sense. Thanks!

  26. Can someone explain to me the reason for the cultural fascination that affluent Québécois have with wanting to have back yard swimming pools? This is absolutely not a stereotype or misconception, you can verify this yourself with google earths aerial photography. I can find streets in places like Laval where every home has a swimming pool. I know you’re not leaving them to freeze for hockey rinks in the winter, that won’t work! Maybe it’s just having to make every second of summer count because winter is so brutal?

    • Actually, many parts of Canada can get extremely warm summers that mimic tropical heat. Toronto even gets heatwaves! This can last from late April to early September, fluctuating of course, but definitely cause for a swimming pool. Many affluent Canadians love their swimming pools. As the beaches are increasingly polluted with dogs and tourists and smartphone cameras, pools are getting to be even more popular than ever. For those of us non-affluent hosers, we have to settle for the ever-popular above-grounder that sticks up a few feet and has no true foundation or base.

  27. In ‘MY Boy is dead’, a moving poem by tour great WW1 poet H Smalley-Sarson, I read this line :
    ‘THe day he got his Blue’.
    Does it refer to a diplma at the uned of University ?
    SOS I am translating WW1 poems by Canadians, soldiers or civilians …

    Thank you very much

    • Hi Virey, I am not sure what that means, I’d have to see more of the poem in context. I am thinking that perhaps it is a uniform?

  28. 19 million Canadians, or 57% of the population; the remainder of the population were native speakers of Canadian French (22%) others languages 4] A larger number, 28 million people, reported using English as their dominant language.[5] 82% of Canadians outside the province of Quebec reported speaking English natively, but with in Quebec the figure was just 7.7% as most of its residents are native speakers of Quebec French.[6] which Canadians and Americans themselves can their own two accents,[7] mostly sometime Western American English and California English, for example) is under going the Canadian Vowel Shift that was first reported in mainland Canadian English in the early 1990s?

  29. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious – Although it is a manufactured made up word, it is Canada in a nutshell. This tongued twister word is made from the hit Hollywood musical, Marry Poppins. Although no country is perfect, and Canada has its share of domestic problems, like others, it is still one of the best on planet earth.

  30. “Wizard” I’s used as an adjective here in Canada, and I saw a movie where someone’s neibour commented, “that’s wizard”, like he was saying that it was cool.

  31. not, sure if I read everything above, all good. My younger life, mostly from Hamilton and Toronto. Some that come to mind – Canadian or not – “chew the fat”, “don’t know me from Adam”, “Fizz-Bang” for canned pop, interesting for its reverse melody, The Beer Store itself surprised the heck out of me after many years absence, and that certainly was derived from local slang – power to the people.

    All these phrases start somewhere (sometimes, like good ideas, they might pop up simultaneously in a population pressed by the same daily stresses), one of my own concoctions was slender vittles for tall lanky women. Did it get around I wonder ??

    There was this Frenchman from Quebec who liked to say something like “Batoime !” when he was surprised but something, said it was a family expression…

    Toilet is everywhere in Japan, but it’s more than just the signage, people say it out loud at the restaurant with no regards for any apropos feeling. My Canadian squeamishness is long gone now of course. Many of the above I had forgotten, but they come flooding back.

    Today I came across a 1967 high school year book photo of graduates. One fellow was described as a “Canadian Baby”, maybe a typical personal crack, not the photography company which apparently started in 1965. Any ideas ?

    • I love this! Thanks for sharing Robert and I totally know all of them. I’m definitely one to say, “don’t know me from Adam” And I love the Beer Store. We always joke that in Ontario we get our beer and the beer store, liquor at the liquor store and when growing up we got our pop from the pop shop! I don’t know about Canadian Baby.

    • The US has always had dill pickle chips and has had all dressed for about 5 or 6 years now. They also have ketchup chips in some markets.

  32. I like the post, I just might find some problems with the picture. The hat is an "ushanka" and the beer from the US.

  33. Canadians would say Grade X instead of Xth Grade.
    “I’m in grade 12”, said the Canadian. “12th grade is hard”, said the American.

    And I know in the US, students will identify themselves as a Senior, or Sophmore. Whereas in Canada, we would call ourselves a Grade 12 or Grade 10 student. Or when in university, a 1st year or 2nd year student. And speaking of post-secondary education, in Canada, there’s a clear distinction between universities and colleges. I know in the States, universities are often called colleges. And what we call colleges are their community colleges.

    For pronunciation, more Canadians would say AN-TEE instead of AN-TIE in words like anti-biotics. Canadians would also pronounce the past tense of shine (shone) to rhyme with “dawn” versus the American “bone”. And for the word route, Canadians would often pronounce it like “root”. We would pronounce leisure to rhyme with “seizure” (Americans would rhyme it with “measure”). There is virtually no pronunciation differences between “cot” and “caught” when said by a Canadian. But when an American pronounces those words, there is a huge difference. Same with merry, Mary, and marry.

  34. Another Canadian word: Shed>>> pertains to any small building outside a larger dwelling….this word often used in the East Coast of Canada.

  35. So I’m Canadian as well, Ontario raised.
    We used knapsack as well, but also used the other terms.

    Knapsack = small daypack for carrying only enough for the day. maybe schoolbooks.
    Backpack = Soft bodied, the same or a bit larger than a knapsack. Often used for multi-day trips or short hikes.
    Rucksack = Rugged pack for hiking and carrying equipment. Usually on a rigid frame. Often used by canadian soldiers.

  36. What about the old Zed and Zee. My husband will occasionaly say Zee (too much American Tv, I guess)and I always correct him. I heard Americans don’t have a word for slush and don’t use the word toboggan.

    • The thing about zed and zee is it makes more sense to pronounce it ‘zee’ when singing the alphabet song, otherwise it sounds ridiculous.

  37. Hi. In Alberta the Convenience stores or corner stores used to be called Confectionary. They are changing to convenience stores, but in small town Alberta you will still see a Confectionary store.

    • Ah yes, I remember the confectionary store. I think I’ll head over to one today to get myself some sasparilla:)

  38. Chesterfield! Where I grew up the piece of furniture commonly called a couch/sofa was always referred to as the chesterfield. I’m told it’s a Canadian thing. I’ve certainly been greeted with baffled expressions anytime I slip up and say that abroad.

    • I remember ‘chesterfield’ from my early childhood in the 70’s. I think most Canadians would call it a ‘couch’ today, certainly not ‘sofa’.

  39. I use the words hassock instead of ottoman, and quiggley hole when the kids dig huge holes in the yard and I’m not sure about these one’s but i use them too whipper snipper or rumpus room for the basement?

    • Whipper snipper! My family always used that word for a weed wacker. Not all Canadians use it but I’ve only ever heard Canadians say it. Meaning, Americans don’t say whipper snipper.

  40. Just a note on pronunciation. Americans often make fun of Canadians for saying “aboot” rather than “about.” Close, but we actually pronounce it “aboat.”

    • Oh yes, it’s a living room. Do other people say den and family room? We’re definitely living room people. During the Mongol Rally our team mates were American and they asked us why we kept saying clicks. I didn’t realize that it was a Canadian thing. We say only 50 clicks to go. Kilometers has too many syllables )

      • A living room, family room, and den, are three different types of rooms. A living room (sometimes called a sitting room) is more formal, for entertaining guests; a family room is for only the family (more private or relaxed); a den is a smallish room, usually with comfortable sitting chairs, a desk, book shelves, and maybe a fireplace.

        I served in the US military and we use “clicks” for two things: kilometers and rifle scopes (like, “increase your MOA a half click”).

  41. I don’t know if it’s uniquely Canadian but I’ve heard clicks used quite a bit instead of kilometres. As in, “that car got up to 100 clicks.”

    • I just replied about this on another comment but I think you are right. We drove from England to Mongolia with two Americans and they had never heard of the term clicks. Dave and I would say things like the next town is about 50 clicks away. Finally they said “Why do you say clicks” we replied “I don’t know. It’s just what we call km. Kilometers is pretty long when you think about it. Clicks is much better.

  42. Fun article – but many manyof the claims in the comments are not solely Canadian.
    Mickie is used a variety or places, though it is an older term that i’ve hear in old movies, Thong is used all the time in Australia and NZ, I nknow some Americans who say hoser, I heat take off all over the place, as with sasquatchm yak, francophone and Kraft Dinner… though a lot of people have also taken to calling it KD.
    Or maybe Canadian influence is just starting to spread…?

    There’s a lto of word also that i hear all the time here, and not just in the US or elsewhere. Dinner, backpack, Robe (my household says robe, but others respond with Ooohh.. you mean a house coat?) taking a shower, and a nap.

    And i notice that those of us who lived in northern ON say packsack…but no one else does! Is there anywhere else in Canada that also says this??
    I also remember that the term “sled” was not a toboggan, but a ski-do. And what about crazy carpet? Oh the numerous words we have for our winter supplies…

    • Thanks for all the input, awesome additions. I have heard other people say packsack before and ski do is the word we use for snowmobile. As far as Hoser goes, that is definitely a Canadian influence spreading. Bob and Doug Mackenzie made it famous in the 70’s and it ended up taking of eh.

  43. Just wanted to wish everyone a great Christmas this year. It’s been pretty cold in Scotland but I hear it’s nothing compared to Edmonton’s weather.

  44. Just want to say your article is as amazing. The clearness to your submit is just spectacular and that i can suppose you are a professional in this subject. Well with your permission allow me to take hold of your RSS feed to keep updated with drawing close post. Thanks a million and please keep up the gratifying work.

  45. Ha, love this! We have Toffee Crisps here (must be close) and Smarties too, but can’t remember the last time I saw them on sale…. What about deep fried pickles? Only seen those in Alberta. And let’s not forget donairs! Anyways… 😉

    • I forgot about Toffee Crisps. I didn’t think that they made those anymore! Deep fried pickles eh, that is one that I have not tried, it is amazing what you can learn from people visiting your own country. You are more observant than us! Thanks.

  46. I love this post! Great job! I have also recognized that People in America often call supper, dinner. Some people in Canada call it Dinner, but not as often.
    One word that is mostly only used in SK, is BunnyHug. It’s basically just a hoodie!

  47. Don’t forget the iconic Nova Scotia toast “sociable”! Works best with an Alexander Keith’s India Pale Ale in hand. No Canadian party is complete without it.

    • Excellent suggestions! We love Keith’s it is one of our favourite beers. We get a lot of flack due to the fact that we’re drinking Miller in the photograph:)

  48. and idk of candians pronouce it the same way but in northern us. states like pennsylvania, new york and maryland they pronounce “water” as “Wo-der” and in the southern states like florida , georgia and alabama we say “Wa-ter” even though its the same word “Water”

    • Hi Dante, I don’t know if these guys are commenting here anymore, but this is a blog about “Canadian” things. When Canadians use the word “Poke” it means just that. He poked me in the eye. Canadians do pronounce the “R” in Pork. There you have it.

      • Thanks k.c. yes, I think that Dante may have thought this was about words in general, which is ok with us. Always fun to hear about what is different in each country and area that they live in.

  49. dont use the word B’Y in america dont forget if its pronounced “bi” , in america that term is short for bisexual (person who is attracted to both genders) =] so becareful with that word in america newfies… btw idk if u guys use it but in my island region in the florida keys we use “O” instead of “or” like EX: would you like a coke “O” some pepsi?… we also use “Pok” kinda like “pork” but just take the are away we use it to refer to pig products like bacon and porkchops EX: would you like some “Pok” for breakfast? EX 2: would u like some “Pok” for dinner? like i cant explain explain exactly how to understand it its just something you have to have grown up using to understand exactly which product someone is talking about

    • From a fellow Canadian residing temporarily in the U.S., Smarties in the U.S. are not the same. They have no chocolate in them. They are much like our “lovehearts” candy.
      Emjoying your blog, thanks.

      • Ah, that explains it. I have heard Americans say that they don’t like Smarties and I can’t understand why. Now we know, ours are just better in Canada. Cheers!

    • Specifically, in Canada, Smarties are a version of the M&M. In the US, what they call Smarties, we call Rockets.

  50. I got a few words which aren’t on here: Cowtown, Bytown, Canuck, Mickie, Hoser, two-six, cherry picker, puck bunny,francophone, allophone, coulee and yak 🙂 Canada Kicks Ass!!

    • Thanks for the additions. Mickie-I think we are the only ones that call the small bottle of booze a mickie..good one. I don’t know two-six, what is it used for. Allophone is new to me too and so is coulee. You’ve given me some homework. And I agree, we do kick ass don’t we:-)

      • A two-six is 26 ounces of hard liquor, an allophone is a resident whose first language is not English or French and a coulee is a valley. There’s also prairie oysters which are a bull’s casterated testicles (sounds gross, I know), sasquatch which is like a yeti, thong which is slang for flip-flops or sandels and I think the former name of Toronto is Motown so yeah, there’s another one lol. I actually live in Scotland but I have Canadian relatives on my dad’s side and I’d move there in a heartbeat. It’s one place in the world where you can find equality and freedom of speech. Plus, it is the most beautiful country. What’s not to love, eh? 🙂

      • PS, the former name of Toronto is Hogtown and not Motown. I don’t know what I was thinking of hahah

  51. A Canadian Moment, Tuque, Beer, Winter????? You should be ashamed of yourself!!!!!!! Drinking Miller you pussy!!!!! Get some good Canadian beer and then think about calling yourself a Canadian man!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  52. Ah, but you’re wrong on one count – we also call it a washroom in the U.S., at least where I grew up in the Midwest. I also just recently realize that they call it a toilet around most of the rest of the world, including Australia. I was told by an Aussie that they never correct us because they can figure out what we mean, but to them it’s a toilet. The little things you’d never know if you didn’t travel!

    • Ah interesting. I thought that the US called it a bathroom and a restroom. Good to know that we have similar tastes when it comes to our toilet chat:)

  53. Buttertarts are Canadian and the term ‘courier’ eg, FedEx, etc. Having worked in NYC, I was surprised how many unique Canadian words and references exist. I thought it was hilarious that toque is a ‘ski cap’ in the States. A ski cap? Please!

  54. Housecoat

    others say Robe

    Jesus Murphey– we all say it.. “look ma, the neighbors walking around in his underwear” “Jesus Murphey!”

    mickey, bottle of liquor (13oz)


    “Take Off” instead of “Get Lost”.

    chesterfield: a sofa or couch

    fire hall: fire station

    • I use all of those except for “take off”. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve heard too many people use that one except when mimicking Bob & Doug (which, admittedly, people do a lot).

      Where I grew up, the kids played “Hide and Go”, not “Hide and Seek”.

  55. My wife and I are getting ready to move to Canada after leaving 5 years ago. I’m Canadain and she’s “merican”. I explained that once she gets there, she’ll have to learn Canadian and she could then say that she’s bilingual. “Y’all going to lunch, eh”. Wonder if she put that she’s bilingual on her resume. lol

  56. I’ve got a few more for you guys.
    Pencil Crayons – coloured pencils (also only we spell colour with a “u”).
    Farmers Tan – a tan that stops just below your shoulder due to wearing t-shirts too much.
    Kraft Dinner – macaroni and cheese.
    Naniamo Bar (obviously) – basically a chocolate sandwich with some kind of wierd cream in the middle (it is so good).
    Fire Hall – I guess other people may call it a fire station but I’m not sure.

    I got all of these off another website so they may not be true (I just assumed).

  57. I’m from Malaysia but I studied and live in Washington A.C. Yes, not D.C. This is the state of Washington, Above California. And I love to converse with my college mates from up north British Columbia and Alberta, just to listen to them use the ‘eh’ word. I used that a lot even after I graduated.

    It’s similar to a very Malaysian word ‘lah’ which we add to everything we say. For example, if we disagree, we’ll say “no lah”. Instead of saying “Let’s go!”, we say “let’s go lah”. It softens the expression and instead of it sounding like a command, it becomes more like a persuasion. So, come lah, come visit Malaysia and see for yourself. 😉

  58. I think pilon is a Canadian word. You know, the usually orange cone things used for construction and sports. When I was in the southern US and said pilon, no one knew what I meant. They all said cone. When I hear ‘cone’ I think of an icecream cone.

    • Great suggestion. I didn’t know that Americans didn’t call it a Pilon. I wonder if anyone else in the world calls it a pilon or is it just we Canadians?

      • its so cool looking at how different we use slang :’) over here in england the younger generation calls them traffic cones and the older generation call them pilons, reading your blog has been really interesting! 🙂

  59. How about:
    “I am sorry” – The original Canadian phrase we use all the time (trust me I have been to places where people will slam into you and walk away like you were a pilon.
    Canuck – though the term will probably be more of how others call us.
    “Beaver tail” – 😀

    There are probably more but so far I can not think of any

    • Rado, so true. We catch ourselves saying it all the time. And wish sometimes others would say it just a little bit. Thanks for the input.

  60. CHESTERFIELD!!!! My parents always used the term chesterfield instead of couch/sofa

    POP…i dunno if this is accurate but i notice most americans and ppl from other countries call it soda…POP!

    Thats enough from me….think im gonna go relax on the chesterfield with a pop.


    • You are so right. Soda is what others call it, Canadians call it pop. Chesterfield, that is a good one, I forgot about that one. Thanks for the imput!

      • That’s cool Mel, I didn’t realize that it was called pop in Kansas. I agree, soda is weird to my ears.

    • Just ran across this article and had to respond to “pop”. While I know it is used in at least Ontario (where I have family), it originated in Detroit, where I’m from. Midwesterners call in pop, East Coast/West Coast call it soda, and Southerners call in coke (i.e. a Coke-Cola or a Pespi coke).

      • Thanks for the information Zach. I didn’t realize it originated in Detroit, however I have heard a lot of people from Michigan say pop too so that explains it!

    • Hi Person, it can be spelled both ways, tuque or toque. Tuque is the French spelling but the English have adopted Toque and even Touque. Since it is pronounced “tewk” we like spelling it the French way since it looks more like the way it is pronounced. When I see toque, it makes me think that it is pronounced more like Toke, or took. But you are right, either way is the proper spelling.

    • Hi John, We call our dinner supper a lot as well. I didn’t think of that one. And hoser is a popular one as well. I love that we use two-four when buying beer, it is just so Canadian.

      • my grandma also calls couches CHESTERFIELDS!

        the other thing – small difference – im canadian living in the US and people make fun of me for saying “I’m having a shower” or “I’m gonna have a nap” – they only use “taking” for showers and naps.

        good one on knapsack!!

        Another is using the word “line-up” as a noun. Most Americans just “lines”

      • Very true, we have definitely heard the term chesterfield a lot. I didn’t realize that Americans say, taking a shower. I’m with you, I’m having a nap and a shower:)

  61. Hahaha, there’s also several ways you can use it. For example, you can use it when something is incredulous. If your friends say something surprising, spring a “OHHH YIS B’Y!” on them. They’ll love it.

    Also works as “you’re an idiot”, but use a different tone. Damn. I should a make a video of this. 😉
    .-= Candice´s last blog ..Three-line book review: “Stardust” – Neil Gaiman =-.

  62. Lol! Well, with you swearing by them I’ll give them a shot next time I make it up that way; perhaps it’s like Coke, a different formula overseas 🙂
    .-= Shannon OD´s last blog ..A Little Warmth…A Wee Bit of Irish Hospitality =-.

  63. How fun! Will be great to throw out a couple of these when I make it up that way. A couple of Canadians I met in Ireland last month used “eh” ALL the time, I’m sorry, but I couldn’t help but snicker! 🙂 Also, I have to disagree on the smarties…they had these abroad and I wasn’t overly impressed, I’ll take my M&Ms!!! 😉
    .-= Shannon OD´s last blog ..A Little Warmth…A Wee Bit of Irish Hospitality =-.

    • Ah! our Beloved Smarties, how could you Shannon??? (I’m just kidding) I didn’t know that they had them abroad. Something tells me that they just don’t make them as well as they do here:-) I do love M&M’s too.

      • Smarties were introduced by Rowntree of York in 1882. A popular sugar-coated chocolate confectionery available in Europe and the Commonwealth of Nations but not the USA. they were described as “chocolate beans”.

      • Just to confuse the issue further, in America they have candies called Smarties, but they are what we call Rockets in Canada — those sourish compressed sugar discs that come in rolls. So it’s possible to have a conversation with an American and think you’re talking about the same thing, when in fact it’s two completely different types of candy!

        And Canadian company Ganong claims to have invented to chocolate bar,so I think that give our name precedence, don’t you?

        Geez, I’m strangely authoritative about candy. I wonder if that has any correlation to the size of my waistline.

      • haha, thanks Steph. I didn’t know that there was an American Smarties. The things you learn on a travel blog:)

    • Thanks Candice, I am going to start using B’y. I have some friends from Newfoundland, so I think that I can hear the accent as I am thinking about how to say it:) Nice!

  64. I just saw a comment on digg and they are soooo right. I forgot all about the word “pop” Americans call it soda and that just sounds strange to we Canadians. We say “do you wanna pop?”

    • I stumbled on this doing research on the usage of the word “pop”. To say that all American’s call it “soda” is grossly inaccurate. The word “pop” to refer to what we know as “soft drinks” is traceable back to Faygo, a Detroit, Michigan company. Because of that, many Michiganders and people from the upper Midwest say Pop. In America, Soda is more prevalent in the West Coast and the Eastern Seaboard. Whereas, in the South, Coke has become the generic term for all soft drinks, regardless of brand. However, there is no real geographic boundary of usage. All examples can be found pretty much anywhere in America. Long story short, Pop is not just a Canadian phenomena. 🙂

  65. Awesome! Hahaha. This post is hilarious. I’d like to do one just for Newfoundland words. I was stunned when my solder friend told me that there’s a Tim Horton’s at his base in Afghanistan, he even took some pics for me.

    Some additional comments from this Newfie…try adding some turkey dressing to your poutine. Seriously. It’s delicious. In these parts, we also have chips flavoured like Roast Chicken and Fries and Gravy, and soft drinks like Pineapple Crush.

    We also use the word “b’y” instead of “eh.” It’s kinda like a term of endearment, “Whatta ya at, b’y?” As in “What’s up, friend?”
    .-= Candice´s last blog ..Lend me your ears. Or brains. =-.

    • Hi Candice, Thanks for the Newfoundland words. How do you pronounce b’y? Is there a way to write it phonetically? Mmm, Pineapple Crush sounds great and I believe you, Turkey dressing sounds like it would be a nice addition to poutine!

      • Hi Dave
        b’y is pronounced like bye with a short e (not pronounced haha)there is also a nice mix of “eh b’y”

  66. Very funny. I could have used this a few years ago when we lived in Prague. I shared an office with a Canadian and my husband did consulting for a Canadian-owned mobile phone company. Perhaps you could offer cross-cultural courses around the world for Canadian companies 🙂

    • Excellent contributions Carolyn. I didn’t know that garburator was Canadian or till, or writing exams. Huh, the things you learn writing a blog post:-)

  67. I’ve been so busy picking up (and writing about) words from different countries, that I realize I’ve forsaken my own Canadian heritage! I agree wholeheartedly on all the above terms (“toilet” sounds so much dirtier than “washroom”!), and will also say that I’ve brought Poutine to Australia, and they dig it here. (score! 1 for Canada! They also like pumpkin pie….that’s 2 for Canada!)

  68. Oooh, I’d have to do a more in-depth investigation on this one. Oh, I have one…serviette!! (oops, maybe the French use them, too?).
    I lived in the Philippines for 20 years. We called our washrooms there…comfort room!

    • Serviette! That is a good one, my family calls them that too, I didn’t think of that one. I kind of like comfort room. Are the washrooms comfortable in the Philippines?

  69. At last, I can dazzle my Canadian expat friends here in L.A. with my knowledge of “Loonies” — and I have you to thank!

    For the record, I grew up in Washington, D.C., and called a backpack a knapsack. So, I’ve got that going for me. If only I’d known I was mimicking Canadians, I could have had a much happier childhood.

    And lastly, I don’t know if you guys have a special name for Tim Horton’s doughnuts, but my husband would like to suggest, “Wonder rings of goodness.” Sure, it’s a long one…but pretty darn accurate.

  70. Hey guys! Fantastic post – Now that it’s summer I’m seeing more and more 40+ year old men mowing their lawn flexing that Molson Muscle like no other. A few days ago a friend and me spotted a guy going for a jog in some short shorts, rocking an Ipod & a very athletic Gut.

    I wrote a bit of a write up about you two on my blog as well, along with a link to this post. Any potential backpackers heading to Canada need to know a few of these sayings.

    Once again, keep up the good work.

    • Help “fellow Canadians”! (I am proudly “1/2 Canadian” – my Mom was born in 1915 in the small town of Vankleek Hill in NE Ontario. Her name was Pearl Victoria,and sha and my Grandpa Victor Blackwell, spoke a lot of unique phrases as I was growing up in central NY in the 50’s. He was a town blacksmith, along with his father William, in Van Kleek Hill, and continued the trade here in Manlius, when they emigrated in the 40’s. (My Mom pronounced it VAN Klee-kill) Are these phrases familiar to anyone? “By the great horned spoon,” you’ve grown so tall! I’m going out in the yard to talk to Ellen but we’ll only “bat the fat” for a few minutes. (It’s equivalent to the phrase “shoot the breeze” here.) My Mom would look at my dishevelled hair when I woke up, and she’d say to me I looked like “the Wreck of the Hesperus” – a ship that was mentioned in a poem. That’s it! Any of them familar to anyone? I’ve been ever-curious about them for years!! Thanks!

      • I’d been told I looked like “the wreck of the Hesperus” a couple of times too, although I’d forgotten about that one until you reminded me. So thanks! The other ones aren’t ringing a bell though, I’m afraid.