If you want to understand the sentence “Just went kitty-corner to spend my toonie on a double double” then you’ve come to the right place. Canada has an incredibly rich linguistic culture, with two official languages, English and French, and a population with over 200 mother tongues, including Mandarin, Cantonese, Punjabi, and Spanish – but with a bit of Canadian slang thrown in.
And, in honour of Canada’s 146th birthday today, we’ve compiled a list of truly Canadian slang words from ‘eh?’ to ‘zed.’
Toonie – A nickname for the $2 coin. Asides from a pun on its value ‘two’, it follows the cue of the Loonie, a nickname for the $1 coin which bears the image of the common loon.
Double Double – If you hear a Canadian say this, they are not repeating what they just said. They are simply ordering a coffee with two creams and two sugars from arguably the nation’s favourite coffee shop, Tim Hortons.
Toque – Pronounced /?to?k/, this is a knitted hat with a pom-pom on top, usually worn during the cold Canadian winters. Known as a ‘bobble hat’ in the UK, the word is actually Arabic in origin, meaning ’round.’
Kitty-corner – When two street corners are diagonally across from each other, they are ‘kitty-corner.’
Pencil crayon – Confusingly, nothing to do with a wax drawing tool, rather the term for ‘coloured pencils’ in Canada.
Pop – What most Canadians call a fizzy drink.
Chesterfield – Anyone from this English town may have been met with laughs if they tell a Canadian this is their hometown, as a chesterfield in Canada is another word for a sofa.
Washroom – If a Canadian tells you they are looking for the washroom, chances are they are not looking to have a shower. A washroom is another word for toilets in Canada.
Deke – A list of Canadian words wouldn’t be complete without one ice hockey-(or simply hockey, as they say in Canada) related term! A deke is a technique when a player gets past his/ her opponent by ‘faking it,’ the equivalent of a ‘dummy’ in football. The word is a short form of decoy.
Mountie – A nickname for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, originally established to patrol western Canada. You may recognise them by their Red Serge uniform and tan campaign hats.
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