I was watching the CBC this morning and a great segment was featured about The Great Canadian Word. It got me thinking about people that come to Canada to travel. They must be pretty confused when we tell them that a “Coffee Crisp costs about a Loonie, pretty good deal eh?” We have some very unique words in Canada and if you really want enjoy yourself to the fullest while traveling this vast land, I recommend diving in and learning how to use a few of our more popular phrases.

Here are a few of the staple words used daily in Canada.

1. Eh: This is our most popular phrase that we receive the most flack about from the rest of the world. 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. 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 coming to Canada, you can practice your use of the word “eh” and fit right in once you get here.

2. Loonie: By far the silliest word for currency on the planet. When our one-dollar coin came out in the early nineties. Nobody really knew what to call it. You can’t exactly call it a dollar-bill any more, and a dollar coin just didn’t roll off of the tongue. Well, obviously a Loonie would be the next choice for a name. (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 it rhymes with loonie and we like things that rhyme.

3. 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. I watched Bob and Doug Mackenzie as a kid wearing their tuques telling each other to “Take Off Eh” and never thought anything of it. Then I started traveling and made statements like “Its cold tonight, I should have brought my tuque” People looked at me like I was from another planet. It is simple a tuque is a knitted hat used to keep the head warm. The Edge from U2 often wears a tuque and Jacques Cousteau always wore a tuque. Now you know.

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. I don’t think that I have ever heard the term washroom anywhere else except for Canada. In the U.S. They use bathroom, and restroom, I have seen water closet, the loo… But I never see washroom. I like washroom. I think I will keep using washroom.

5. Double Double: Ok, I could do an entire post on how Tim Hortons has shaped our coffee drinking as a nation. Mediocre coffee that we are all mysteriously addicted to. We have even opened a Tim Hortons in Afghanistan for our troops overseas. “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 2 creams and 2 sugars at Tim Horton Doughnuts. Yummy. Tim Hortons by the way was founded by hockey legend Tim Horton. We love our hockey almost as much as we love our Timmies.

For more fun Canadian Facts check out

6. 2-4. One of my favourite phrases that is uniquely Canadian. This is our phrase we use when we go to buy beer. I am going to get a 2-4 of Canadian at the Beer Store. 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.” 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. Grab a 2-4 of beer and go to the cottage 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!

7. Chinook: I had heard this word as a child. I was born in Alberta, and my parents would often talk about when the Chinooks would blow in and how nice it was. I had no idea what this meant until I was older. It 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. 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 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 my friends.

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

9. Knapsack: This is what we Canadians call our Backpack or Rucksack. To us it is a knapsack. 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. OK, food is an easy cop out:, but I need to round out my top 10 list of great Canadian Phrases. Plus you can read more about it in an article I wrote about Canada’s Lack of Cultural Food Identity. So here are a few popular food choices unique to Canada.

a: Smarties are Canada’s answer to M&M’s only better!

b: A Coffee Crisp is a chocolate bar is layered chocolate and wafers with a coffee cream centre. I eat mine in layers.

c: Poutine. Sinfully delicious. French Fries Topped with Cheese Curds and Gravy. I am hungry as I write this. And my personal favourite,

d: Dill Pickle, All Dressed and Ketchup Chips. I think the rest of the world is catching on, but as far as I know these two flavours are unique to Canada.

So there you have it.

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

A Canadian Moment, Tuque, Beer, Winter

A Canadian Moment, Tuque, Beer, Winter

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124 Comments

  1. Corbin at i backpack canada

    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.

    http://www.ibackpackcanada.com/2009/06/unique-canadian-words-phrases-planetd.html

    Once again, keep up the good work.

    1. Marcia Morris

      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!

      1. Owen

        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.

  2. Melanie@TravelsWithTwo

    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.

  3. jen laceda

    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!

    1. davendeb

      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?

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    1. davendeb

      Very true, but that is such a Canadian moment in it’s own way. Using an American product is very Canadian.

  5. Nora

    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!)

    1. davendeb

      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:-)

  6. Audrey

    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 :)

    1. davendeb

      Thanks for the addition to great Canadian Words Lucy, I have totally used Parkette before. Love it!

    2. davendeb

      We are learning so much. I use the word Parkette too and didn’t know it was from Ontario, our home Province.

    3. Kyle D

      no. i’m fluent in English & french. Parkette = Park , In French! I like in Ontario and never do we use that word.

  7. Candice

    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. =-.

    1. davendeb

      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!

      1. andrea

        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”

  8. davendeb

    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?”

    1. Sean N

      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. :-)

      1. Kira

        My dad’s family uses pop only when our aunt from Canada visits.

        We live in Wisconsin…you would be surprised how many people use “soda”, not “pop.”

    1. davendeb

      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!

  9. Shannon OD

    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 =-.

    1. davendeb

      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.

      1. John

        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”.

      2. Steph

        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.

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    1. davendeb

      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.

      1. canuck

        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”

      2. davendeb

        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:)

    1. davendeb

      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.

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  12. Melanie

    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.

    toodles!

    1. davendeb

      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!

      1. mel

        Everyone in Kansas calls it pop. I don’t hear anyone call it soda. That would be weird!

      2. davendeb

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

    2. Zach

      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).

      1. davendeb

        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!

  13. Rado

    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.
    Also:
    Canuck – though the term will probably be more of how others call us.
    “Beaver tail” – :D

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

    1. davendeb

      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.

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  16. Emily

    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.

    1. davendeb

      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?

      1. englishguest

        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! :)

  17. Tuck

    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. ;-)

  18. Micalishis

    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).

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  20. Norm

    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

  21. Austin

    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)

    Sketchy

    “Take Off” instead of “Get Lost”.

    chesterfield: a sofa or couch

    fire hall: fire station

    1. Andrew McIntosh

      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”.

  22. Andy B

    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!

  23. Barbara Weibel

    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!

    1. davendeb

      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:)

  24. NC-Canuck

    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!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. robertmurray

    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!!

    1. davendeb

      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:-)

      1. robertmurray

        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? :)

      2. robertmurray

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

      3. davendeb

        Haha, that sounds like something I would do. I often think one thing and then write another.

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    1. k.c.

      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.

      1. davendeb

        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!

  27. Dante

    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

  28. Dante

    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”

    1. k.c.

      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.

      1. davendeb

        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.

    1. davendeb

      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:)

  29. Guest

    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!

  30. Jools Stone

    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… ;)

    1. debndave Post author

      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.

  31. Andrew

    In Saskatchewan, people call hoodies “bunnyhugs”. I was in my 20s before I learned that was a Saskatchewan expression :S

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  33. robertmurray

    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.

  34. Sewbie

    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…

    1. debndave Post author

      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.

  35. Alouise

    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.”

    1. debndave Post author

      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.

    1. debndave Post author

      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 )

  36. Paulz

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

  37. charlene

    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?

    1. Emily

      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.

  38. Steph

    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.

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  40. Lynda

    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.

    1. debndave Post author

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

  41. Gail

    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.

  42. Brill

    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.

  43. Andrew

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

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  46. katherine

    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.

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