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This article will explore a variety of expressions from Canada, encompassing familiar phrases related to food and drink, socializing, travel, and various everyday objects.

Were you aware that the beaver serves as Canada’s national emblem and also lends its name to a beloved dessert? Did you know that one of the Canadian provinces might be mistaken for two well-known dog breeds? Or that being familiar with “Larry and Rodger” can assist you in navigating and avoiding getting lost?

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The most popular Canadian sayings

If you’ve been participating in virtual English lessons with a Canadian instructor, we’ve compiled a list of the most frequently used Canadian expressions categorized below. This guide will aid in your comprehension of both your tutor and Canadian culture, although it’s important to note that regional variations may exist in Canadian slang.

Food and drink

  • Pop: A name for soda also used in the Midwestern United States.
  • Two-four: A case of twenty-four beers.
  • Timbits: Popular donut holes sold at Tim Hortons, the national coffee chain.
  • Double-double: A common coffee order, meaning double cream and double sugar.
  • Freezie: A frozen snack in a tube, similar to an Otter Pop in the United States.
  • Jambuster: A big, jam-filled donut.
  • KD: Kraft Dinner, a brand of premade macaroni and cheese.
  • Beaver tail: A snack made from fried dough covered in toppings, which references the beaver as the emblem of Canada.
  • Caesar: An alcoholic beverage made of tomato juice, hot sauce, Worchester sauce, and vodka.
  • Molson muscle: A Canadian saying for a beer belly, which comes from the popular Molson beer brand.

Places and traveling

  • Clicks: Canadian slang for kilometers.
  • Hang a Larry: To turn left (Larry, as in left).
  • Hang a Rodger: To turn right (Rodger, as in right).
  • Parkade: A multilevel parking garage.
  • Washroom: The Canadian word for restroom.
  • Dep: A convenience store.
  • The Rock: A fond term for the Newfoundland region due to its rocky cliffside.
  • Cowtown: Slang for Calgary, Alberta.
  • The 6ix: A modern phrase for the greater Toronto area that was coined by Drake and refers to the six boroughs of the city.
  • GTA: Greater Toronto Area.
  • Halifornia: A nickname for Halifax, which is sometimes abbreviated as Hali.
  • The Big Smoke: A nickname for Toronto, also known as Hog Town (due to the large processing plants for peameal bacon) and T.O.

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Common items

  • Darts: An alternative word for cigarettes.
  • Toque: A beanie worn in cold weather, often when skiing.
  • Runners: Another word for running shoes.
  • Joggers: An alternate slang for running shoes.
  • Chesterfield: An old-fashioned term for a sofa.
  • Serviette: French for “napkin”; most Canadians know at least a few French phrases and words due to the prominence of French in Quebec.
  • Loonie and toonie: One- and two-dollar Canadian coins.
  • Hydro: An electric bill from the power company (which is a hydraulic electric company).
  • Muskoka chair: A chair for outdoor use, known as an Adirondack chair in the United States.
  • Pencil crayons: The Canadian saying for colored pencils.

Conversation

  • Eh?: An almost reflective vocal tic for Canadians that is somewhat equivalent to “you know?” or “right?”
  • Fill your boots: A familiar way of telling someone to do as they please or another way to say, “Go right ahead.”
  • Chirping: Trash talk or mocking an opposing team.
  • Jesus Murphy: A tamer way of expressing emotion (instead of using “Jesus Christ”).
  • Skookum: Regionally specific dialogue from British Columbia that refers to anything fantastic.
  • That’s jokes: A Canadian expression to use when you think something is funny, possibly used in sarcasm.
  • Zed: A Canadian way of saying ‘z’ and one example of how Canadians often use British English.

People

  • Canuck: A Canadian.
  • Keener: Someone who is eager to please (the equivalent in the United States would be a brownnoser).
  • Puck bunny: A hockey fan.
  • Rink rat: Someone who spends all their time at the hockey rink.
  • Kerfuffle: A disagreement ranging from a mild to a full-out fight.
  • Blochead: Someone who speaks English exclusively.
  • Caper: Someone from the Nova Scotia town of Cape Breton.
  • Newfie: Someone from Newfoundland (in the United States, this term usually refers exclusively to dogs of a certain breed).
  • Grit: A member of the Liberal party in Canada.
  • Tory: A member of the Conservative party in Canada.
  • Greasy: An untrustworthy person.
  • Scivey: Another way to say greasy.

 

Going out and special events

  • Out for a rip: Going out with your friends, whether driving or not.
  • Gong show: An event that doesn’t go according to plan but is at least memorable.
  • Canadian Tuxedo: When one wears denim on the top and bottom.
  • Champagne birthday: A birthday where you turn the same age as the day you were born on.
  • Deke: To avoid or leave, short for decoy.

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Conclusion

Canadian slang extends beyond what new English learners might initially recognize. From references like “beaver tails” and “Timbits” to the frequent use of “Eh?” at the end of sentences, these expressions offer insights into Canadian culture, history, and values.