English and French are the two official languages spoken in the Great White North, but Canadians (lovingly known as "Canucks") also have an “unofficial” language—that of Canadian slang. Below are some common Canadian slang words that Americans might find amusing, but should definitely know, especially if planning to visit our friendly neighbors to the north. Additionally, it might be a good idea to brush up on your Canadian slang before attending a performance of The Canadians (Julianne Argyros Stage, Sept. 29-Oct. 20), a hilarious romp from the Great White North to the Caribbean, as Canadian Gordy and his pal, Brendan, are gifted two all-expenses-paid tickets on a gay cruise with a shipload of memorable characters.
Common Canadian slang words:
- Eh? - This is the classic Canadian term used in everyday conversation. The word can be used to end a question, say “hello” to someone at a distance, to show surprise as in you are joking, or to get a person to respond. It’s similar to the words “huh”, “right?” and “what?” commonly found in U.S. vocabulary.
- Double-double - A common phrase used to indicate a regular coffee with two creams and two sugars. It is a kind of coffee from Tim Horton, the most popular coffee shop in Canada.
- Loonies and Toonies - A loonie is a Canadian $1 coin with an image of the Canadian bird, the loon, on one side of the coin. The Loonie replaced the Canadian $1 bill in 1987. The Canadian $2 coin was introduced in 1996, and the words “two” and “Loonie” became a single term, Toonie.
- Toque - Pronounced “toohk” or “tuke,” a toque is a winter hat that others would commonly refer to as beanies or ski hats. It has its origins from a French word that has the same meaning, “cap”.
- Poutine - Poutine is a popular dish made with French fries and cheese curds topped with brown gravy. It originated in the Canadian province of Quebec.
- Pop – Refers to soda.
- Washroom - The Canadian word for restroom.
- Pencil Crayon - This slang is known as colored pencil in the U.S. Perhaps Canadians say pencil crayon because it’s related to the French’s ‘crayon de couleur’.
- Icing Sugar - This is a kind of fine granulated sugar used while baking to make icings. The alternative word for this is powdered sugar.
- Mickey - Mickey is a word referring to a flask-sized bottle of liquor such as rum or Canadian rye whiskey.
- Timmies - Timmies refers to the popular Tim Horton’s fast-food coffee chain. It gets its name from a famous Canadian hockey player. And while you’re at Timmies, don’t forget the “Timbits”, which are commonly known as donut holes.
- Homo milk - This is one of the Canadian slang words that refer to milk with 3.25% fat. However, it should not be confused with the Canadian whole milk. Usage of the word ‘Homo’ in the U.S. refers to homosexuality. But in Canada, it’s a word that is plastered on milk cartons to refer to a specific kind of milk. In the U.S., this milk is known as homogenized milk.
- Hang a Larry - This slang term is used while driving and simply means to “Take a left” (see below for the term to “Take a right”).
- Hang a Roger - This slang term means make a right turn while driving.
- Runners - Runners are casual sport shoes such as sneakers or tennis shoes.
- Chocolate Bar - In the U.S., this word means a candy bar. In Canada, it’s used for all bars that have any amount of chocolate in them.
- Parkade - A Canadian slang word that refers to a multi-level parking structure. Americans call it the parking structure, parking garage or parking deck.
- Kerfuffle - This word refers to a commotion or fuss caused by disagreement (most commonly found during, or after, sports games).
- Two-four – Commonly used to refer to a case of 24 beers.
- Chesterfield – Refers to a sofa or couch.
- Snowbirds- Canadians who head south during the winter months to escape the cold.
- Click – Refers to kilometers, the unit of length in the metric system equal to 1,000 meters. Some spell the word as ‘Klick’.
For more Canadian slang, check out this fun video by Toronto-born actor Will Arnett.
Learn more about The Canadians and buy tickets.