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57 Canadian slang words you should learn before visiting

Canadian Slang

Thinking of travelling to Canada soon? Why not brush up on your Canadian slang words to help you keep up with conversations and speak like a local!

Canadians have slang words that are not only unique to the country, but you’ll also find differences in the lingo between each city, province and territory. It is a large country after all. Check out our list of 50 Canadian slang words to help you navigate life in the great white north a little bit easier.

1. Buddy / Bud

On the east coast predominantly (but also heard nationwide), buddy is a way to talk about a person without using a name. For example, it could be ‘buddy over there’ or ‘buddy in the beer store’. Buddy doesn’t have to be a friend, or someone you know at all. Heck no, we share the love freely. Similarly, bud is used affectionately to speak to others in Canada, in phrases like ‘How are ya, bud?’

2. Regular / Double Double

We’re big on coffee here in Canada, so naturally, we have Canadian slang to make ordering it a bit easier. A regular refers to a coffee made with one cream and one sugar, while a double-double is a coffee made with two creams and two sugars. You can continue this trend with a triple-triple, or a 4-by-4 but you may get some judgy looks from your local Tim Hortons cashier if you order the last two…

Two women sitting on a log next to a river.

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3. Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons is Canada’s bread and butter. You’ll find these coffee and donut shops on practically every corner of our towns and cities. Cheap, usually quick service, and reliable, Tim Hortons is a Canadian staple you have to try at least once.

4. Timmies / Tims / Timbits

Speaking of Tim Hortons, there are many variations for what we call this local coffee shop chain, but if anyone asks if you want something from Tims or Timmies, a coffee, donut, timbits or a bagel is usually a safe choice. Timbits are what Tim Hortons calls ‘donut holes’, or mini spherical donuts, but it has become the national term for these treats, regardless of where you buy them.

5. Hang a Larry / Hang a Roger

This phrase is used when giving directions, with Larry meaning a left turn and Roger meaning a right turn. Why Larry and Roger specifically? Your guess is as good as ours.

6. Mickey / Texas mickey

A mickey is a small bottle of alcohol that you tried to hide in your jeans when heading out to a party. No, really. While a mickey is actually a small bottle of alcohol (375mL or 13oz), the bottle itself is shaped to fit in your pocket which dates all the way back to the 19th century, thanks to the people who got a little too rowdy and had to be more conspicuous about their drinking habits.

7. Two-Four

Usually mentioned when getting ready for a party or writing a shopping list before a cottage long weekend, a two-four is a case of 24 beers. You can even take it one step further and say a 25-piece patio set, which is just a 24 case of beer and a chair.

8. Darts

If someone asks you if you want a dart, they’re not asking if you want to play a friendly game. In Canada, a dart is the slang word for a cigarette. “I’m gonna go rip a dart,” or  “Do you wanna smoke a dart?” are phrases you might hear. 

9. Chesterfield

You’re more likely to hear your parents or grandparents use this slang word in Canada, but chesterfield is still a common name to call your sofa or couch. Picture a more fancy, posh version of a basic couch and you’ve got a chesterfield.

emerald-lake-canada

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10. Toque

If there’s a Canadian slang word you need to know while in Canada, this one is a top contender. You’ll hear toque (sometimes spelled touque) used quite often through the fall and winter seasons, and you’ll definitely need one to keep your noggin warm. You might call it a beanie or winter hat, but in Canada, a toque is a warm knitted hat. It also doesn’t need to have a pom-pom to be considered one!

11. Bunny hug

If you said this Canadian slang word to someone who lives on the Eastern side of Canada they might look at you like you’re crazy. The slang bunny hug actually comes from the Canadian province of Saskatchewan (the flat one right in the middle of the Country), and is a word that means a sweater or hoodie.

12. Nize it

Another slang word popular in the Toronto area, nize it is a way to tell someone to be quiet or stop talking. It’s pronounced like ‘nice’ but with a ‘Z’ (and also the total opposite of nice).

13. The Rock

No, not the muscular and charismatic wrestler turned actor. The Rock is the nickname for the island province of Newfoundland found on the East Coast of Canada. But don’t worry, we’re fans of Dwayne Johnson here too.

14. T Dot / The 6ix

Lots of people know Toronto as the 6ix or T Dot thanks to the superstar rapper Drake, but locals have been calling it that long before he made it mainstream. The nickname the ‘6ix’ can be attributed to two things: the GTA, thanks to the six boroughs that make up the city, as well as the city’s two area codes, 416 and 647.

15. The Peg

Short and sweet, the Peg is a nickname for the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba. 

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16. Cowtown

The city of Calgary, Alberta is called Cowtown. Why? Because the city is considered to be the center of the Canadian cattle industry as well as its history with ranching.

17. Yes b’y

East Coast Canada could have its own list dedicated to its unique slang, but one of the more popular terms used out in the province of Newfoundland is Yes b’y, which is used as a phrase of affirmation. You can also use it sarcastically as if to say, “yeahh, right”.

Canoeing in Whistler

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18. Convenience Store / Dep

You may call this a corner store, bodega, milk bar, market or some other variation in other countries. Dep is used in Quebec, as it is short for the French word dépanneur – which means convenience store.

19. Reach

Popular in the Toronto area, it means coming to or going to a place or event: “You reaching tonight?”  “Imma reach“

20. Keener

Safe to say you don’t want to be called a keener while in Canada. Generally, it refers to someone who’s over-eager; a suck-up; a try-hard; a brown-noser… you get the gist.

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21. Loonie & Toonie

Two classic Canadian slang words you’ll need to add to your vocabulary are a loonie and toonie. A loonie is what we call our one-dollar coins which have a loon on them. The loon is actually the Provincial bird of Ontario and has a very distinctly Canadian call. Toonies, not surprisingly, are our two-dollar coins.

28. Bucks

This is simply another way to say dollars or talk about money. “Can I borrow 5 bucks?” or, “20 bucks for that??

29. Beauty

This slang word is common in Canadian lingo, but especially for Canadian hockey players. Beauty is used to say something is good (a beauty), or in place of ‘awesome’ if used on its own. For example, “What a beauty” or, if you really want to sound Canadian, keep it simple with, “Beauty, eh?”

30. Clicks

Clicks is a simple way to say Kilometres. Like, “How many clicks till the next Timmies?”

31. Jesus Murphy

This is a fun Canadian slang word that’s used as a safe expletive, as if changing The Lord’s last name makes the phrase any less blasphemous. Extra points if you add a little bit of an English or Irish accent when you say it! 

A lighthouse sits on a rocky shore at sunset.

Image source:Contiki

32. Eh

What Canadian slang list is complete without one of Canada’s favourite and arguably most used slang word, ‘eh’.

If you want to try adding it into your own vocabulary, it can be used on its own or added to the end of a sentence, almost as if you’re making an effort to include the listener in your conversation. It can mean ‘right?’, ‘what?’, but can also be added to most sentences just for the heck of it. “It’s so cold out there, eh?” 

33. Canuck

A Canuck can actually mean one of two things. The Vancouver Canucks, AKA the Canucks, is the name of one of the Canadian teams in the National Hockey League (NHL), but it’s also used as a nickname to describe Canadians. Some Canadians might be offended if a non-canuck calls them it though, so maybe save that one to impress your friends at home with your knowledge of Canadian slang words.

34. Washroom

No, it’s not where you go to shower, it’s where you go to handle your… business. Here in Canada, they swap out the words bathroom, loo, or restroom with washroom! 

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35. Hoser

The best way to describe a hoser is the Canadian version of an American ‘hick’ or ‘hillbilly’. If your buddy calls you one, it’s said with love, but you definitely don’t want to be throwing the term out at strangers!

The term became mainstream back in the 80s thanks to two Canadian comedians Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas who played on-screen brothers Bob and Doug Mackenzie in a popular sketch TV series. A quick Google of their skits will give you a perfect example of what a hoser looks and sounds like.

36. GTA

No, not the video game. In Canada, the GTA refers to the Greater Toronto Area. The GTA is made up of six different neighbourhoods (Scarborough, Etobicoke, York, North York, East York and Toronto) that over six million people call home. 

37. Bare

Part of what’s described as ‘Toronto Mans’ lingo, you’ll hear this term all across the GTA. Bare means the opposite of what you’d expect; a lot. “There’s bare people at the mall today”. 

A lot of credit for the lingo gets given to Drake, but he didn’t come up with the slang himself. Toronto is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, and the ‘Toronto Mans’ lingo is a combination of slang words from immigrants who came to Canada from the Caribbean, East Africa and Middle East.

View of Banff in Canada

Image source:Contiki

38. Kerfuffle

Kerfuffle is a fun word to say, but a bad situation to be in. It means to get into a fight, a little scruff or some sort of commotion. It’s like the step below a full out brawl.

39. ODR

 A must know if you’re in Canada for the winter season, an ODR is the abbreviation for an outdoor rink. ODR’s can refer to the local pond in your neighbourhood, or to that one friend whose family goes hard creating an insane backyard rink.

40. Chirp / Chirping

Another phrase that goes hand in hand with the hockey and sports culture in Canada, is chirping. A chirp is an insult that you’d say to the opposing team, while chirping is an endless stream of digs thrown at someone, similar to smack talking someone. Ask a hockey player what their favourite chirp is and they’re sure to have a few ready to go.

41. Give’r

What better way to tell someone to give it their all than by saying, “Give’r!” It’s a great word to use when trying to convince your friend to do something they probably shouldn’t, but also as encouragement in all sorts of situations. Kind of like “full send”… “Ah, just give’r!

42. Freezie

Known as an Ice Block to the Aussies, a freezie is basically a Canadian popsicle. There are all sorts of types of them, but the most popular freezies are usually in a clear plastic tube rather than frozen to a stick, but either way, it makes for a great summertime snack.

43. Five-hole

Since you’re in Canada you’ll be exposed to more hockey than you probably signed up for, so you might as well learn some of the sports lingo! You’ll often hear players say, “I scored through the five-hole” which means they managed to score a goal between the goalie’s legs.

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44. Puck

A puck is the small black circle that hockey players shoot around during a game. It’s about 3 inches in diameter and is made of rubber, but in the early days of hockey, they used frozen cow dung.

45. Hat trick

A hat trick is when one ice hockey player manages to score three goals in one game. Also, don’t be surprised if you’re watching a game live and people suddenly start throwing their hats onto the rink, it’s a tradition to celebrate the tricky feat.

Image of Canada and the rockies

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46. Snowbirds

Snowbirds can mean one of two things. One potential meaning refers to an iconic Air Demonstration Squadron that performs aerial tricks at big events across Canada. The more common meaning actually refers to (usually retired) Canadians who leave the country during the cold winter season to live in a summer home until the spring. Typically, you can find them roaming the golf courses in Florida.

47. Beavertail

This is one of the best desserts you can try while you’re in this beautiful country. Don’t worry, Canadians don’t actually eat the tails of their National animal. This dessert is made of deep fried dough that’s shaped and stretched into a long oval, similar to the shape of a beaver’s tail!

48. Raincouver

Vancouver, British Columbia has some of the mildest weather across all of Canada, so it’s no surprise that they don’t see much snow. On the other hand, it does mean that they get a lot of rain – nearly 168 days of rain on average each year. Thanks to those weather conditions, the city has earned the nickname, Raincouver.

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49. Come from away (CFA)

Come from away is a term that Newfies (people from the province of Newfoundland) use to describe someone who’s visiting, or someone who lives there but wasn’t born there. You might have also heard the term thanks to the popular musical with the same name based on true events.

50. Bird course

This refers to an easy course that students in college or university add to their schedules to either bump up their average or give them a bit of a lighter course load if they have a really heavy semester.

51. Bloody Caesar

Similar to a Bloody Mary, in Canada a Bloody Caesar (or caesar) is considered the unofficial cocktail of the country. The difference being the use of clamato juice rather than tomato juice. Yep, it’s base is a mixture of tomato and clam juice. Give’r a go if you’re brave enough.

52. Buck/stag and doe

Jack and Jill, Stag and Hen, Bachelor and Bachelorette, whatever version you call it, it’s the Canadian way to describe the parties for the happy couple before their wedding. 

53. Eager Beaver

This is a term you can use similar to a keener, but a little less, insulting? Eager beaver is a great way to describe someone who’s over excited to do something or go somewhere. “Someone’s an eager beaver!

54. Screech

Screech is a type of rum that’s very popular in Newfoundland. They even have something called a “Screech-in” ceremony where non-newfoundlanders (AKA come from away) say a little speech, take a shot of screech and kiss a cod fish to become and honourary Newfoundlander. 

Best places to visit, Canada

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55. Tobbogan

Toboggan is another way to say sled in Canada. It’s typically a long narrow board made out of wood with a round curve at the front, but it can be a catch-all term for all sorts of sleds. 

56. Adirondack / Muskoka chair

Last but not least, is the adirondack or muskoka chair. These are deep seated chairs with wide arms that are perfect for sitting back and relaxing in – particularly up at a cottage in the summertime.

57. Trash panda

Furry, cute and lovers of your poorly discarded garbage, trash panda is the nickname Canadian’s use to refer to raccoons. If you’re a fan of the Marvel movies, you might have even caught the reference in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. 

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