There are certain words or phrases that you’ll only hear in Canada. The kind that make you feel Canadian pride when you hear them; immediately think of home when you’re away; or get weird looks when you use them among non-Canadians.
Here’s our top 10 favourite Canadianisms. We bet you use them all the time, even if you don’t notice it…
Blonde/Chum – In Quebec slang, your girlfriend is your “blonde” and your boyfriend is your “chum”.
Chouette – Means “cute” or “cool” in Quebec, so you would sound completely Quebecois when you compliment your brother’s new girlfriend’s awesome gaming abilities with “Ta blonde est chouette”.
Double-double – Try using this term south of the border or in any other country, and people will look at you funny. Use it in one of Canada’s most ubiquitous and beloved coffee chains, and you’ll get a coffee with two sugars and two creams.
Loonie/toonie – Canada is famous for its loons (the water fowl, that is) and since we have one on our dollar coin, it’s only natural to call it a loonie, right? The twoonie doesn’t make as much sense, but the rhyme factor makes up for it.
Nuit blanche – In Quebec and French slang, this means an all-nighter. It even spawned Nuit Blanche, the famous all-night art festival held in countries around the world and across Canada including Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Saskatoon.
Runners – Tennis shoes, running shoes, sneakers – casual sport shoes go by many names, but only in Canada will you hear them called “runners”.
Snowbird – Anyone, though mostly Canadian retirees, who spend their winters in the southern US, particularly Florida, and eventually return home when warmer temperatures arrive in the spring.
Tuque – Traditionally used by hunters and fishers to help keep warm in the winter, it’s no wonder the tuque, or knitted cap, is so popular in Canada. Today, just about every Canadian has one or two stuffed in a closet somewhere…including you. Admit it.
Two-four – A 24-pack of beer. As well, only Canadians will call a 375 ml bottle of hard alcohol a “mickey”; a 750 ml bottle, a “twenty-sixer”; and a 3,000 ml bottle, a “Texas mickey”.
Zed – It doesn’t rhyme with “V”, like in the American version of the alphabet song, but if you went to kindergarten in Canada, you’ve grown up using this word for the last letter of the alphabet. And you like it that way.