While Canada’s official languages are French and English, these two languages while recognisable aren’t as embedded into locals as their linguistic integrity. Like most countries, Canada has an unofficial language only known to the locals, and that is ‘Canadian slang’.
Some Canadian slang you may know, but here are some others you may not be aware of.
What Is Canadian Slang?
Canadian slang, while widely used, can often fly under the radar. The terms used are often so standard and frequently used people barely register them. They can change from province to province, but most will understand.
Another thing to note is that many Canadian slang words show their cultural heritage and separate them from those they border with by using language.
Common Canadian Slang
Canadians are also known for being polite, and ‘Sorry’ is commonly used in Canada. It is often used when stumbling into someone or wanting to get past and is widely used.
- Can often replace ‘Pardon’ or ‘Excuse Me’.
A term meaning they agree with you, even if no can be confusing. Canadians will agree with you, but they will say “yeah, no”. An example of this is:
- “Would you mind helping me with this?”
- “Oh yeah, no, for sure.”
The Canadian Infamous “Eh”
We had to mention one of Canada’s most famous, the ‘Eh’.
Usually used when something is understood, either spoken to read. It is also pronounced as ‘Ay’. It can also be one of the most versatile with it being used to end a question, affirm something, and even show surprise.
- Pretty cool, eh?
- Eh? It’s closed?
Top 20 Terms and Phrases You Need To Know
A term when someone messes up or trips.
While it is now out of fashion, some Canadians may still use it as a sofa or settee term.
This is a common phrase used to order a coffee: two creams and two sugars.
It is a kind of coffee from Tim Hortons, the most popular coffee shop in Canada.
These are ice-lollies or ice-pops.
A slang term means giving it all you got, used in reference to work, sports and anything you need to get it done.
Hang a Larry
In Canada, this means to turn left.
Hang a Roger
In Canada, this means to turn right.
This isn’t a derogatory term, but rather refers to homogenised milk or milk with 3.25% fat. It is widely used and is even on the carton in the supermarket.
This term will mean you’re drunk.
A word which often refers to a commotion or fuss caused by disagreement.
A term you may have heard about on television, but Mountie’s refer to Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The red Mountie uniform is often recognisable when people think of Canada.
Out East vs Out West
Home is the centre for Canadians, no matter where they live. From there, everything is either out-east or out-west. This is something to be aware of if asking for directions.
This term refers to multi-level parking and a place where you park your cars.
Like groupies for rock bands, this references those interested in the hockey players, but not the game.
This term is used for those who hang around and visit hockey arenas a lot.
This is common in some parts of the world, but if you’ve never seen this word before, it’s a napkin and is widely used across Canada.
This refers to doughnut holes, made famous by Tim Hortons again.
Made famous by Drake, this term refers to the hometown of Toronto. It comes from the six boroughs of the city.
Refers to a case of 24 beers, and something a Canadian friend may ask you to pick up.
This is an alternative term for ‘bathroom’ or ‘restroom’, so be aware of this for signage when visiting.
Slang Terms When Around Friends
A term that friends and family may love to hear, as it means exceptional or impressive, and can even describe how someone appears or does.
Can be used to describe something done well, or an exceptionally great person.
What you sayin’?
Asking what someone is up to, similar to the phrase ‘what are you up to?’
A term used for when you want to describe that something is hilarious or funny.
When you want to say you agree or ‘Ok’. Not used when something is true.
Slang Terms For Money
These money terms are a staple of Canadian heritage.
With the Canadian $1 bill replaced with a $1 coin in 1987, many people turned to call it a Loonie due to the image of a common loon on the coin.
Later, in 1996, the Canadian $2 was also introduced, and the words “two” and “Loonie” became a single term, Toonie.
Similar to America, this refers to money.
Top Insults and Curses
Below are some gentle insults and curses you may hear, or use if you’re wanting to blend in with fellow Canadians.
More commonly used in southern Ontario, and is used for someone people claim are stupid.
Another name for someone who people will claim is stupid.
They are often used as a synonym for ‘loser’, beginning as a term in Hockey before becoming more widely used however politely and endearingly.
This term often refers to know-it-alls or goody-two-shoes.
Used for someone who is sneaky or not trusted, and is pronounced as ‘sky-vee’.
Mainly said about tourists who are loud, obnoxious and ignorant. Primarily used in Ontario.
Canadians use this term to avoid the guilt and shame of blasphemy, replacing the name of Christ with Murphy.
There are so many more slang terms we couldn’t cover in this post, we’ve listed what seems to be the most popular right now. As with anything, generations are evolving, and so is the language being used.
Hopefully, the above will help you to get around and about in Canada, meaning you won’t be as confused when locals speak directly to you, or about you. Or, this list can at least aid you in blending in a bit better!