How to Speak Canadian: A Quick Guide to Local Slangs

By @snksounak on
Boys wave the Canadian flags during Canada Day on the East York Canada Day Parade route in Toronto
Boys wave the Canadian flags during Canada Day on the East York Canada Day Parade route in Toronto July 1, 2014. Reuters/Mark Blinch

You may be wondering if there is a different language called "Canadian." Let me clarify: not yet. The top languages in Canada are English and French. This is a quick guide to local Canadian slangs in English. A single word means different things in various parts of the world. On the other hand, there are colloquial terms of a known thing which you call otherwise in your locality.

If you are from the United States, you may be more familiar with Zip Code. In UK, it is called postcode. However, it is called "Postal Code" in Canada. A 24-pack of beer is called "Two-four," and a beer belly is called "Molson muscle." If someone in Canada tells you to go to "Oil Town," they mean that you should go to Edmonton which has an elaborated oil refining industry.

If a Canadian tells you that their dog "had the biscuit," it means it died. Alternatively, if it is used for a "thing," it means that it is "broken." While you may say "Jeez!" or "My goodness!" in exclamation, a Canadian says "Jesus Murphy" for the same reason. What you know as "ATM" - the machine that you rush to when you need money - is "ABM (Automated Bank Machine)" in Canada. A Canadian sits on a "Chesterfield (sofa)," have a "Double-Double (A cup of coffee with two sugars and two creams)" and uses the "Biffy (toilet)" when required.

As it is said, you cannot learn a language if you don't know the "bad" words. Here are some examples. Use these words to enrich your knowledge. Make sure you don't end up hurting someone with these words as those can be abusive depending on what part of Canada you are in. When Western Canadians say "frog," they actually mean French Canadians in a derogatory manner. "Square head" is a derogatory way of calling an English-speaking Canadian. "Canuck," on the other hand, is derogatory when non-Canadians say it. Canadians love to call themselves "Canucks" but they may get offended if a foreigner calls them so.

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