Canadian Words, Phrases or Slang That Most Americans Wouldn’t Understand

Published by Toronto Mike on January 1, 2013 @ 22:53 in O Canada

Canadian Words, Phrases or Slang That Most Americans Wouldn’t UnderstandCourtesy of Macleans.ca, here are 12 Canadian words, phrases or slang that most Americans wouldn’t understand.

1. Two-four (24 beers)
2. Loonie (and, of course, toonie)
3. Toque
4. Klick (kilometre)
5. Toboggan
6. Peameal or back bacon
7. Washroom
8. Serviette
9. Chinook (the wind, not the helicopter)
10. Mickey (e.g. a mickey of vodka)
11. Knapsack
12. Kerfuffle

I'd like to add chesterfield to the Maclean's list. Call it a couch all you want, but it will always be a chesterfield to me.

Comments 36 comments

36 Responses to "Canadian Words, Phrases or Slang That Most Americans Wouldn’t Understand"

Rosie
January 1, 2013 / 23:20

When I saw the title of this entry the first word I thought of was "chesterfield". Such a Canadian word. My parents always called it a chesterfield. Also, saying "pop" instead of "soda" is very Canuck.
I did not know "kerfuffle" was a Canadian thing.

Jacob
January 1, 2013 / 23:39

The link at Macleans has a couple of good others in the comments, one of them being "Double Double".

pigeon toed dave
January 2, 2013 / 06:49

Also add

Robertson Driver
Crispy Crunch
Ceasar

Corey
January 2, 2013 / 06:56

I see one of these lists trotted out every year or so, and I'm always baffled by it's popularity. Regional differences in language. Why is that a big deal? What is the point? Ever take a look at a list of terms from the southern US? There's literally hundreds of terms most Canadians wouldn't understand.

Argie
January 2, 2013 / 08:21

Ironically, not many Americans would what Macleans is.

elvis
January 2, 2013 / 08:59

+1 on Chesterfield and Pop

Mississauga Phil
January 2, 2013 / 09:07

Let's not forget "Smarties".

In the US, Samrties are what we would call "Rockets", those little candy discs given out at halloween.

The US does not have the candy covered chocolate "do you eat the red ones last?" smarties...they only have the less tasty M&M's

Toronto Mike
January 2, 2013 / 09:09

Here's a little something I wrote about American Smarties vs. Canadian Smarties: http://www.torontomike.com/2011/03/american_smarties_vs_canadian.html

And then there's Kraft Dinner... Americans know it as Mac and Cheese.

Paul
January 2, 2013 / 09:35

I once asked an (apparently) American tourist if he had two loonies for a toonie and he moved away from me very quickly, and looked back once to see if I was following him.

Monty
January 2, 2013 / 10:26

How about I live in a house out yonder>

Argie
January 2, 2013 / 11:03

Cdns will call it "grade 5" while Americans will refer to it as "fifth grade". The US way sounds better.

Sammi
January 2, 2013 / 15:25

I live in Canada and always called it 'fifth grade' and have heard it called 'grade 5' as well so I really don't know what you are talking about, Argie.

Colleen
January 2, 2013 / 15:46

HOMO milk! I had no idea what homo milk was for the first few years that I lived in Canada. Americans call it whole milk. In fact, isn't all milk homogenized? Why do we single out the 3% fat one and call it homo?

Colleen
January 2, 2013 / 15:47

And not to sound obsessed with dairy or anything, but they also don't have bags of milk in the US.

Toronto Mike
January 2, 2013 / 15:51

Homo Milk: http://www.torontomike.com/2009/11/homo_milk.html

Milk Bags: http://www.torontomike.com/2005/01/milk_bags.html

Personally, I drink 1%, but can't imagine drinking from anything but milk bags. That's how we roll in Ontario!

Blind Dave
January 2, 2013 / 15:55

We have the 4L jugs here in SK.

When I was a kid in the 70s, we'd be in the grocery store and my mom would say (way too loudly), "Dear, go and get the homo..."

Colleen
January 2, 2013 / 16:06

@Dave hahahaha! What an awesome childhood memory.

Wulv
January 2, 2013 / 16:07

I just spent the Holidaze with someone from West Virginia who had never been to Canada before now. She was ASTOUNDED by Milk in bags, enough to make multiple posts on Facebook about it with Photos in case her friends didn't believe her.

CQ
January 2, 2013 / 18:09

http://balanceoffood.typepad.com/canadian_crossing/2011/11/canada-should-know-andor-doesnt-belong-on-food-ingredient-list.html
"Processed" Cheese and until recently, sugar still being used in some Canadian food products instead of "high-fructose corn syrup" as in the States.
For example: besides its U.S. bankruptcy, the Cdn. Twinkie production line switched over to the U.S. standard 'CORN substitute' recipe last month as well.

Alcoholic
January 2, 2013 / 19:38

You could also add 26er and 40-pounder.

Digger03
January 2, 2013 / 20:51

Post Shreddies cereal
Ketchup Chips
The letter Z'd, throws Americans off (instead of "Zee")
A&W Chubby Chicken is uniquely Canadian as well as the Teen Burger!

Anon&on
January 2, 2013 / 21:04

Butter Tart
An American in Canada noted 'Army Guy' for Soldier. I laughed at that one because that's what we all 'em- the Army Guys.

Gump
January 2, 2013 / 23:31

Add to the list health care and socialism (which they read as communism).

Rosie
January 3, 2013 / 00:05

Has anyone ever eaten a Persian? My mum grew up in Thunder Bay and my grandparents still live there. There is a pastry you can only get there called a Persian. It's like a cinnamon roll covered in this pink icing that is unbelievable. I know it doesn't sound that appetizing but it's one of those things that needs to be experienced. When we visit, the bakery will put the icing in tubs so they will travel well. They are so used to people packing them in suitcases to take them home.
http://bit.ly/f1PIJb

@Rosie
January 3, 2013 / 06:45

@Rosie - I have never heard of a Persian, but it seems like a good opportunity for some free Thunder Bay promotion. On of those traveling hosts on the Food Network should head up there and do a segment on it.

@Mike - Sorry man, but you must be one of the last hold outs still using the term "chesterfield"! I'm in my mid-40s and I don't know anyone who says it anymore. Check out this study (if you can get past the funky 90s background) that indicates "chesterfield has been on the decline for decades:

http://homes.chass.utoronto.ca/~chambers/couch.html

Corey
January 3, 2013 / 06:46

Whoops. Comment above is mine.

Lynne
January 3, 2013 / 07:52

Never had a Persian, Rosie, but Americans don't know what butter tarts are, and maybe Nanaimo bars a foreign to them as well. My first husband (ancient history) was born in Vermont and educated in Boston. When he moved to Toronto he pronounced Yonge St. Yawnge Street. And don't get me started on Spadeena. LOL

Corey
January 3, 2013 / 08:05

Actually Lynne, your husband had on thing right. The correct pronunciation is Spadeena - the incorrect Spa-Dinah just took over after time.


http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/fixer/article/958854--the-fixer-they-say-spa-deenah-but-are-they-right

Lynne
January 3, 2013 / 10:24

Wow, I shouldn't have divorced him then. He was at least right about one thing. ;-)

Douglas
January 3, 2013 / 11:24

They have ketchup potato chips in the US. They're a regional product, though. No Frills regularly has "Heinz Ketchup" chips made by Herr's of Pennsylvania. Friends in the U.S. stopped asking me about ketchup chips when I made that observation, so I guess they found out where to get them in their area.

Rosie
January 3, 2013 / 15:39

LOL Thunder Bay deserves some promotion! It's such a unique place. I miss my grandparent's camp (don't call it cottage- it's CAMP!) on Silver Islet, with its view of the Sleeping Giant. Just amazing. There is a large Finnish community in this city which means lots of cool Finnish things can be found like steam baths and Finnish pancakes. The pancakes at the Hoito are the best- super thin, and crispy around the edges.

Cheryl
January 3, 2013 / 18:20

I never had a Persian either, but it sounds yummy. My personal trainer has family in Thunder Bay. He was just there. I don't know when he is going again, but I should ask him to bring me one, but maybe he won't because of all the sugar it has in it.

andrew
January 3, 2013 / 22:22

Sneakers in U.S. & running shoes in Cda.

Douglas
January 3, 2013 / 23:24

Growing up in western Canada: Sneakers = cheap/crappy (canvas) "running" shoes

I hit "Post" instead of "Preview" earlier - I missed adding that last week I took a tray of (Costco) Nanaimo Bars to friends who live in the Buffalo area. I had numerous texts from them about how good they were and a debate about how long could they be kept at room temperature.

Finally, in Canada we have hockey sweaters. Americans have "jerseys", even for (ice) hockey.

dave
January 5, 2013 / 12:36

Chesterfields's were a brand cigarettes in the states if I'm no mistaken. Also if you ask for vinnegar for your french fries, they look at you like you have two heads..

Roshan
January 7, 2013 / 12:07

I knew 11 of the 12 and chesterfield. Do I get Canadian visitation rights?


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