The unique vocabulary of Canadian English

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Canadian English

Because of many factors, media being the most relevant one, most of us grew up speaking American English and we often put Canada as well in the group of countries where this dialect is spoken. Although the distinction between the two varieties of the same language found in the US and Canada is not so grand, it is still wrong to ignore the existence of Canadian English. The grammar may be the same, but the difference in pronunciation of certain words, and especially in vocabulary is worth the attention.

Washroom   

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Yet another word for ‘a bathroom.’ At least they don’t call it ‘a restroom’ like their beloved neighbors.   

Mickey  

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No, no. It’s not Mickey the mouse, it’s Mickey the alcohol. Any type of liquor in a smaller bottle – whether it is vodka, cognac, rum, gin, etc. – that can fit inside a purse Canadians call a mickey.  

Homo milk  

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Don’t get wrong ideas now. I know it might sound silly to the rest of the world but homo milk simply stands for homogenized milk. 

Loonie and toonie  

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As much as it sounds like Looney Tunes, in Canada loonies are called $1 coins, while toonies are $2 coins.  

Darts  

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In Canadian English darts refers to – you will never guess – cigarettes, and it has nothing to do with the sport. 

Parkade   

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Only Canadians would call a ‘parking lot’ a parkade.  

Serviette  

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The influence of the French language can be seen through this particular word. Serviette is a fancier way of saying ‘a napkin.’  

Caesar   

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Ever heard of words that are false friends? This is a perfect example. The Canadian Ceasar is not a salad at all, but rather a drink similar in taste to the Bloody Mary.  

Bill  

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Just like in British English, Canadian English uses the noun ‘bill’ to describe the act of paying in a restaurant, for instance. On the other hand, Americans pay ‘a check.’  

Kerfuffle  

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Another British word that made its way to Canada is ‘kerfuffle.’ Typically, it stands for some kind of disturbance caused by a conflict or even a fight.  

Snowbird   

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‘Snowbird’ is a nickname for all those who migrate to warmer places, usually referring to older, retired people.  

Chesterfield  

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A ‘chesterfield’ is a Canadian couch. Where does this phrase come from? It beats me. 

 

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