Canadian slang is not something I expected to pick up when I moved to BC. But more than once the Canadian slang terms I ran into completely threw me for a loop. And often as not, my southern slang confused my Canadian friends, as well. Here’s a list of Canadian slang words and phrases that I learned while in British Columbia.
Canadian Slang Words That Confused Me
“Hey, we should grab some drinks and appys sometime.”
The first time someone mentioned going out for drinks and appys I had no idea what they meant. My deep Grey’s Anatomy knowledge stepped in but it seemed unlikely that Canadians routinely go out for a drinks and appendectomies. I even googled it and came up short.
Appy means appetizer. Ahhhhhh. It makes so much sense now but none when I first heard it.
2. Gong Show
“Oh man, went to the game last night and it was a total Gong Show.”
Thankfully, my old friend context clues helped me figure out the meaning of this Canadian slang phrase pretty quickly. Basically, it means that something was a disaster.
3. Homo Milk
“Hey hon, can you pick up some homo milk on the way home?”
I am being dead serious right now, homo milk is real-life Canadian slang. It’s short for “homogenized milk” but it actually means what we in the states call whole milk. In other words, full fat milk.
“It’s getting cold out there, don’t forget your toque.”
My what now? Oh, my hat. Okay. Toques are knit caps, the kind that you wear in the winter. Where I’m from we just call them hats or sometimes beanies. Toque was news to me.
“Mom, have you seen my rubber?”
Your who do what?! Oh, your ponytail holders. Okay. This is acceptable. Rubber means something different in my neck of the woods…
“Grab your runners, we’re heading to the park.”
Again, this one made sense after the fact but it was foreign to my ears in the beginning. We say tennis shoes where I’m from. Which is probably weirder because no one’s playing tennis. But still. It’s my normal.
I still hold that this one is strange. Zed is the name of the letter “z”. Letters shouldn’t have two constant sounds. Can I get an amen? They just shouldn’t. You can’t call a “b” a “bed”. It’s weird. Double U is the exception.
Would you have gotten any of those right if you were guessing? I’m not the first person to be amused by Canadian slang. You kind find several books on Amazon devoted to the subject. And check out this Buzzfeed video below where Americans try to guess Canadian slang.
Southern Slang that Confused my Canadian Friends
Once in awhile I made my Canadian friends furrow their brow when I spoke southern. Here are a couple of southern slang instances that I remember.
“Holy crap, there were bookoodles of homeschoolers in there.”
I had no idea that this slang had southern origins until my Canadian friends looked at me like I was crazy. It means “a lot of something” and apparently is derived from the French “beaucoup”.
“Susie lost another tooth last night and now she has the most adorable snaggle tooth.”
I was shocked – SHOCKED – that my Canadian friend didn’t know the phrase “snaggle tooth”. It’s that adorable smile that little kids have when their teeth start falling out.
Test your southern slang knowledge with this hilarious Buzzfeed video where yankees try to guess southern slang.
And the list of Canadian slang words and their meanings could go on and on, I’m sure. What would you add?
Any other slang that you’ve run into around the country (or world) that confused you?