24 New Entries to Dictionary of Canadianisms
Canadian English enthusiasts rejoice! For the first time since 1967, A Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles has gotten a major update. While the original offered a wonderful tour of older terms, the new edition adds 1002 new lexemes and 1239 additional meanings, giving a better picture of English in Canada today. The update also adds frequency charts showing where terms are most often used and links to image and video illustrations. Here are 23 new entries that you might not recognize if you’re not Canadian.
The stubby was a shorter-necked beer bottle that was standard in Canada from the 1960s until the early 1980s. Some current beer companies have begun to bring the stubby back, tapping into a nostalgia for what an article in The Globe and Mail once called “this precious symbol of our national character.”
2. GRETZKY EFFECT
This term, sometimes spoken ruefully due to the loss it represents, refers to the popularization of hockey in the U.S. after Wayne Gretzky was traded from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings in 1988.
3. BI AND BI
A shortening for bilingualism and biculturalism relating to the 1963 Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, which was established to provide reports and recommendations on issues relating to Canada’s English and French speaking populations.
4. AND 5. KITCHEN PARTY AND KITCHEN RACKET
A casual get-together with music and dancing. This term and its synonym kitchen racket are regional terms used mostly in Prince Edward Island.
6. SMOKED MEAT
A smoked brisket deli specialty associated with Montreal, akin to corned beef or pastrami.
7. AND 8. NORTH OF 60 AND SOUTH OF 60
The 60th parallel north divides the Canadian territories Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut from the provinces below it. In a way similar to the use of the lower 48 in contrast to Alaska in the U. S., south of 60 is used to refer to the provinces. In the 1990s, North of 60 was a popular TV show about life Northwest Territories.
This term was first used during the 1968 election with reference to then Liberal Party leader (and later Prime Minister) Pierre Trudeau. It’s recently taken on new life with the election of his son, Justin Trudeau.
A hockey term for a shot where “a player receives a pass and instantly shoots the puck without trying to control it first; a quick, powerful redirection of the puck.” This entry links to a video illustration.
A double-double is a coffee with a double helping of cream and sugar, a common order at coffee shop Tim Hortons, which in recent decades has been “embraced by large portions of the Canadian population in a rare act of identity creation involving a low-cost coffee franchise.”
Another Tim Hortons term, Timbits is their brand name for donut holes. It has spread to the domain of sports as a name for children’s league teams in soccer, hockey, and baseball.
13. TEXAS MICKEY
The largest sized bottle of hard liquor sold in Canada is a giant three liters. Going along with the old adage that everything’s bigger in Texas, the Canadians call it a Texas Mickey.
A shortening of bunkhouse, “a building on the property of a summer home that provides additional lodging for guests.” The term is most common in Ontario.
15. CUBE VAN
A “recent term that appears to be actively spreading across Canada, but not into the US.” It’s a cube-shaped truck, like a moving or delivery van.
A wingy idea or a wingy person is “crazy, flighty, loopy.” One can also spin out of control and go wingy.
On the other and, if you’re flipping out, or “out of control because of strong emotions” you’ve gone snaky.
18. LANEWAY HOUSE
A small house behind the main house, akin to a coach or carriage house, that has become a popular way to bring in property income in cities with soaring real estate prices like Vancouver.
19. MUSKOKA CHAIR
Like the Adirondack chair in the U.S., the Muskoka chair, named for the lake vacation region of Ontario, has a low to the ground seat and wide, slatted back perfect for relaxing while watching the sunset.
Also known as gotch, gonch, gonchies, gaunch, gauch, or gitch, gotchies is a Canadian word for underwear. It originated with immigrants from Eastern Europe who spoke languages like Serbo-Croation or Hungarian where the words for underwear are gaće and gatya, respectively.
The Turkish döner kebap, a sandwich made with meat sliced from an upright rotisserie, is known as a donair in Canada.
A food with all the toppings, or “the works,” is all-dressed. It’s a direct translation of the French toute garnie and is more commonly used in Quebec than the rest of Canada. It’s also the name of a potato chip flavor used everywhere.
A keener is very keen, or “overly eager or enthusiastic.” The term has a slightly derogatory force, similar to brown-noser or nerd.
24. BOOZE CAN
This term for “an illegal bar, especially on operating a private home” came into use in the 1970s and appears to be exclusively Canadian.
Explore more Canadianisms and get their full histories at the Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles.