Canadian Slang That Confuses Americans

Caesar

Caesar

Be careful if you order a Caesar from an American bartender; you might wind up with a salad. A Bloody Mary is the closest equivalent for our friends south of the border, but it’s just not the same.

Canadian tuxedo

A blue denim jacket when worn with a pair of blue jeans? That’s a Canadian tuxedo and we’re proud of it! Even our American friends love it: remember Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears at the 2001 American Music Awards?

Freezies

Freeze pops? We call ’em freezies! Which one is your favourite? Blue, red, orange, purple…

KD

Canadians love Kraft Dinner — so much so that we’ve shortened the only-in-Canada mac-and-cheese to two letters that will mystify Americans who don’t have any idea what you’re talking about.

Parkade

Only in Canada is a parking garage called a parkade. Now to remember where we parked…

Hydro bill

Americans pay their utility bills or electric bills, Canadians pay hydro bills. And that hydro bill can be expensive, because Canadian cities have some of the worst winters.

Toboggan

Americans like to go sledding in the winter, but Canadians will always prefer tobogganing.

Timbit

The Tim Hortons’ Timbit has become utterly ingrained in Canadian culture. In the U.S.? Not so much. For our American friends: it’s a doughnut hole!

Tap

Americans turn on the faucet, but a Canadian gets water out of the tap.

Serviette

Why use a napkin when you can use something as fancy-sounding as a serviette?

Pencil Crayons

Pencil crayons

Pencil crayons are a distinctly Canadian term for coloured pencils.

Dart

Canadian slang for a cigarette, as in, “I’m heading out behind the dumpster to go have a dart.”

Dinged

In the U.S., cars get dinged. In Canada, it’s our wallets, as in, “I got dinged 90 bucks for that speeding ticket.”

Elastics

Rubber bands? In Canada we call them elastics.

Gong show

To Americans, “Gong Show” is an intentionally awful talent show hosted by a heavily disguised (and proudly Canadian!) Mike Myers. For us, the term “gong show” (sometimes shortened to “gonger”) is slang for anything that goes off the rails, a wild, crazy or just plain chaotic event.

Hang a Larry or Roger

Where an American in a car’s passenger seat would tell the driver to take a left, a Canadian would say to hang a Larry (or a Roger for a right turn).

Homo milk

Every Canadian knows that this is short for homogenized milk.  Evangelical American Christians need not worry.

Housecoat

The item of clothing Americans refer to as a bathrobe or (if they’re classy) a dressing gown is known to Canadians by its true name: the housecoat.

Chinook

An American might recognize the word as referring to a species of salmon or a type of Canadian military helicopter, but only a true Canadian knows a Chinook is an unseasonably warm wind that rises over the Rockies and heats up as it descends.

Champagne birthday

Americans are often surprised to learn that a champagne birthday refers to the date when you celebrate the birthday that equates to the date of your birth, such as celebrating your 28th birthday on the 28th of May.

Toque

A knit hat. Worn by everyone in winter and by hipsters over the summer.

Stag

A bachelor party. The female equivalent: stagette.

Keener

A brown-noser.

The letter Z

Americans pronounce it zee. Canadians pronounce it zed, much to the detriment of the “Alphabet Song.”

Knapsack

A backpack.

Washroom

Americans call it the ‘men’s room’ or ‘ladies’ room.’

Eavestroughs

Rain gutters. Our term sounds way cooler, eh?

Garburator

A garbage disposal unit found beneath a kitchen sink.

Runners

Any kind of athletic footwear.

Mickey

A 13-ounce (give or take) bottle of hard alcohol.

Gitch or gotch

A very classy term for men’s underwear.

Chocolate bar

Americans call it a candy bar, which seems weird. To us, gummy worms are candy, ya know?

Processed cheese

American Cheese. Make your own joke here.

Humidex

Measurement used to gauge the combined effect of heat and humidity.

Two-four

A case of 24 beers. Cans or bottles: your choice!

Klick

Slang term for ‘kilometer.’

Chesterfield

A couch or sofa.

Kerfuffle

A scuffle or commotion, typically resulting from conflicting views.

Deke

To physically outmaneuver an opponent. Typically in hockey.

Pogie

Derived from slang from our Scottish friends, “pogie” means being on welfare or social assistance.

Molson muscle

A beer belly.

Head’r

To leave. Head out. Duck out. Get out of there. “The meatloaf was superb, mom, but we’ve gotta head’r.”

Snowbird

Typically, this means a retired Canadian who travels south for the winter. Usually to tacky parts of Florida or Arizona.

Rotten Ronnie’s / McDicks

Terms of ‘endearment’ for McDonald’s.

Booze can

An after-hours bar. They’re typically illegal, so shhhhh. Don’t tell your American friends.

Thongs

No, we’re not talking g-strings. Thongs are the casual style of footwear that you wear to the beach, the pool or the gym’s communal showers. Might still be known as flip-flops.

Give’r!

To really, truly go for it. All out. Pedal to the metal.

Loonie and toonie

The perfectly reasonable-sounding names of our one and two-dollar coins.

Soaker or booter

When you step in a puddle or snow bank and the water penetrates your poor unsuspecting shoes.

Double-double

A coffee with two milk and two sugar. Often ordered at Tim Horton’s.

If any of these confuse any Americans, don’t feel badly. Some of them are age-specific, or regional, and confuse the rest of us Canucks, too.

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Flash Fiction # 106

Monkey Bar

PHOTO PROMPT- ©Ted Strutz

MONKEY BARS

I took a day off to get my car fixed, but it still needed a part. My boss, the bar owner, picked me up and drove me to work.  While he unloaded some things from the van, I proceeded inside.

I’ve never opened before. Where are the light switches?  I took another step in, and suddenly…IT lunged at me from the dark.

Slamming the door shut I asked, “How could you leave your pet Chimpanzee loose?”

“Chimpanzee??!” He flicked on the lights.

“What’s that mirror doing there?”

“Just reflecting I guess. I put it up yesterday.  Do you like it?”

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story

Flash Fiction #105

Flood

PHOTO PROMPT © Janet Webb

TAKING A LEAK

Wow, where did this parking-lot puddle….uh, lake come from?? We haven’t had rain in weeks.

We had a big power failure here yesterday, caused by everybody running their air conditioners in this heat wave. Lasted for hours.

Yeah, so??

You know the big party store at the end of the mall? The one who claims he’s got tons of ice for your drinks?  After a couple of hours, his dead freezer started to leak.  He was yelling at people to take away as much ice for free, as they wanted.  Three guys with cartfuls, got that far, in the sun.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

 

Flash Fiction #73

Gutter

PHOTO PROMPT © C.E. Ayr

NEFARIOUS NEGATION

He surreptitiously followed her as she tottered out of the bar into the dark.  The cheap booze and clunky heels made her bodycheck a couple of buildings before stumbling left onto East 48th Street

He mustn’t lose this one.  She’d be SO enjoyable!  As he quickly sidled toward the corner, he could hear/feel a vibration – a deep hum.  A bright, blue-white light bathed the intersection.

When both had died away, he cautiously poked his head around the corner, to see only an empty street – no, there, in the gutter.  Now where had that drunk bitch gone with only one shoe?

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

***

I extend a wish for a happy and joyous Thanksgiving to all my American readers.  Enjoy, but watch out for DUIs and too much turkey.  After the fuss raised about Starbucks’ ‘War On Christmas’, which is really Commercial, not Christian, I was pleased to see last evening, TV ads for three large store chains who are staying closed for Thanksgiving day.

‘appy Bleedin’ Birfday!

 

So, there I was, lying on the couch, moaning about how shitty this cold was making me feel,  taking the occasional hit from the 55 gallon drum of cough medicine that I got at Costco.  Suddenly the computer beeped, and I found that I had an email from the great and glorious    H E Ellis.  The Princess of Party Organisers reminded me that April 15 was the birthday of the young Beauteous Brit, Megan Stephenson, over at Very Normal.  Suddenly, the sun shone, and I felt much better.  Americans have to pay their income taxes today, but I still have two weeks.

Today, Megan achieves official adulthood.  Since we all know that she would never illegally imbibe alcohol, we thought that each of us could concoct a mixed drink to help her celebrate this momentous occasion.  Madame Booze and I have been divorced for a long time.  When we separated, she got custody of half my working brain cells.  In a cough-medicine-enhanced haze, I have devised;

 

The Maudlin Megan

1 jigger rye whiskey

1 jigger Navy rum

1 jigger Beefeater gin

1 jigger grain alcohol

4 jiggers grape juice

Mix well, pour over crushed ice, serve in an ale tankard.  Subsequent drinks may be served in a dog’s bowl.  You’ll be face down on the floor anyway.  🙂

This stuff will guarantee to help you forget some inconvenient truths, like birthdays.  You may double the quantities if your misery loves company.  A few of these will put hair on your chest.  It might be Last-Call Larry’s toupee, but, at least you won’t spend your birthday night alone.  Welcome to adulthood, Megan.

For such a seemingly callow young-‘un, she publishes a surprisingly mature blog.  It would be well worth your while, and hers, to click on over and wish her a very happy British birthday in person.  Click on the link above, and enjoy!

 

ARCHON

Purple Jesus

I wonder already, how many of you know what I’m talking about, and how many are just shaking your heads, confused and wondering.  Did you ever go to college or university?  Did you ever get really wasted on booze?  Did these two things happen more or less in conjunction?  Chances are, you know about Purple Jesus.

Purple Jesus is the drink of choice for those who want to be a little more upscale than those who merely swill beer.  It’s the all-you-can-drink buffet served by folks who want to throw a party you won’t remember.  There’s supposed to be a recipe for it.  One bottle of Rye, one bottle of rum, one bottle of gin, and one bottle of pure, unflavored alcohol.  All “bottles” are 26ers in Canada, and fifths in the USA.  For each bottle added to the communal pot, a 48 ounce can of Welch’s Grape Juice is stirred in.

In practice, it includes whatever the BYOB guests bring.  It all gets covered by the taste of the grape juice anyway.  At the party I attended, the mixing was done in a huge canning kettle.  With two universities and a large Community College in town, there are tales of bathtubs in the students dorms, stained permanently purple.  Scrub and rinse the tub, put in a new stopper, and you’re ready to party.

The little bash I attended was supposed to be a lease-breaking party.  Two friends had signed a year’s lease, but wanted to move to a handier location after eight months.  The landlord wouldn’t let them sub-let, and didn’t want to be bothered screening a new tenant, hence, The Party.

Newly married, the wife and I arrived on-time, to find the shindig already under way.  All chairs and sofas were full, so we wound up sitting on a couple of cushions on the floor.  A short while later, we were joined by a hippie couple and their male, deodorized, pet skunk.  Cute little fellow, (the skunk) friendlier than any cat.

All of us sucked back the PJ, except the hippies; they toked up and added a contact high to the room.  They lived on the seventh floor of another apartment building, and the next day, the skunk committed suicide by walking off the balcony, or so they claimed.  Poor thing, probably thought it could fly.

Our hostess served each of us a twelve-ounce glass of this witch’s-brew, as we sat on the cushions.  The stuff goes down like Kool-Aid.  Twenty minutes later, my glass was empty.  I went to stand up to get a refill, but the hostess told me to sit, and got it for me.  Twenty minutes later, my glass was empty, again!  With no hostess in sight, I lithely arose….and apparently an earthquake tipped the building.  Holy S**t, I think I’ll just collapse sit here and coast for a while.

The party was in the middle of February, but with that many people, the doors to the snow-covered balcony were left open.  The first glass you get with the ladle.  Perhaps the second glass you get, you use the ladle.  By the third glass….ah, t’hell widdit, just dip the glass into the pot, and get grape-coated fingers.

One of the partiers did this, and then stepped out for some fresh air.  Seeing the humor potential only a drunkaholic would, he grabbed a small handful of snow, and tossed it at one of his friends.  At least it struck the wall in the same room.  The person splattered by the ricochet got up, went to the kitchen, dipped out another glassful of the magical elixir by hand, grabbed some snow, and tried to return the favor.  Soon, it looked like a pie-fight in one of the Three Stooges movies.

When the gaiety subsided because everyone was out of breath, the walls were decorated with dozens of little purple exclamation points.  The grape-encrusted snow had hit the walls, melted and run down, leaving purple tracks.  Maybe my ears were anesthetized, I didn’t think the noise level got too high.  The next day, the landlord came up to complain, and saw all the marks on the wall.  It cost them the price of repainting the room, but they got their wish.  They were out by the end of the month.

Ah, the good old days, when we were invulnerable.  Now, if I have a second small glass of Pepsi, I pay for it the next day.  Never *regular* partiers, both the wife and I cut back when we got married.  Did any of you party hardy when you were young and foolish?  Are you foolish enough to think you still can?  KayJai and her booze-cruise buddies need not respond to this poll.  They are exempt from self-incrimination.