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.
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?
Freeze pops? We call ’em freezies! Which one is your favourite? Blue, red, orange, purple…
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.
Only in Canada is a parking garage called a parkade. Now to remember where we parked…
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.
Americans like to go sledding in the winter, but Canadians will always prefer tobogganing.
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!
Americans turn on the faucet, but a Canadian gets water out of the tap.
Why use a napkin when you can use something as fancy-sounding as a serviette?
Pencil crayons are a distinctly Canadian term for coloured pencils.
Canadian slang for a cigarette, as in, “I’m heading out behind the dumpster to go have a dart.”
In the U.S., cars get dinged. In Canada, it’s our wallets, as in, “I got dinged 90 bucks for that speeding ticket.”
Rubber bands? In Canada we call them elastics.
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).
Every Canadian knows that this is short for homogenized milk. Evangelical American Christians need not worry.
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.
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.
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.
A knit hat. Worn by everyone in winter and by hipsters over the summer.
A bachelor party. The female equivalent: stagette.
The letter Z
Americans pronounce it zee. Canadians pronounce it zed, much to the detriment of the “Alphabet Song.”
Americans call it the ‘men’s room’ or ‘ladies’ room.’
Rain gutters. Our term sounds way cooler, eh?
A garbage disposal unit found beneath a kitchen sink.
Any kind of athletic footwear.
A 13-ounce (give or take) bottle of hard alcohol.
Gitch or gotch
A very classy term for men’s underwear.
Americans call it a candy bar, which seems weird. To us, gummy worms are candy, ya know?
American Cheese. Make your own joke here.
Measurement used to gauge the combined effect of heat and humidity.
A case of 24 beers. Cans or bottles: your choice!
Slang term for ‘kilometer.’
A couch or sofa.
A scuffle or commotion, typically resulting from conflicting views.
To physically outmaneuver an opponent. Typically in hockey.
Derived from slang from our Scottish friends, “pogie” means being on welfare or social assistance.
A beer belly.
To leave. Head out. Duck out. Get out of there. “The meatloaf was superb, mom, but we’ve gotta head’r.”
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.
An after-hours bar. They’re typically illegal, so shhhhh. Don’t tell your American friends.
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.
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.
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.