Come Again? 13 Things Canadians Say that Confuse Americans

Though they share an expansive border of 5525 miles, Americans and Canadians are often at odds with the meaning of things.

But They’re Both English, Right?

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While both languages are technically English, the difference between the two can, at times, be stark.

Canada tends to favor British English spelling, while America prefers to do things their own way.

1. Hydro Bill

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The United States might have hydropower sources, but in Canada, hydropower is the primary source of electricity. So, rather than an electrical bill, Canadians receive a hydro bill. 

2. Going Out for a Rip

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Nothing to do with tides; going out for a rip in Canada means going for a drive, excursion, or snowmobile ride.

3. Paying with Loonies and Toonies

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Words that sound straight out of a Dr. Seuss storybook, loonies and toonies are actually Canadian slang for one-dollar and two-dollar coins. 

4. Parkade

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Why say parking lot when you could say parkade? In Canada, a multi-level parking lot is officially referred to as a parkade. 

5. A Double-Double

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For a morning boost, an American citizen may order an espresso or even a venti latte.

In Canada, however, a double-double refers to a coffee prepared with two creams and two sugars. 

6. Hang a Larry or Roger

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Though it sounds morbid, hanging a Larry or hanging a Roger actually implies a left or right turn while driving. Larry for ‘left’ and roger for ‘right.’

7. Chirping or Beaking Somebody

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You might guess kissing, but these bird-like verbs actually mean ‘to make fun of.’ 

8. You’re a Keener

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As inferred, a keener is an overly-keen individual. The term is similar to brown-nosing and absolutely not what you want to be called by your boss. 

9. Don’t Forget Your Toque

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A toque is essential for the cold Canadian winters. It’s a warm winter hat!

10. Bring a Mickey

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Not referring to a particularly famous mouse, a Mickey in Canada is actually a standard-sized bottle of liquor. 

11. A Bunny-Hug

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Sounds sweet? A bunny-hug is almost exclusively used in Saskatchewan, a western province in Canada.

It refers to what Americans might call a hoodie. 

12. Canuck

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While not an endearment, ‘canuck’ can be close.

It refers to an authentic Canadian, often carrying a sense of camaraderie. 

13. Rink Rat

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Spend a lot of time down at the ice rink? You may find this title following you.

Canada is top of the world leaderboard in Ice Hockey, so this term is likely used frequently.

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Language Lines Becoming Blurred 

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With the number of Canadian citizens in the United States fast approaching one million, it is possible that these phrases may become part of the dialect very soon.

Whether the practical parkade is the first to approach or the favorite loonies and toonies, only time will tell.

This article was produced by TPR Teaching.

Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.

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