Year everyone! I thought really hard about what to write this week and after reading an article in our Vancouver Sun newspaper, I thought I'd share some "Canadianisms" that leave other English speakers confused.
1. Mickey - I think most Americans would think of "Mickey Mouse" or a particular date rape drug, but you're wrong! In Canada, a mickey is a 375-mL bottle of liquor. It's quite common to say, "Let's pick up a mickey on our way to the party." Other liquor-related "isms are "two four" (a case of 24 beer), "twenty-sixer" (a 750 mL bottle of liquor), and "forty-pounder" (a 1.14 litre bottle of liquor).
2. Toque - Canadians wear toques for half the year (well, not in my little corner of Lotusland). They're knitted caps. By the way, it's pronounced "tooook."
3. Freezies - These are popsicles that come in a plastic sleeve. Kids everywhere in Canada beg for freezies all summer long. Moms buy them in cases and store them in their garage freezers.
4. Pablum - This is a food product made of a mixture of bone meal, corn meal, vitamins and grains that you mix with warm water to feed babies. (Of course, one could also use "Pablum" to refer to Justin Trudeau's speeches as he tries to garner support for the federal Liberal party but that's another story.)
5. Parkade - In the United States, these are called parking garages or parking decks. They are multi-storied areas in downtown - where you park your car so you can shop at the adjoining mall.
6. Pencil Crayons - Americans call these "coloured pencils" and the British call the "colouring pencils." It's possible the term came from the French "crayon de couleur."
7. Robertson screwdriver - This screwdriver was invented by P.L. Robertson (from Ontario) and is superior to its Phillips-head cousins. Only 16% of Commonwealth people and 5% of Americans recognized the name.
8. Hooped - 54% of Canadians use this term to mean "broken" or "useless" as in if your car's engine is seized, the car's hooped. This is purely a western Canadian expression.
Year with a bit more trivia to add to your repertoire. Hope everyone has a wonderful 2014.
- Delta, British Columbia, Canada
- I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.