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We're Crowdsourcing a Canadian Dictionary, Eh?

Lisa Lepki

Lisa Lepki

CMO and Editor of the ProWritingAid Blog

Published Sep 13, 2018

Canadian Dictionary

Hey Canucks!

As the only Canadian on the ProWritingAid team, it's been down to me to fight for the rights of the True North. The fact that we spell words slightly differently than our Southern neighbours is as important to our culture as those extra ten yards on the football field or the right to celebrate Thanksgiving in October.

Starting this week, when you log on to the ProWritingAid web editor you will now be able to choose between American, British, Australian or Canadian English!

If I had a loonie for every time a Canadian writer asked for this, I would have enough for a dozen double-doubles AND a box of timbits.

We think we have sorted out most of the Canadian spellings (color vs colour, etc.), but we don't want to stop there. We want the Canadian dictionary to include Canadian words and expressions too. I've started a list below, but I need your help. Let's crowdsource this Canadian-style.

Add your own Canadianisms in the comments and, if they can be verified by at least two other Canadians, we will add them to the dictionary.

Ready? Give'r!

  • A toboggan is a sled.

  • A caesar is a type of cocktail.

  • A Canadian tuxedo is a blue denim jacket worn with blue jeans.

  • A timbit is a doughnut hole at Tim Hortons.

  • Pencil crayons are coloured pencils.

  • A parkade is a carpark.

  • A hydro bill is a utility bill.

  • A housecoat is a bathrobe (American) or dressing gown (UK).

  • Postal code is zip code.

  • A toque/Tuque is a knit hat for winter.

  • A garburator is a sink disposal unit.

  • Eavestroughs are rain gutters.

  • A loonie is a Canadian dollar coin.

  • A twonie is a Canadian two-dollar coin.

  • Give'r means to really go for it.

  • Thongs are flip flops.

  • Snowbirds are Canadian people who travel to warmer climates like Florida for the winter.

  • A Molson muscle is a beer belly.

  • If you are on pogie/pogey then you are on welfare.

  • To deke is to fake going one way and then go the other.

  • A kerfuffle is a minor scuffle or moment of confusion.

  • A chesterfield is a sofa.

  • A line-up/lineup is a queue.

  • A two-four is a case of 24 beers.

  • A mickey is a 13-ounce bottle of hard liquor.

  • Runners are any kind of sports footwear.

  • Washroom is the restroom (American) or toilet/loo (UK).

  • A knapsack is a backpack.

  • A keener is someone who is a bit too enthusiastic.

  • A Stag is a bachelor party.

  • A chinook is an unseasonably warm wind that blows up from the south over the Rockies.

  • A dart is a cigarette.

  • Elastics are rubber bands.

  • Poutine is french fries covered in cheese curds and gravy.

  • Nanaimo bar is a layered brownie dessert.

  • Tortier is a French Canadian meat pie.

  • A mountie is a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

  • Girl guides are girl scouts.

  • Clicks are kilometres.

  • The Leafs are a hockey team, not just poorly pluralised leaves.

That's what I've come up with so far. What words have I missed that are truly Canadian? Add them in the comments below.

Thanks in advance for all your help!

Lisa Lepki

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Lisa Lepki

Lisa Lepki

CMO and Editor of the ProWritingAid Blog

Lisa Lepki is ProWritingAid's CMO and the Editor of the ProWritingAid blog. A word nerd, she loves the technical elements of writing almost as much as the writing itself. She is the co-author of The Novel-Writing Training Plan, Creating Legends: How to craft characters readers adore... or despise!, How to Build Your Author Platform on a Shoestring and 20 Editing Tips from Professional Writers.

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Galoshes are rubber-boots Highways are freeways He's pissed - He's drunk He's pissed off - He's angry Where were you? - Out and about
defence vs defense metre vs meter centre vs center
Great, thanks!
The Canadian Oxford Dictionary has "5,000 new words and senses. It features 2,200 uniquely Canadian words and senses, 350 usage notes, 7,000 idiomatic expressions, 5,500 biographical entries, and over 5,600 place names." Every time they update the dictionary, they add thousands of words! I don't know if ProWritingAid can integrate that dictionary, but it would be great. My American editor bought a copy to edit my novels. On a related note: How can I choose Canadian spelling in the Scrivener integration?
Thank you for the suggestion here! If you have a Mac, here are the instructions to change the language: If you have a Windows computer, here are the instructions to change the language:

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