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Alternative forms[edit]


1835 Kanuk (US), 1849 canuck (Canadian), origin Unknown.


  • IPA(key): /kəˈnʌk/
  • Hyphenation: Can‧uck
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌk


Canuck (plural Canucks)

  1. (Canada, informal) A Canadian.
    • 1849, James Edward Alexander, L'Acadie; or, Seven Years' Explorations in British America, v 1, London: Henry Colburn, pp 272–3:
      We saw a few partridges: we also met a lusty fellow in a forest road with a keg of whisky slung round him, who called to us ‘Come boys and have some grog, I'm what you call a canuck:’ a (Canadian).
  2. (chiefly US slang, often derogatory) A Canadian, especially a French Canadian.
    • 1835, Henry Cook Todd, Notes Upon Canada and the United States, page 92:
      Jonathan distinguishes a Dutch or a French Canadian, by the term Kanuk.
    • 1889, John G. Donkin, Trooper and Redskin in the Far North-West: Recollections of Life in the North-West Mounted Police, Canada, 1884-1888, Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, & Rivington, p 148:
      It is a pity these Canadian militiamen spoilt the good work they had done by never-failing bluster. But for pure and unadulterated brag I will back the lower-class Canuck against the world. The Yankee is a very sucking dove compared to his northern neighbour.
  3. The French-Canadian dialect.
    • 1904, Holman Francis Day, “Song of the Men o' the Ax: Verse Stories of the Plain Folk Who Are Keeping Bright the Old Home Fires Up in Maine”, in Kin o' Ktaadn, p 145:
      On the deacon-seat in the leapin' heat / With the corn-cobs drawin' cool and sweet, / And timin' the fiddle with tunkin' feet, / A hundred men and a chorus. / “Roule, roulant, ma boule roulant,” / all Canuck but a good song; / Lift it up then, good and strong, / for a cozy night's before us.
  4. (rare) A thing from Canada.
    • 1887: Grip (Toronto), 19 February, p 3:
      Who'll buy my caller herrin'? / Cod, turbot, ling, delicious herrin', / Buy my caller herrin', / They're every one Kanucks!
  5. (US, obsolete) A Canadian pony or horse.
    • 1860, Josiah Gilbert Holland, Miss Gilbert's Career: An American Story, page 25:
      I'll sit here and blow till he comes round with his old go-cart, and then I'll hang on to the tail of it, and try legs with that little Kanuck of his.
  6. (ice hockey) A member of the Vancouver Canucks professional NHL ice hockey team.
  7. The Avro Canada CF-100 fighter-interceptor.

Usage notes[edit]

In Canada, the term is not derogatory, and is considered to apply to all Canadians. In the United States the term is often considered derogatory, and is particularly derogatory when applied to French Canadians in New England.


Derived terms[edit]



Canuck (comparative more Canuck, superlative most Canuck)

  1. (informal, occasionally construed as derogatory) Canadian.
    • 1887, Grip (Toronto), 5 March, pp 1–2:
      Well, what do you think of the Canuck elections?


Further reading[edit]