Shawn Mendes teaches Canadian slang words to Americans

By Alexandra Heilbron on December 16, 2020 | 9 Comments

Shawn Mendes in video for Vanity FairShawn Mendes talks about Canadian slang and gives examples during a video with Vanity Fair (see full video below), in which he describes words and sayings he grew up with in Pickering, Ontario. Read them and see if you’re familiar with any of these phrases!

First off, he talks about a “mickey,” which in Canada means a 375 ml bottle of liquor, as opposed to “Two-Six,” which refers to the 750 ml (or 26 ounce) bottle. In the U.S., mickey is slang for a date rape drug.

He explains that a “snowbird” is someone who goes to Florida for the winter; a “loafter” is someone who takes their time when you’re waiting for them to do something because they’re “loafting” around; and “beauty,” which means that someone’s a good person.

He also reveals that his friends never say “What’s up,” instead asking each other, “What are you saying?” or even “What you saying,” which means “What’s going on, What are you doing?”

“That’s jokes” means “That’s funny,” a “toque” is a winter hat known as a beanie in the U.S., and “darts” are cigarettes, which Shawn calls “gross.”

The expression “bare” means “a lot,” and he gives the example of a friend asking if there’s enough food and he says, “Yeah, we got bare food.”

Shawn reveals that when he asked where the washroom was while he was in America, he just got confused looks, because it’s referred to as the bathroom in the States (even when it’s a public restroom that doesn’t have a bath).

He adds, “I love being Canadian. I love these words that we use.”

Which of these words do you use? Are any of these new to you? Tell us below in the comments! ~Alexandra Heilbron

Don’t forget to watch Shawn Mendes: In Wonder, now streaming on Netflix.

Comments & Discussion

  1. Angela • December 16, 2020 @ 4:52 PM

    I’ve never heard of loafter. Or bare for plenty. For me, bare means the opposite, like a bare cupboard is an empty one. Haven’t heard of darts for cigarettes but definitely That’s jokes is like that’s hilarious. I didn’t know it was Canadian though, I thought that came from the States, so that’s cool!

  2. 100nadian • December 17, 2020 @ 10:58 AM

    What planet is he from? The slang words he mentioned I never heard of them and I am a second generation Canadian.

  3. Rikkitikkitavi • December 17, 2020 @ 11:24 AM

    I’m up first gen Canadian, and darts is a term used on the Prairies. I’ve heard of mickey and 2-6, two fer for a case of beer, but never heard of loafting or bare for alot! Some are regional and don’t apply to all of Canada. Anyone know what gitch or gaut h means?? It’s a Winnipeg thing as is the social!

  4. 101percentCdn • December 17, 2020 @ 12:05 PM

    We use Mickey for a bottle and we use Two-four for a case of beer. We used smoke for cigarettes. I’m in Ontario, many generations in. The other slang must be a generational thing. Also, Sean should get a haircut, this hair does not suit him. His girlfriend must like long hair.

  5. Jean Nadeau • December 17, 2020 @ 1:01 PM

    Mickey, toque and washroom, I’m familiar with, but I’ve never heard any of the other expressions.

  6. Seaswirl • December 17, 2020 @ 1:20 PM

    I recognize most of those (especially the alcohol ones). I went to school in the States and the words that always got laughs from my classmates when I used them were: serviette (napkin), knapsack (backpack), bank machine (ATM), garburator (garbage disposal), and line-up (line).

  7. Mi Russ • December 17, 2020 @ 2:25 PM

    Serviette? in Florida- asked -“where y’all from,France?” Washroom time.

  8. sasmi • December 17, 2020 @ 6:42 PM

    Try asking for cutlery in the States…guaranteed to get a blank stare (translation for US readers = silverware). Or ask for a tin of pop….again, no clue but if you change it to a can of pop they are all over it. Don’t forget the last letter of the alphabet in the US it is zee but throw a zed at them and you’ll be repeating yourself over and over. If you want to try to identify a US citizen by just talking to them listen to how they say “sorry”. It will sound more like sarri.

  9. Reign • December 17, 2020 @ 11:21 PM

    Anyone remember ‘ HALLOWE’EN Apples !!!!!! ‘ instead of Trick or Treat ?
    Everybody thinks I’m looney ,but ,that’s what we said here — Manitoba .

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