A Vancouver Sun story by Karenn Krangle discusses a worthwhile lexicographical project:

The rewriting of Canada’s historical dictionary begins not with the letter A but with C. For Canuck.

That quintessentially Canadian term, which defines us, makes fun of us, sometimes brings joy to sports fans and has a history older than Confederation, is a starting point for lexicographer Stefan Dollinger, who hopes Canadians will get to know their language a little better.

Dollinger leads a University of B.C. project to revise the Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles, which lists 10,000 words of significance to Canada, each with its own history.

The 927-page, one-volume dictionary was published in 1967 out of the University of Victoria and hadn’t been updated. But with 40 years of explosive technological change, economic growth and significant shifts in the population, the dictionary has become outdated….

The new edition has a website here. Thanks for the news link, Marja-Leena!

Update (May 2021). The Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles website is now here.


  1. And because I don’t want the other large British outpost to be forgotten, here’s a list of Australian slang, unfortunately without the historical information:

  2. I can’t believe the first one missed “butter tart.” And now I wonder if it had “Nanaimo bars.” What about “Mandarin oranges?”
    Hmm. I’m hungry all of a sudden.

  3. Wouldn’t that be a ‘Q’ for Qanuk? (Yup’ik word for “snowflake”)

  4. Not unless you’re writing a dictionary of Yup’ik.

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