" is a term for "Canadian
" in American English
and Canadian English
, sometimes meaning "French Canadian
" in particular, especially when used in the Northeast of the United States and in Canada.
The term was coined in the 19th century, although its etymology is unclear. Possibilities include:
The use of "Canuck" by Canadians themselves can be, and usually is, nationalistic
. Prominent examples of such use:
- The Vancouver Canucks hockey team
- Johnny Canuck, a personification of Canada who appeared in early political cartoons of the 1860s resisting Uncle Sam's bullying. Johnny Canuck was revived in 1942 by Leo Bachle to defend against the Nazis.
- In 1975 in comics by Richard Comely, Captain Canuck is a super-agent for Canadians' security, with Kebec (claimed to be unrelated to Capitaine KÚbec of a French-Canadian comic published two years earlier) being his sidekick. The captain was reintroduced in the mid-1990s.
Despite being superheroes
, Johnny Canuck and Captain Canuck possess no superpowers. In 1995
, Canada Post
released 45-cent postage stamps
"Canuck" is a nickname for the Curtiss JN4 and Avro CF-100 aircraft.
The use of "Canuck" parallels that of some other potentially offensive nicknames, that is, when used by the people it names -- Canadians in this case -- it is usually acceptable. But when used by an outsider -- in this case particularly American strangers -- it can be easily misinterpreted and deemed as insulting one's heritage. Although it is not as severe as most ethnic slurs, some consider it one.
One of the first uses of "Canuck" -- in the form of "Kanuk"-- specifically referred to Dutch Canadians as well the French.
"Canuck" also have the rare derived meanings of a Canadian pony and a French-Canadian patois▓ (very rare).
A Canuck Avenue exists in Toronto.
╣ The Oxford Companion To The English Language
▓ Oxford English Dictionary
See also: Yankee, a nickname for "an American".