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"Canuck" 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 or patriotic. Prominent examples of such use: Despite being superheroes, Johnny Canuck and Captain Canuck possess no superpowers. In 1995, Canada Post released 45-cent postage stamps depicting them.

"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.

External links


The Oxford Companion To The English Language
Oxford English Dictionary

See also: Yankee, a nickname for "an American".