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Canuck facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts

"Canuck" is a slang term for Canadian people.


The term was first used in the 19th century, although its etymology (origin) is not clear. Some possibilities are:

  • kanata1 "village"
  • Canada + -uc (Algonquian noun suffix)
  • Canada + -inuk (Inuit for "man")
  • Connaught, a rarely-used term for Irish-French-Canadians.

Usage and examples

When "Canuck" is used by Canadians, the meaning is usually affectionate, friendly or patriotic.

The history and use of the term include:

  • The Vancouver Canucks hockey team
  • The Canada national rugby union team Canucks
  • The Crazy Canucks, a group of Canadian alpine ski racers who were active in the '70s.
  • Johnny Canuck, an image of Canadians in early political cartoons of the 1860s resisting Uncle Sam's bullying. Johnny Canuck was used again in 1942 by Leo Bachle to defend Canada against the Nazis.
  • In 1975 in comics by Richard Comely, Captain Canuck is a super-agent for Canadians' security, with Redcoat and Kebec being his sidekicks. (Kebec is claimed to be unrelated to Capitaine Kébec of a French-Canadian comic published two years earlier.) Captain Canuck had enhanced strength and endurance thanks to being bathed in alien rays during a camping trip. The captain was reintroduced in the mid-1990s, and again in 2004.
  • Operation Canuck was the name of a British Special Air Service raid led by a Canadian captain, Buck McDonald in January 1945.
  • "The Dark Canuck" is a song on The Tragically Hip's album In Violet Light.
  • In 1995, Canada Post released 45-cent postage stamps showing Johnny Canuck and Captain Canuck.
  • "Canuck" is a nickname for the Curtiss JN4 and Avro CF-100 aircraft.
  • One of the first uses of "Canuck" – in the form of "Kanuk" – specifically referred to Dutch Canadians as well as French Canadians.
  • Team Canuck is a small-sized team at RoboCup.
  • North Plainfield High School Canucks, is the mascot of this High School in New Jersey.
  • "Canuck Rubber", a reference to Canadian Tire stores.

The use of "Canuck" is similar to the use of some other potentially offensive nicknames. When it is used by the people it names – Canadians in this case – it is usually acceptable. But when it is used by an outsider it can be thought of as insulting one's heritage.

Related pages

  • Soviet Canuckistan, a derogatory nickname for Canada.
  • Canuck Letter
  1. Random House Dictionary
  2. The Oxford Companion To The English Language
  3. Oxford English Dictionary
  4. Unkind Words : Ethnic Labeling from Redskin to WASP - Irving Lewis Allen ISBN: 0-89789-217-8

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Canuck para niños

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