why are canadians called canucks

This is why Canadians are called Canucks

Why are Canadians called Canucks? Well, it turns out that there are two competing theories for the nickname, each of which is plausible. But first, some background.

The nickname first appeared in print in 1835, when an American distinguished "a Dutch or French Canadian, by the term Kanuk."

Since then, the term has been used by an NHL team (hi, Vancouver Canucks), a group of downhill ski racers, and even to describe Canadians in a political cartoon.

Some people find the term offensive. Others consider it a badge of honour. But regardless of what you think of it, one thing is certain: the word uniquely describes Canadians.

Here's where "Canuck" might come from.

Canuck comes from "Canada"

Much like "Aussie" is short for an Australian, and "Brit" is short for a British person, "Canuck" could be short for Canadian.

This theory makes a lot more sense when you think about how the word Canada is derived from the Iroquoian word "kanata," meaning a settlement or village.

Kanata? Canuck? It kind of makes sense.

The Hawaii connection

On the other hand, the word "Canuck" may actually have nothing to do with Canada, according to some experts.

Instead, the word comes from "kanaka:" a Hawaiian word for a human being that quickly became a slang term that was hurled at any foreigner, especially one who had a darker skin colour than Americans of British or Irish origin.

Two centuries ago, many Canadians had a mixture of French and Indigenous ancestry — and the word evolved to refer solely to them, before eventually expanding to all of Canada.

Regardless of the word's origins, it certainly contributes to Canadians' sense of national identity (alongside Tim Hortons and poutine). Let's be proud of being Canucks, eh?

Lead photo by

CSI


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