noun Slang: Sometimes Offensive.

a term used to refer to a Canadian, especially a French Canadian.

Origin of Canuck

1825–35; perhaps ultimately to be identified with kanaka Hawaiian, South Sea islander (< Hawaiian; see kanaka), if the word once identified both French Canadians and such islanders, who both were employed in the Pacific Northwest fur trade; later reanalyzed as Can(adian) + a suffix

Usage note

The term Canuck is perceived as insulting when used by non-Canadians or when referring specifically to French Canadians. But among Canadians, it is sometimes used as a neutral nickname or term of self-reference. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for canuck

Historical Examples of canuck

  • The Canuck was shot in his cabin and a lover of Kit was held for the crime.

  • Why, that Canuck didn't seem to have no more head on him than a hen.

  • The love evinced for cottage adornment would have been lost in a passage through the Canuck settlements of the East.

    A Summer's Outing

    Carter H. Harrison

  • When will the bars be thrown down so that the Canuck and the Yankee can trade as brothers and friends?

    A Summer's Outing

    Carter H. Harrison

  • Of the two wrestlers, one was a veritable giant of a Canuck, swarthy of skin, hairy-chested.

British Dictionary definitions for canuck


noun US and Canadian informal

  1. a Canadian
  2. (formerly) esp a French Canadian

Word Origin for Canuck

C19: of uncertain origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for canuck



1835, perhaps a cross between Canada and Chinook, the native people in the Columbia River region. In U.S., often but not always derogatory. As an adjective from 1853.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper