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Most Used French Canadian Words

There are words in Québec French that refer specifically to French Canadian culture and that’s why they do not exist in Metropolitan French, such as “poutine” or “dépanneur”.
Well for the word “dépanneur” that’s another story actually, as the word “dépanneur” does exist in Metropolitan French. But it is used to refer to a mechanic or an electrician that comes to your place for repairing, whereas this word in Québec French refers to a small grocery store.

And because of its isolation from France during the British rule in the 1700s, some words are used in Quebec, yet have no longer been used in France for decades or centuries. For example, the verb “pogner” comes from the word “la pogne”, which is an old Metropolitan French word meaning “la main” (the hand).

List of Quebec French words and their equivalent in Metropolitan French

french canadian words, Most Used French Canadian WordsLe chandail

Note that Québécois will perfectly understand Metropolitan French words. But they will prefer to use the Quebec French word in everyday conversations with other francophones from Quebec.

Most Used French Canadian Words - 1

to go out and partysortir en soirée
to chat, in personbavarder
to lock the doorfermer à clef
sweater/t-shirtun pull/un t-shirt
purseun sac à main
it’s cold / weatheril fait froid
it’s rainingil pleut
French friesdes frites
to take a walkfaire une promenade
convenience storeune épicerie/supérette
it’s all goodc’est parfait
carune voiture
to catch, grabattraper, prendre
from puis / andet
girlfriend (romantic only)une petite amie
boyfriend (romantic or not)un copain

Canadian Suffixes

french canadian words, Most Used French Canadian WordsLe flanage

Québécois tend to use more suffixes than French people, in particular suffixes such as “–eux”, “-age” or “-able”:

Most Used French Canadian Words - 2

one can not speak to him/heril est pas parlable
strollingle flânage
pot smokertun poteux

Words Borrowed From Other Languages


french canadian words, Most Used French Canadian WordsLa gomme

Québec French vocabulary is distinctive from Metropolitan French; primarily due to the strong influence of the English language upon it. Also called Anglicisms, the borrowed English words are even more obvious in spoken Québec French.

So just as French people, people from Quebec do use a lot of English words, yet they use different anglicisms:

Most Used French Canadian Words - 3

bubblegumla gomme (le chewing-gum)
to fall in lovetomber en amour
jobfermer à clef
the mopla moppe
it’s cute c’est joli
destroyed – obviously it comes from the word f$ckfocké
to checkchecker
cell phoneun téléphone portable

You will notice that Quebec French has words that are taken directly from English, which makes it very easy to memorize and use! (“la gomme”, “la job”, “c’est cute”)

Sometimes the English word has been changed to the point that it sounds like a French word:

Most Used French Canadian Words - 4

to cheat someone = in fur wrapenfirouaper
cookroom : a tiny room, a shedun coqueron
toilet = backhouseune bécosse

Attempts to limit the use of Anglicisms

french canadian words, Most Used French Canadian WordsMagasiner

However, with the Quiet Revolution, the nationalist sentiment in Quebec prompted French Canadians to want to limit the use of Anglicisms, especially in formal speeches. In spoken language, when Quebec French uses too many anglicisms, it is called “franglais”, and it is a derogatory term.

And that is why ‘L’Office de la Langue Française’ in Quebec regularly creates neologisms to limit the use of anglicism:

Most Used French Canadian Words - 5

(email) → this word is a contraction of “courri-er” (letter) and “el-ectronicun courriel
(to chat) → this word is a mix of “clav-ier” (keyboard) and “bav-arder” (to have a chat)clavarder
faire du shopping — (to go shopping)magasiner

Words borrowed from Amerindian languages

french canadian words, Most Used French Canadian WordsLe caribou

Words borrowed in Quebec French are not limited to English only. Some are borrowed from the Aboriginal languages to which early settlers were exposed during colonization:

Most Used French Canadian Words - 6

cranberriesun atoka
reindeerun caribou
a bull-frogun ouaouaron
smokela boucane
mosquitosun maringouin
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