Attested since 1835 as Kanuk (in US writings) and 1849 as canuck (in Canadian writings). Of unknown origin, often hypothesized to derive from the name or speech of an early Canadian minority, later broadened to denote all Canadians.
- Some dictionaries suggest it is an alteration of Canada, which in any case ensured the spelling Can-, or that word's etymon Laurentian kanata (“village”), or a related word kanuchsa meaning "villager" in that or another Iroquoian language.
- Some sources connect the ending to Inuktitut inuk (“man, person”), from Chinook (“Aboriginal people of the U.S. Pacific Northwest”), or another First-Nation language ending like -uc, -uq, or -oc.
- Since 1975, many scholars have come to think the name is from Hawaiian kanaka (“man”), a self-appellation of indentured colonial canoemen and Hawaiian sailors working off the Pacific Northwest, Arctic, and New England coasts, via French canaque or (more likely) American whalers' pidgin, and then been re-interpreted as Can(adian) + a suffix. Compare English Kanak and French canaque (“black person”), German Kanake.
- Fanciful suggestions include German genug von Canada (“enough of Canada”) (allegedly uttered by German mercenaries during the American War of Independence), or French quelle canule (allegedly uttered by the French during a siege of Quebec), or the surname Connaught /ˈkɑ.nəxt/ (supposedly a French-Canadian nickname for the Irish).
- (Canada, US, informal, sometimes derogatory) A Canadian, sometimes especially a French Canadian.
- 1849, James Edward Alexander, L'Acadie; or, Seven Years' Explorations in British America, v 1, London: Henry Colburn, pp 272–3:
- 1889, John G. Donkin, Trooper and Redskin in the Far North-West: Recollections of Life in the North-West Mounted Police, Canada, 1884-1888, Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, & Rivington, page 148:
- The French-Canadian dialect.
- 1904, Holman Francis Day, “Song of the Men o' the Ax: Verse Stories of the Plain Folk Who Are Keeping Bright the Old Home Fires Up in Maine”, in Kin o' Ktaadn, page 145:
- (まれに) A thing from Canada.
- (US, obsolete) A Canadian pony or horse.
- (ice hockey) A member of the Vancouver Canucks professional NHL ice hockey team.
- The Avro Canada CF-100 fighter-interceptor.
In Canada, the term is not derogatory, and is considered to apply to all Canadians. When used by non-Canadians, especially in the United States, the term is often considered derogatory, particularly when applied to French Canadians in New England.
- “Canuck ((n.))” and “Canuck ((adj.))” in the Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles, W.J. Gage, 1967.
- “Canuck” in the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, Second Edition, Oxford University Press, 2004.
- Adler, Jacob and Mitford M. Mathews (1975), “The Etymology of Canuck” in American Speech, v 50, n 1/2 (Spring–Summer), pp 158–60.
- Allen, Irving Lewis (1981), The Language of Ethnic Conflict, pp 56, 128–29. Columbia University Press. →ISBN.
- Safire, William (2008), Safire's Political Dictionary, page 100. Oxford University Press. →ISBN.
- Sledd, James (1978). “What Are We Going to Do about It Now That We're Number One?” in American Speech, v 53, n 3 (Autumn), pp 171–98.
- “Canuck” in Dictionary.com Unabridged, Dictionary.com, LLC, 1995–present.
- ^ “Canuck” in Merriam–Webster Online Dictionary.
- Irving Lewis Allen, Unkind Words: Ethnic Labeling from Redskin to WASP, pages 59 and 61–62 (1990, New York: Bergin & Garvey, →ISBN)
- ^ “Canuck” in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press.
- “Canuck” in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th edition, Boston, Mass.: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016, →ISBN.
- ^ Bill Casselman, Casselman's Canadian Words (1995, →ISBN)
- ^ W. W. Schuhmacher, “Once More Canuck” in American Speech, volume 64, number 2 (Summer), 1989, page 149
- ^ “Canuck” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2019.
- ^ “Canuck” in the Collins English Dictionary
- Stefan Dollinger, “Towards a fully revised and extended edition of the Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles (DCHP-2): background, challenges, prospects” in Historical Sociolinguistics/Sociohistorical Linguisics (Leiden, NL), volume 6
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