Canadian summer slang and idioms

Now that we’ve reached the dog days of summer, you have probably heard some different terms that do not seem to make much sense.  Since Canada has very distinct seasons, we have our share of slang terms and idioms for all of them, so I felt it was time to offer you a small sample of my favourite summer slang terms and idioms.

1.  Molson Muscle (noun): a term of endearment for someone’s large distended belly caused by excessive consumption of beer products.  While this stomach may or may not be caused by the consumption of Molson products, I have yet to hear the term “Labatt Belly” or “Fort Garry Gut.”  Watch for the Molson muscle at recreational sports leagues, fishing derbies and Winnipeg Blue Bomber games.  Synonyms include beer gut, paunch and beer belly.

2.  Farmer Tan (noun): a term for people wearing a T-shirt while working outside, then deciding to walk around shirtless at an outdoor event revealing their brown well-tanned arms but still ghostly white torso.  The classic farmer tan is evident throughout Manitoba but is highly conspicuous at Grand Beach or during Folkfest.  There are no known synonyms, but these tans can also exist around the ankles of golfers.

3.  Two-Four (noun): the largest single box of beer available at the MLCC or local beer stores around the city.  The “two-four” is usually purchased for such events as going up to the lake, having friends over for a patio party or simply when you prefer to buy in bulk.  People who purchase two-fours often sport Molson muscles (see above) and are frequently seen placing these gargantuan boxes of beer into the back of pick-up trucks on their way to Country Fest.  The typical species of two-four are Budweiser, Labatt Lite and Coors Lite, but not craft beers, which are usually found only in “sixers.”

4.  Catch some rays (idiom): not to be confused with ocean sport fishing, these are the sun’s rays and this practice was common in summer until the rapid increase in skin cancer rates hung a black cloud over the activity.  Back in my twenties, we never used “sun block,” in fact we didn’t even know what sun block or suntan lotion were.  To the contrary, we slathered ourselves with light oil to make ourselves tan (or burn) even faster because nobody wanted to look pale in the summer.  Almost thirty years on, we now all look like blistered and weather-beaten old saddle bags, but at least we didn’t have farmer tans.

5.  Raining cats and dogs (idiom): I must first offer the disclaimer that no animals have ever been hurt during this event so DO NOT call the Humane Society if someone tells you this.  Raining “cats and dogs” simply means it’s raining really hard.  This has to be one of the most ridiculous idioms in the English language since I’ve never actually seen cats or dogs falling from the sky. If idioms can be this ridiculous, I’m going to start some of my own.  When it starts hailing, I want us all to say: “it’s hailing octopi.”  See it’s easy to create idioms and nobody ever needs to question what they mean, that’s the beauty of them.

6.  Give’r  and Givin’r (verbs): these are common verbs associated with many activities in summer time such as driving fast, water skiing, drinking your two-four, pedaling your bicycle too fast down a hill, building a deck or anything else involving speed.  Give’r is a general request used in this context:

“Hey, can I have one of your Molson Canadians, eh?” 

“Sure, give’r, eh.” 

Givin’r is often the state or action immediately following that request. 

“Look at him chuggin’ that Molson Canadian, he’s really givin’r.”

7. Blow this popsicle stand (idiom): this generally means it’s time to leave a place and move on to another.  There is a slightly negative connotation to this phrase, since “blowing this popsicle stand” generally means the place is “lame” and you know of a better place to go.  Sometimes this happens when you’ve finished your two-four and have heard there’s a “kegger” party close by.  Sometimes it’s just time to “hit up” a pizza joint, but always keep in mind that popsicles are rarely served at any of these locations and for heaven’s sake, do not take this idiom literally even if you happen to be at a popsicle stand.

So there you have it, seven slang words and idioms that should help you survive and thrive during Manitoba’s summer months.  Keep an eye out for Molson muscles and farmer tans and don’t forget to give’r with whatever you plan to do in summer.  Catch some rays, but blow that popsicle stand if it starts raining cats and dogs or hailing octopi.