P.E.I. slang: How to talk like an Islander

Bruce Rainnie, host of CBC News: Compass, and weatherman Kevin "Boomer" Gallant sit down to explain P.E.I. slang.

'It's not a medical condition, it's an Island non-verbal for yes,' explains Boomer Gallant

How to talk like an Islander

6 years ago
10 P.E.I.-isms explained 2:21

People who live in P.E.I. are known for many things — one of which is their distinct, and at times difficult to understand, slang.

Recently, Ottawa Senators head coach David Cameron said no one would understand his text messages, because he texts in "P.E.I.-isms."

"They'd have no idea, they could not read my texts … you'd have to get an interpreter," he said.

We shared the story on Facebook, and that prompted you to send in your own examples of P.E.I. slang.

Bruce Rainnie, host of CBC News: Compass, and weatherman Kevin "Boomer" Gallant picked 10 of those expressions, and explained what they mean.

10. Talk of dirt comin'

"Talk of dirt comin'" means there is bad weather on the way. It can be any kind of weather that isn't sunshine — rain, snow, wind or ice pellets.

9. Who's your fadder?

This question is used to pinpoint where in P.E.I. you come from. 

"People on the Island like to know who your mudder is and your fadder is," explained Gallant.

8. Roads are slippy as all git out, probably because there was a silver thaw

This phrase has a bunch of P.E.I.-isms strung together. Islanders often say "slippy" instead of "slippery."

"Slippy as all git out" means that it's very slippery.

Silver thaw is slang for a hoar frost.

This phrase means that roads are very slippery, because there was a hoar frost.

7. G'wan

"G'wan," an abbreviation of "go on," means "you've got to be kidding."

6. Turn at the old purple house

On the Island, people give directions about landmarks that used to exist, but are no longer there.

The purple house, which was painted long ago, is at the bottom of St. Peters Road.

If you're "from away" and someone in P.E.I. gives you directions — good luck getting to your destination.

5. Boat traffic

Boat traffic typically refers to traffic coming from the Confederation Bridge.

The bridge opened 19 years ago, but that traffic is still referred to as "boat traffic."

"It's still the boat traffic," said Gallant. "Old habits."

And yes, P.E.I. does still have two ferries, so sometimes boat traffic does actually come from a boat.

4. Haiche

Islanders pronounce the letter 'h' with an audible 'h' sound at the beginning.

3. G'way with ya

"G'way with ya" is similar to "g'wan." An abbreviated version of "go away with you," it means "I can't believe that."

2. Gotta put in a load of warsh

"Wash" is pronounced with an "r."

"It's warsh in P.E.I.," said Gallant.

1. (inhale)

To show agreement, an Islander will inhale sharply.

"It's a big inhale. It's not a medical condition, it's an Island non-verbal for yes," explained Gallant.


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