J’tai dans mon char, en route to my chalet up north after a cinq-à-sept on a terrasse in Old Port. Construction holiday just ended and Décarie was bumper to bumper.
I finally got to the 15 and I was able to use the carpool lane because I was with mon Buddy on jazé. We were cruising when we realized we had to stop at the dep for rigs and water because esti qu’on était gelé.
Getting back on the 15 we almost crashed when a huge bibitte flew in my car — calisse. We ended up smoking another bat and of course got the munchies.
We obviously found a casse-croute somewhere past the outlet mall. I got a frites sauces and mon chum got a steamie, esti c’tait bon.
Finally, we made it to exit 69 et j’ai catché du speed. I thought I was in the clear when I saw les flics dans mon rear view, tabarnac!
If you were able to understand that story, you're probably from Montreal. One of the great things about this city is that the mix of French and English has given us permission to kind of create our own language, called Franglais.
Like any other city, there are certain slang terms that only exist on our island and my little story above is a demonstration of the particular little language that Montrealers have cultivated over decades, even centuries.
This is a brief guide to understanding Montreal lingo. From Franglais terms, québécois classics and incorrect English sayings, this is everything you will need to know if you want to understand a Montrealer.
Let us know if we missed anything!
Steamie: Montreal has these delicious hot dogs called steamies. What makes them special is that these dogs are steamed instead of grilled and they are honestly to die for.
Ben là: This is a québécois term for "come on" and it is used to express incredulity.
Catché du speed: In literal translation, this means "caught speed" and in Quebec, we use it when we say we are driving fast.
R.O.C: This means Rest of Canada. Yes, that is a thing.
McDicks (or McDo): The way Montreal natives like to call McDonald's. It's just what we do.
TimmyHo: We love Tim Hortons but we love Timmy Hos more!
Casse-Croute: A diner that serves poutine, steamies, burgers and more. There are a ton of them around the city but the best ones are up-north!
Up North: Going anywhere beyond Saint-Jérôme, usually to a chalet.
Bibitte: A bug, this French word is used by a lot of Anglophones.
Dep: A convenient store, short for dépanneur.
Jaz: This is a term used when two people are chit-chatting and it is a lot of fun to say!
Genre: "Genre" is a word we use to say “like.” Genre, when you say "like" to emphasize a point or provide an example.
Les Flic Dan Mon Rear View: This is used when a Montrealer sees cops in their rearview pulling them over. Les flic are the red lights!
Métro: What we call our subway system. This confuses some out-of-towners.
Mon Char: This is what we like to call our car.
Tabarnac: By far one of my favourite québécois terms, derived from Catholic terminology, this is a much more fun way to say f***. Some people in Montreal have the uncanny ability to stretch this word from three syllables to 10. There is just so much room to add one's own flair.
Osti/Esti: A way Montrealers express ourselves, also with church origins. It can be used for good, it can be used for bad, it can be used in pretty much any context and it is.
Cochon: Cochon means pig and we use it when we eat too much or when we see police. We also use it in the expression face de cochon, which translates to "pig face" and it is self-explanatory.
Marde: We even have our own way of saying shit and it is merde.
Terrasse: Any restaurant or bar that has a patio or deck is called a terrasse.
Cinq-à-sept: The exact translation to this is "five to seven" and this is what we like to call happy hour.
Quétaine: The best way I can describe this word is "cheesy," but isn’t quétaine so much more fun to say?
Là: Our way of saying "there." But it is more often used for emphasis at the end of a sentence, là.
The Chalet: Many Montrealers have a small house outside the city, often near a lake. Instead of calling it a country house or a cottage, we like to spice it up and call it a chalet!
Guichet: Bank machines, which most of the world calls ATMs.
Construction Holiday: The two weeks where all construction workers are off on holiday. Though often it can feel like they're always on vacation...
Franglais: The use of both French and English words when talking, one of my favourite aspects of our culture.
Frites Sauces: People know Montreal because of poutine but if you get the dish without cheese, it is simply called frites sauce. The translation for that is "fries and sauce." Not too creative but very tasty!
Bat: Montreal locals love weed and if you hear the term “bat” know that they are referring to a joint. A bat is not any joint, however, it's a mega joint, rolled with king size papers.
Gelé: This is a great term, which we use when we are stoned to the bone. This is what comes after smoking a bat.
Rig: Rig is a term we use for a cigarette. However, if you grew up in Westmount or Town of Mount Royal you call it a rigs, with an s! Don’t ask me why, that is just how it goes down in the bougie areas of the 514.
Mon Gars: This means “My Boy” and is usually used to describe a friend or someone you are close to.
Chui: This is rooted from "Je suis" which means "I am." Montrealers need to switch it up and chui is our way of doing just that.
Hopefully this little MTL dictionary will help you communicate with the locals. We are an island that loves life, food and running our mouth in slang.
Welcome to Montreal, Vive le Québec!