Canadian word?

There’s a Canadian at my school whose favorite word seems to be keif, which he uses instead of nasty or gross. He swears it’s an English word and he doesn’t know how to spell it either. Another Canadian teacher (at another school) who’s a friend of the first Canadian also swears it’s an English word and also doesn’t know how to spell it. The spelling I have above is just my guess.

So, what language is it really from and what does it really mean?

Well, there’s the similar word queef, whose meaning is gross enough, but it’s not specifically Canadian.

I’ve never heard keif, though. Possibly I’m on the wrong level of social strata.

I’m a B.C. Canuck.

I guarantee you it doesn’t mean “nasty” here.

It’s a fine combustible, and if I remember right, it’s a Persian word meaning “killer buzz.”

Just a thought but in Scotland we have a slang word - keech - which means, well, shit. Perhaps it travelled?

Monty writes:

> The spelling I have above is just my guess.

If you’re just guessing at the spelling, why didn’t you give us a spelling that would make it easier to tell how it’s pronounced? Is that a long a or a long e or a long i for the vowel?

Another canadian who’s never heard of it, here. :slight_smile:

It’s the same as the digraph in sleight.

Google isn’t having much luck, but “kipe” and “kype” are both on as “to steal or pilfer.”

“kife” and “kyfe” both seem to have that definition as well as the one you’re using.

Where are they from? Ontario?

I’m familar with the word and I’m from Ontario. It never really was widely used and only certain people would use the word keif.

Doesn’t necessarily mean somethat that is nasty. Its more often used as a substitute for “shit” in the following manner:

That movie was total shit.
That movie was keif.
Its pronounced KAI EEF. (long i, long e)

I should also note that the people who always tended to use it thought they were being clever and super-dooper original.

Yep, they’re both from Ontario; however, they pronounce it with only one syllable. What “certain people” would use it there? Also, is it considered a curse word?

Monty writes:

> It’s the same as the digraph in sleight.

That’s no help at all. What is the vowel (or combination of vowels) in this word?

Another Ontarian here. I’d agree with Grim Jaa. Except in my experience it was a single syllable word, “Kife”; rhymes with “knife”. I only have a vague memory of some people using this word in high school. (20 yrs ago).

Never heard it used to mean gross though.

May I suggest that you find a dictionary (yes, I checked a few before asking the question in the OP) and look at the pronunciation guide therein, then look at the pronunciation for the word sleight, the definition of the word digraph, and then post the answer to “What’s your problem?”

Why are you deliberately being unhelpful?

I’m not being uhelpful. You’re rapidly approaching being a jerk and all this because you apparently don’t understand the concept of a pronunciation guide in a dictionary?!

Just checking in to say that I grew up in Northeastern Ontario and have lived in and around Ottawa for four years, and am thoroughly unfamiliar with this word. Whatever it is, it souds pretty specific to a regional or social group.

From for digraph:

Same source, pronunciation for sleight:

Seriously, Wendell, are you okay? This really isn’t that big an issue for you to be taking the tack you have here.

I know this is way off-topic, but I feel like I wasted my 1000th post on that. (sighs.)


All you had to do was say, “It’s a long i.” What was the point in saying that it was the same vowel as in “sleight,” a rather uncommon word?

“Sleight” is an uncommon word, now?