• Canada •
kæn-ê-dê • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Proper noun
Meaning: The name of the geographically second largest country on Earth, located to the north of the United States.
Notes: Anything related to Canada is Canadian, including its inhabitants, who are Canadians. The capital of Canada is Ottawa, with its most beautiful parliament building standing on Parliament Hill overlooking the Ottawa River. Its largest city is Toronto. Its most famous goose is the Canada—NOT Canadian—goose. Today is Canada Day in that country and we would like to wish all our Canadian readers the happiest of holidays.
In Play: The United States' longest border is with its friendliest and more progressive neighbor, Canada. I know from personal experience that Niagara Falls are best viewed from the Canadian side, and the Canadian Rockies are best enjoyed from the Canadian Pacific Railway, which runs the breadth of the country.
Word History: Although Canada is the name of the second-largest country in the world, the word has much humbler origins. It is based on the St. Lawrence Iroquoian word kanata "village, settlement". In 1535, Iroquoians of the present-day Quebec City region used the word to direct French explorer Jacques Cartier to the nearby village of Stadacona. Cartier began using the word to refer not only to that village, but to the entire area subject to the chief of Stadacona. By the 18th century Canada referred to all of New France, which extended from the St. Lawrence River to the Great Lakes. Canada was adopted as the legal name for the new country upon Confederation in 1867, and its status was defined as Dominion. However, as Canada asserted its political autonomy from the United Kingdom, the federal government increasingly used only Canada on state documents. This shift was reflected in the renaming of the national holiday from Dominion Day to Canada Day in 1982.