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June 2002 scene from an outport (small fishing village) in Newfoundland

Newfie (also Newf or sometimes Newfy) is a colloquial term used by Canadians for someone who is from Newfoundland. Some Newfoundlanders, particularly those from the city of St. John's (the capital of Newfoundland), consider "Newfie" as a slur used by American and Canadian military forces stationed on the island. The term also has its use in mid-to-late 20th century Newfie jokes that depicted "Newfies" as foolish, in particular when told in Canadian French, leading to the derogatory nature of the term.[1][2] The word was first recorded in a 1942 dictionary of slang.[citation needed]

During the Second World War, sailors on convoy duty nicknamed St. John's Newfiejohn.[3]


The first edition of the Gage Canadian Dictionary, published in 1983, and the second edition of the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, published in 1987, both include usage notes describing the term 'Newfie' as offensive. However, neither the second edition of the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, published in 2004, nor the current edition of the Dictionary of Newfoundland English, published in 1998, make such a mention.[4]

In March 2006, an Edmonton police officer was disciplined for using the word Newphie [sic] to describe the apprehension of an individual under the Mental Health Act.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Newfie Definition & Meaning". Retrieved 2022-05-13.
  2. ^ King, R. and Clarke, S. (2002), Contesting meaning: Newfie and the politics of ethnic labelling. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 6: 537–558. doi: 10.1111/1467-9481.00200
  3. ^ Dunlop, Daniel T. "The Sinking of U90". Archived from the original on 2007-06-27. Retrieved 2008-06-25.
  4. ^ "Newfie". Dictionary of Newfoundland English, 2nd ed. 1998. Story, G. M.; Kirwin, W. J.; & Widdowson, J. D. A., eds. ISBN 978-0-8020-6819-4. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
  5. ^ Edmonton Sun article reference

External links[edit]