Dunbrody Famine Ship

American English vs Hiberno English: why it’s Paddy and not Patty in Ireland

One of the most fun Twitter accounts to follow in the run up to St Patrick’s day is @paddynotpatty. The retweets from this account are classic – especially from Americans who insist that calling St Patrick’s Day ‘Paddy’s Day’ is wrong.

Dunbrody Famine Ship

Something suitably green for St Patrick's Day: Replica of a famine ship which carried many Irish emigrants to America in the 19th Century.

There’s no d in Patrick, but there is in Pádraig

Many Americans it seems call St Patrick’s Day ‘St Patty’s’ – after all there is no letter d in Patrick. As explained on a website dedicated to this – paddynotpatty.com – Paddy derives from the Irish for Patrick which is Pádraig (pronounced paw-drig not pa-drig). Why then don’t we call it St Paudie’s Day then? Paudie is an abbreviation of Pádraig. In Ireland many men called Patrick are known as Paddy. In other countries ‘Paddy’ is a slang word for an Irish person. Pat and not Patty is the most common abbreviation of Patrick in Ireland. Are American Patricks known as Patty?

Is Patty not a woman’s name?

To this writer Patty is an American abbreviation of the name Patricia. The best known example is Patty Bouvier – Marge Simpson’s sister. In Ireland many Patricias are known as Trish or Tricia (sometimes Trisha). In the UK Pat was the first name of Eastenders character Pat Butcher (short we presume for Patricia).

So there you go, in my humble opinion it’s St Patrick’s Day or Paddy’s Day. Neither St Paddy’s Day or St Patty’s Day are right.

What do you think?