Green’s Dictionary of Slang

Paddy n.

also paddy
[common Irish name, Patrick; all race-related usages are derog.; the occupations are those considered to be stereotypically Irish]

1. [mid-18C+] (also patty) an Irishman, a generic term for the Irish.

2. [19C+] a nickname or intimate form of address to an Irishman.

3. [mid-19C–1900s] (US/Aus.) a Chinese person [use of Paddy as generic for any foreigner; plus note SE paddy field, a rice field, common in China].

4. [1940s] (US black) a police officer, usu. male.

5. [1940s+] (US black, also paddy boy, paddy girl, patty) a white person, though not always Irish; often derog.

6. [1970s] (US) a bricklayer.

7. [1970s+] (Irish) Irish whisky.

8. see paddy wagon

In compounds

paddy boy (n.)

see sense 5 above.

paddy fever (n.) (also white fever)

[1960s] (US black) the desire for sex with white men or women.

paddy funeral (n.) (also paddy’s funeral)

[20C+] any boisterous occasion, not necessarily a wake.

paddy girl (n.)

see sense 5 above.

paddy land (n.) (also Paddyland, Paddy’s Isle, paddy’s land)

[19C+] Ireland; thus Paddy-lander, an Irish person.

paddy-row (n.)

[early 19C–1910s] a fight that entails more verbal than physical aggression.

Paddy’s apples (n.) [stereotyping of potatoes as Ireland’s staple food]

[2000s] (N.Z.) potatoes.

Paddy’s eyewater (n.) [SE eyewater but note eyewater under eye n.]

[late 19C+] (Irish) illicitly distilled whisky, poteen.

Paddy’s Goose (n.)

see separate entry.

paddy’s lantern (n.) [? a ref. to the lack of electricity in rural Ireland]

[1930s+] the moon.

paddy’s market (n.) [note WWII milit. use, the market in Cairo where Australian troops sold illegally manufactured goods, black market commodities etc; a similarly named market, frequented by Irish immigrants, existed in late 19C Glasgow] [late 19C–1950s] (Aus.)

1. the weekly market for cheap or secondhand goods held in the late 19C near Haymarket Square in Melbourne.

2. any kind of cheap market.

paddy wagon (n.) (also paddy) [? abbr. SE padlock, or with the implication that most US police (? or criminals) would be Irish]

[20C+] (orig. US) the vehicle in which arrested people are transported to the local police station or prison (cf. pat wagon under Pat n.).

paddywood (n.) [peckerwood n.]

[1980s] (US black) a derog. term for a white person; also. ext. to Chicanos and Latinos.

In phrases

come (the) Paddy (over) (v.)

[early 19C] to bamboozle, to confuse, to ‘blarney’.

ignorant as Paddy’s pig (adj.)

[1970s+] (N.Z.) very stupid.

what Paddy gave the drum (n.) [i.e. a paddywhack n. (3)]

[mid-19C+] (orig. milit.) a thrashing, a beating.