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noun, plural pad·dies.
  1. a rice field.
  2. rice, especially in the husk, either uncut or gathered.

Origin of paddy

1590–1600; < Malay padi unhusked rice; currency of this word in E of India perhaps due to early association with Kannada batta, bhatta unhusked rice (< Indo-Aryan; compare Hindi, Marathi bhāt cooked rice, Sanskrit bhakhta food, meal)
Can be confusedpaddy pate pâte pâtépaddy patty


noun, plural Pad·dies.
  1. Slang: Often Offensive. an Irishman or a person of Irish descent.
  2. a male given name.

Origin of Paddy

familiar variant of Irish Padraig Patrick; see -y2

Usage note

This term is used as a neutral nickname or term of address for an Irishman, though it may be perceived as insulting.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for paddy

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Well, Paddy, say no more about that, but let's have the story.

  • Here Paddy was questioned why he considered the wren as cunning a baste as the fox.

  • Paddy is mighty 'cute, and knows when he has a man to deal with.

    Ireland as It Is

    Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)

  • Paddy may be lazy, but put your finger in his mouth and he'll bite.

    Ireland as It Is

    Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)

  • No wonder that poor Paddy has hardly a feather left to fly with.

    Ireland as It Is

    Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)

British Dictionary definitions for paddy


noun plural -dies
  1. Also called: paddy field a field planted with rice
  2. rice as a growing crop or when harvested but not yet milled

Word Origin

from Malay pādī


noun plural -dies
  1. British informal a fit of temper

Word Origin

C19: from Paddy


noun plural -dies
  1. (sometimes not capital) an informal, often derogatory, name for an Irishman

Word Origin

from Patrick
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for paddy


"rice field," 1620s, "rice plant," from Malay padi "rice in the straw." Main modern meaning "ground where rice is growing" (1948) is a shortening of paddy field.



"Irishman," 1780, slang, from the pet form of the common Irish proper name Patrick (Irish Padraig). It was in use in black slang by 1946 for any "white person." Paddy wagon is 1930, perhaps so called because many police officers were Irish. Paddywhack (1881) originally meant "an Irishman."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper