Origin of paddy wagon
Words nearby paddy wagon
ABOUT THIS WORD
More context on paddy wagon
Paddy is a pet form of Patrick, a name commonly found in Ireland, whose patron saint is St. Patrick. That’s fine and all; plenty of individuals do go by the nickname Paddy. But using Paddy as a stand-in for all Irish people? That’s definitely not fine.
While many people are proud of their Irish heritage, it can be easy to forget how poorly treated the Irish were, especially by the British and as American immigrants.
While its exact origin is unclear, paddy wagon, for a police van or car, may be linked to a historic stereotype that painted Irish immigrants as no more than “drunk criminals” in the U.S.
If knowing the history of paddy wagon has got you reflecting on your word choices, this slideshow, “These Common Words Have Offensive Histories,” discusses many other words whose place in your vocab you may want to reconsider.
Keep in mind …
Instead of paddy wagon, why not use the actual names of the vehicles that members of law enforcement drive?
The specific vehicle a paddy wagon refers to is a patrol wagon, but arrested suspects and prisoners can also be variously transported in a police car, a squad car, police van, police bus (sometimes called a prison bus), or a prisoner transport vehicle.
And if you don’t need to refer to a vehicle, you can also simply say a person was arrested—no reason to insult an ethnic group while doing so. Informal alternatives for arrest include cuff, detain, nab, or pinch.
Head over to Thesaurus.com for more synonyms for arrest.
How to use paddy wagon in a sentence
He even looks down to address a toddler who is noisily playing in a red wagon.The Ugly Truth About Cory Booker, New Jersey’s Golden Boy|Olivia Nuzzi|October 20, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The legendary Captain Paddy Brown was by some accounts the most decorated firefighter in the nation.The Resilient City: New York After 9/11|John Avlon|September 11, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Two days later, FBI agents found the burned station wagon that the volunteers had been driving.When the Right to Vote Wasn’t a Right|Scott Porch|June 23, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The base resembled a wagon circle of armored vehicles with some razor wire strung around them.We Lost Soldiers in the Hunt for Bergdahl, a Guy Who Walked Off in the Dead of Night|Nathan Bradley Bethea|June 2, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The blue and white station wagon was in the driveway, and when he got in behind the wheel Mark was still with him.Gordie Howe Hockey’s Greatest War Horse|W.C. Heinz|May 31, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The little pig in the box felt himself being lifted out of the wagon.Squinty the Comical Pig|Richard Barnum
He had come down after the wagon load, which had to be pitched on again rather more deliberately.
The challenge was accepted and the hay-wagon driven round and the trial commenced.
For an Indian to sell a horse and wagon in the San Jacinto valley was not an easy thing, unless he would give them away.
Alessandro had hard work to give civil answers to the men who wished to buy Benito and the wagon for quarter of their value.