Paddy Versus Patty

Get it right this St. Patrick's Day.

Mignon Fogarty
1-minute read


March 17 is St. Patrick's Day—the day we celebrate the patron saint of Ireland, who lived around A.D. 400 and is said to have driven the snakes out of Ireland, which probably meant bad people rather than actual reptiles. 

March 17 is supposedly the day St. Patrick died, so we’re celebrating his death, which seems a little grim to me, but I’ve rarely met a grim person on St. Patrick’s Day.

Each year, millions of people who aren’t Irish annoy the Irish by referring to St. Patrick's Day as St. Patty's Day. Patty is a woman’s nickname—short for Patricia—and not short for Patrick. For the record, the correct short form is St. Paddy's Day. 

According to the Provisional Government of Paddy, not Patty, the D's in Paddy come from the Irish spelling, Pádraig. Visit their site to be chastised in a proper Irish manner.

About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show. Her popular LinkedIn Learning courses help people write better to communicate better.