Plastic Paddy

Posted by Lewis on February 09, 2005

In Reply to: Evolving English posted by David FG on February 09, 2005

: : : : : Synopsised from 'An Irishman's Diary,' The Irish Times, Feb. 7, 2005:

: : : : : A US marine in Iraq said: 'We don't want to rubble the city' but if hostile fire came from a particular house he would 'pancake it.'

: : : : : Bush and Kerry said how much they enjoyed meeting 'people on the rope-lines,' - members of the public held back by security cordons.

: : : : : Food is now 'plated up' instead of served.

: : : : : 'Plastic Paddies' - people born in England of Irish parentage - have a reputation for being 'great crack.'

: : : : : Some other Irishisms, such as 'gob****e' (idiot), 'feck' (polite form of the 'f' word used by priests and maiden aunts) and 'eejit' (idiot) are now becoming almost respectable.

: : : : : And David the Corkman will be delighted to hear that 'langer' has made it (or will soon) to the Collins English Dictionary. 'Langer' (n) means 'fool or idiot' while 'langers' (adj) means 'extremely drunk.'

: : : : : Hmmm. I just realised that we Irish seem to have a lot of different words for 'idiot.'

: : : : "To Pancake" is a verb used in U.S. football. It means to knock an opponent flat on his back. I don't know if they got it from the military or vice-versa, but it's been in common use in the sport for years and is in fact an official statistic for linemen in the NFL.

: : : Speaking of Irish, here's a term: "goofy Irish". It describes someone of Irish decent with big ears and pale skin, much in the same way "black Irish" is sometimes used to describe some one with Black hair and blue eyes. I heard it used to describe a local basketball player.

: : People on Web message boards say "whinge" instead of "whine." I never saw "whinge" before the Internet. Where did it come from?

: 'Whinge' shares the same Old English roots as 'whine' so is certainly very much older than the Internet. I think (and this is purely a subjective impression) that the two are used pretty much interchangeably. The phrase 'whingeing Pom' has, of course, entered the Hall of Fame of Australian Phrases.


A friend of mine has triple nationality due to parents, place of birth etc - he appeared as Oirish as his parents, but was brought up in England.

Anyhow, his Dad's boozer was what people call "an Irish pub" and when I was a teenager, I used to frequent an "Irish" pub in my home-town. Although the friend's "Irish" pub had the tricolor of Eire on the wall, it also had a Union flag crossed with it as a symbol of harmony. that and a small wooden plaque in gaelic behind the bar were the only outward signs of its status as an Irish pub. The one I drank in as a teen had nothing at all to denote it being an Irish pub, but everybody knew it was.

Contrast this to a "Plastic Paddy" pub - traditional name changed from e.g. the Miller's Arms to "O'Scanlons/O'Grady's/Murphy's" and as much clutter as you could shake a shillelagh at.

In my experience, the expression "Plastic Paddy" has only been applied to faux Oirish pubs etc, rather than people.

I do have a friend who is 1/4 Irish and boy does he go on about it! Yet he is probably the most quintessentially "English" gentleman on my acquaintance. Now he would be a Plastic Paddy given the chance!

"Just because a man is born in a stable, that does not make him an horse." Arthur Wellesley - renowned Irish statesman! (later Duke of Wellington)