phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Paddy = tantrum

Posted by ESC on August 22, 2000

In Reply to: Origin of "Having a paddy" / "In a paddy"? posted by Stuart Cormie on August 21, 2000

: "Paddy" here means "tantrum" or "bad mood" or "rage".

: Current theories I'm aware of are:

: 1. "paddy" referring to rice paddies; the phrase may originate from a forces expression relating to being stuck in one!

: 2. "paddy" relating, derogatively, to an Irish person.

Where is "here"? Gary, who owns this site, is British. But this has evolved into an international discussion group. I'm from the U.S. and haven't heard this expression. (In my part of the country, West Virginia/Kentucky, we call having a tantrum "cutting a rusty.")

I did find an entry in "British English: A to Zed" by Norman W. Schur (Harper Perennial, New York, 1987): "paddy, n., tantrum. Inf. 'Paddywhack' is a variant. Paddy is a nickname for Padraig, which is old Irish for Patrick, and there are so many Patricks in Ireland that Patrick or Pat is usually the protagonist in Irish jokes. Apparently, Irish tempers are shorter than British ones, so somehow 'paddy' came to mean 'tantrum."