Is It 'St. Patty’s Day' or 'St. Paddy’s Day'? Here’s the True Irish Way To Shorten St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is a pretty big deal in America and Ireland. Due to nearly a quarter of Ireland’s population immigrating to America in the late 1800s because of the potato famine, per, America has a lot of Irish heritage. Thanks to a strong Irish connection, it only makes sense that the first-ever St. Patrick’s Day parade took place in the United States in 1762 (not Ireland). But there is still a disconnect between American and Irish ways to celebrate the holiday—including how to shorten the name of it: St. Patty’s Day or St. Paddy’s Day

The nicknames for Patrick or Patricia—Patty, Paddy or Patti—are all used, sometimes interchangeably. So it makes sense that “Patty’s Day” is a lot of people’s go-to when nicknaming St. Patrick’s Day. But is that correct? Read on to take a little deep dive into the two shortened terms for the Irish holiday. 

elated: Wait, There’s No Such Thing as a Leprechaun...Is There?

Is ‘St. Patty’s Day’ or ‘St. Paddy’s Day’ Correct?

“St. Paddy’s Day” is the authentic and correct way to shorten St. Patrick’s Day.

However, the term “St. Patty’s Day” is an Americanized way of shortening the name.

Where Did 'St. Paddy’s Day' Come From?

Where do the “ds" come from though? What makes St. Paddy’s Day “correct”? As Merriam-Webster Dictionary wrote, the term “St. Paddy’s Day” comes from shortening the Irish spelling of Patrick, which is Pádraig.

Even though the real Saint Patrick wasn’t actually from Ireland originally—he was born in Scotland around 385 AD to Roman parents—“Patrick” is an Anglicized version of his Irish name.

According to EuroNews, Saint Patrick's real name was Maewyn Succat when he was born. He was then kidnapped from Scotland as a boy of 14 and taken to Ireland as a slave to tend to sheep. Christianity became a major guiding light for him while he was enslaved, so after he escaped at 20, he went on to become a priest. This is when he took the name Patricus, which then led to his name becoming Patrick (or Pádraig) when he went back to Ireland to spread Christianity.

Páidín and Paddy are nicknames for Pádraig, meaning that the true and correct shortened term for St. Patrick’s Day is St. Paddy’s Day.

Related: 130 Irish Blessings

Where Did 'St. Patty’s Day' Come From?

Okay, but is St. Patty’s Day completely wrong? As Merriam-Webster Dictionary wrote, Patty is the nickname most commonly used for Patricia, not Patrick. So yes, “St. Patty’s Day” is mostly wrong.

Because of the Anglicisation of Pádraig to Saint Patrick, even if Patty was a proper nickname for Patrick, it’s not the Irish nickname, as stated above. “St. Patty’s Day” came either from “a playful diminutive” of the masculine nickname “Pat” or it’s an incorrect phonetic spelling of “Paddy.” So, like corned beef and cabbage, St. Patty’s Day is an American invention.

However, it is important to note that “Paddy” was used negatively and offensively by the British when referring to an Irishman in the 18th century. So there are people who don’t like St. Paddy’s Day for this valid reason and might choose to shorten St. Patrick’s Day to simply St. Pat’s Day.

So as you write those St. Patrick’s Day Instagram captions or celebrate this weekend, now you know the history behind St. Paddy’s vs. St. Patty’s Day (and you also know which is correct).

Next up: It's Your Lucky Day! Learn All About St. Patrick's Day: History, Facts, Trivia and Banning Beer?!