Paddy, Taffy, Jock and XXXX

Loob

Senior Member
English UK
A 'paddy' is an affectionate term for an Irishman
Interesting: I was musing only yesterday about Brit nicknames for the English, the Irish, the Scots, and the Welsh (maybe it was St Patrick's Day that turned my thoughts that way).

We have Paddy (= Patrick) for an Irishman; Taffy (= David) for a Welshman; Jock = (?James) for a Scot.

But what do the Irish, Welsh and Scots call an Englishman? (Let's keep it clean here:D.)

Loob
 
  • Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Interesting: I was musing only yesterday about Brit nicknames for the English, the Irish, the Scots, and the Welsh (maybe it was St Patrick's Day that turned my thoughts that way).

    We have Paddy (= Patrick) for an Irishman; Taffy (= David) for a Welshman; Jock = (?James) for a Scot.

    But what do the Irish, Welsh and Scots call an Englishman? (Let's keep it clean here:D.)

    Loob
    The Scots say a Sassenach, usually with a lot of topspin. I think the word is derived from Saxon.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Logically it should be "a George" (after our patron saint). But I've no idea.

    LRV
    I was once poked in the chest by a Scot in a pub in Inverness, for expressing what he considered to be a heterodox opinion too freely, and told: Ach well! You're just a nincompoop!

    That's, I imagine, one of those French words in lowland Scottish, like gigot and achette - it must come from noncompris. I think he was referring just to me, and not using it as an abusive term for a member of the nation he saw me as representing.
     

    shine

    Senior Member
    Hiberno-english
    I was once poked in the chest by a Scot in a pub in Inverness, for expressing what he considered to be a heterodox opinion too freely, and told: Ach well! You're just a nincompoop!

    That's, I imagine, one of those French words in lowland Scottish, like gigot and achette - it must come from noncompris. I think he was referring just to me, and not using it as an abusive term for a member of the nation he saw me as representing.
    We use nincompoop here all the time! it's a great word that means your silly or sometimes clumsy :D

    However, I love what the French call the English: Rosbif (roast beef), when I heard it first I thought it was very amusing :)
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    Well, I believe there are more people in England with the name "John Smith" than there are with any other particular name - so maybe "John".

    We Irish just call them (geo-politically incorrectly) "Brit"

    When I was young we told nationalistic jokes, and they always began "Paddy the Irishman, Paddy the Soctsman and Paddy the Englishman were … ".
    The Irishmaqn always triumphed, the Scot made a 'brave showing' and the poor Englishman came off worst, everytime!
     

    Orange Blossom

    Senior Member
    U.S.A. English
    We use the word nincompoop here too.

    My uncle called the British "limeys" because of the British soldiers and sailors eating limes to prevent scurvy. My uncle lived through WWII, and my Grandpa through WWI. I haven't heard that term from younger folks though. Of course, my uncle and grandpa weren't Welsh, Scotch, or Irish.

    Orange Blossom
     

    clairenz

    Member
    New Zealand - English
    we call them "poms" or "pommies" down under, not sure where it came from or where else it gets used though
     

    sarcie

    Senior Member
    English - Ireland
    The Scots say a Sassenach, usually with a lot of topspin. I think the word is derived from Saxon.
    But this comes from the Gaelic word (which may indeed come from "Saxon"), so it's not so much a nickname as a borrowing. I've heard it used in Ireland (speaking English) as well, but it's not as widespread as "Paddy" for an Irish person.
    I agree with maxi - in Ireland, they're generally called "Brits" (regardless of how geo-politically incorrect it is!)

    George would be a nice solution, but doesn't fit a pattern if the Scots are called Jock from James - the patron saint of Scotland is Andrew, isn't it?

    we call them "poms" or "pommies" down under, not sure where it came from or where else it gets used though
    Click ;)
     

    LDNGypsy

    New Member
    english-south east
    we call them "poms" or "pommies" down under, not sure where it came from or where else it gets used though



    Poms or POHM originates from the criminals sent to the colony's. On their prison clothes where P(risoner) O(f) H(is) ​M(ajesty) POHM.
    The only thing wong with that is, it was aussies that where sent to the colony's, therefore it should be you guys being the pommies.......we let you have that though, aussie bastards sounds better!! Joke ;)
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    When my Lancashire granny first went to Glasgow to meet her intended's family in 1928 (they met while he was on holiday in Blackpool), her future mother-in-law looked her up and down and said, "She seems very nice, Josey, but I don't know why you had to go and get yourself a Sassenach." The bride-to-be hadn't a clue what she meant.

    True story, heard 43,000 times:)

    I've certainly never been aware of the Welsh having a term for the English. I can't speak for the Irish, having only been there once for a weekend.
     
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    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I'm terribly sorry to interrupt, but when I started this thread eight years ago [:eek:] I was really wondering whether there was a slang term derived from a Christian/given name that was used elsewhere in the UK to refer to an English person....

    I think we've proved that there isn't:D.
     
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    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    Poms or POHM originates from the criminals sent to the colony's. On their prison clothes where P(risoner) O(f) H(is) ​M(ajesty) POHM. [...]
    Sorry, LDNG, but there's no evidence for that. It's generally considered to be an urban myth, one of those fanciful 'backronyms' like 'Port Out, Starboard Home', 'Worker On Government Service' and 'Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden'. The actual origin is unknown, though some sources relate it to "pomegranate" (for reasons that you can find on internet, for example in Paul's link).
    [...] I've certainly never been aware of the Welsh having a term for the English. [...]
    A Welsh friend of mine tells me there's a fairly common expression (in Welsh, so I can't put it here in EO) that translates as "English devil", but it's pejorative (unlike Paddy, Jock and Taff, which can be used endearingly). She's not aware of any English-language nickname used by the Welsh for the English.
    I'd be awfully grateful if you could translate that into English, old boy.
    ... old girl!

    (where "old" has nothing to do with age, Sparky :))
    .
    [Edit]: Sorry, Loob. I cross-posted with your call to order.
    ;) I agree: we appear to have proved that there isn't!

    Ws:)
     
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    JustKate

    Moderate Mod
    Poms or POHM originates from the criminals sent to the colony's. On their prison clothes where P(risoner) O(f) H(is) ​M(ajesty) POHM.
    The only thing wong with that is, it was aussies that where sent to the colony's, therefore it should be you guys being the pommies.......we let you have that though, aussie bastards sounds better!! Joke ;)
    The general rule, as I understand it, is that acronyms (that is, abbreviations pronounced like words) were unknown in English until around World War II. So any story you hear about an acronym that predates WWII is almost certainly untrue.

    Which is a shame because there are some great stories.
     

    djmc

    Senior Member
    English - United Kingdom
    The Welsh for English is Saesneg (the adjective), Saes for Englishman; the Breton is saoznec or Saoz. It is obvious to me that they are both closely related to sassenach.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Jock = (?James) for a Scot.
    I had always thought Jock was the Scottish version of Jack, which is mainly a pet form of John.

    I thought the archetypal Englishman was John Bull.
     
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    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    The etymology seems to be uncertain, nat: Jock is definitely the Scottish version of Jack, but there have been different views on the origins of Jack.

    From the OED's entry for Jack:
    Etymology: A pet-name or by-name, used as a familiar equivalent of John; [...]
    The actual origin is disputed. It has been generally assumed to be the same word as French Jacques , in Old French also Jaques , Jaqves ( < *Jacbes < late Latin ˈJacobus , for Jacōbus, Greek Ἰάκωβος Jacob) James; also a familiar name for a peasant, a man of low social status (compare Jacquerie n.). But it has been used in English from its earliest appearance as a by-name of Johan , Jan , John; and a strong case has been made out by E. W. B. Nicholson, M.A., Bodley's Librarian ( The Pedigree of Jack and of various allied names, 1892), for its actual origination as a pet-form of that word. [...]
    So there you go:).
     

    Pedro y La Torre

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    We also have Mick for a Protestant Irishman (Paddys are Catholic Irishmen). No offence intended, people: my grandfather was born into an Irish Catholic family.;)
    I have never heard of that distinction. Mick and Paddy are synonyms for me and can refer to Protestants or Catholics.

    I confirm that in Ireland we tend to label English people as ''Brits'' but usually identify the Welsh and the Scottish by their nationality. I have no good explanation for why we do this.
     

    jaktown

    Senior Member
    French
    When I lived in New zealand, I heard (and it seems to make sense) that POME means Prisoner Of Mother England. As for acronyms not existing before WW2, the assertion doesn't sound more valid than the explanation I was given.
     

    JustKate

    Moderate Mod
    When I lived in New zealand, I heard (and it seems to make sense) that POME means Prisoner Of Mother England. As for acronyms not existing before WW2, the assertion doesn't sound more valid than the explanation I was given.
    Well, it's not my assertion - it's what the experts say. A lot of spurious etymologies (not just those that involve acronyms) are very appealing for the very reason you state - that they "seem to make sense." And they're fun - I'd like for them to be true, too. But that's not evidence. Every single time an expert has looked into one of these stories about a pre-WWII word that's supposed to be based on an acronym, it's turned out to be false or at least wildly unlikely. Every single time.

    For example, here's an interesting article on acronyms from The Online Etymology Dictionary: http://www.etymonline.com/baloney.php. And here's one on pom/pommy/etc. from World Wide Words (scroll down to #6, the Q&A - the question on pom/pommy is the second one): http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/worldwidewords/1999-July/000028.html.

    But to return to the OP... are these terms still in current use? I'm familiar with them from old/older books, but do people today really still call Irishmen "Paddy" and so on?
     

    Silver_Biscuit

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    But to return to the OP... are these terms still in current use? I'm familiar with them from old/older books, but do people today really still call Irishmen "Paddy" and so on?
    I'm English and I wouldn't. I'm certainly familiar with all of them and know what they mean, though.
     

    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    [...] But to return to the OP... are these terms still in current use? I'm familiar with them from old/older books, but do people today really still call Irishmen "Paddy" and so on?
    Paddy is still a fairly commonly used diminutive of Patrick or Pádraig (or any of its dozen or so other spellings), and even the Irish themselves often use 'Paddy' as a generic name. The Irish barman in my local says things such as "We had a group of Paddies in last night". Whenever my Irish friends tell jokes, they usually involve someone called Paddy (or "Yer man"): "So Paddy goes into a bar ...". I've never come across an Irish person objecting to its use by non-Irish people.

    I'd be a little more cautious with "Jock" and "Taff(y)". I think there's some risk of those being taken as possibly pejorative, even if they're not said that way.

    Ws:)
     

    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    I always associate that with Glaswegians, and only when addressing someone, not when talking about people — rather like certain Londoners' habit of addressing any bloke as "John" (as an alternative to "guv" or "mate").

    I do know one guy who still says it quite a lot. He's from Paisley (which is almost Glasgow — but if he heard me say that, he'd probably say "Watch yoursel', Jimmy"!).

    Maybe Glasguensis, if he sees this, would be better placed to answer that question.

    Ws:)
     
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