Word Confusion: Paddy versus Patty

Posted March 16, 2017 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

This confusion came up in a new, relatively, series I’ve started in which its protagonist was “tossing bits of cheese and beef paddies to the cats that followed”.

I knew this character had some strength, but paddies?!? WHOLE rice fields??? That is really, truly impressive…ahem…

It’s an heterograph of eats: paddy versus patty. Rice paddies and hamburger patties. Yum!

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

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Paddy Patty
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: patty

 Man working in a ricefield in Bangladesh

“Rice Field” courtesy of a photographer with USAID and is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Rice paddies are usually underwater to some extent.


“Mega Mac” is assumed to be Kici based on copyright claims. It is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

A Mega Mac with its four beef patties is a variation of the Big Mac.

Part of Grammar:
Noun 1, 2
Plural for noun: paddies

Proper Noun 3
Plural for proper noun: Paddies

Plural for noun: patties

Proper Noun
Plural for proper noun: Patties or Pattys

A field where rice is grown1

  • Rice before threshing or in the husk

[In singular; British; informal] A fit of temper 2

Proper Noun:
[Informal; chiefly derogatory; often used as a from of address] An Irishman 3

A person of Irish descent

Affectionate nickname for a male, from the formal name Padraig

A small flat cake of minced or finely chopped food, especially meat

  • Any item of food covered with dough, batter, etc., and fried or baked
  • [North American] A small, round, flat chocolate-covered peppermint candy
  • [Chiefly British] A small pie, pasty, or turnover

Proper Noun:
Affectionate nickname for a female, from the formal name Patience or Patricia.

The rice paddies are drying out.

John drive off in a paddy.

Proper Noun:
It’s them bloody Paddies allus makin’ trouble.

Have you seen Paddy yet this night?

I’ve got too many hamburger patties made up.

Don’cha just love peppermint patties?

I picked up some meat patties from the butcher’s.

Everyone in my family but me loves oyster patties.

Proper Noun:
Peppermint Patty from the comic strip “Charlie Brown” cracks me up.

We have three Pattys in the building.

Patty Hearst was an heiress who was kidnapped, brainwashed, and then jailed for her activities in 1974–75.

Noun: pattypan
History of the Word:
1 Early 17th century from Malay pādī.

2 Late 19th century from Paddy, associated with the obsolete paddywhack Irishman (given to brawling).

3 Late 18th century nickname for the Irish given name Padraig.

Mid 17th century is an alteration of the French pâté, and by association with pasty.

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!

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Pinterest Photo Credits:

St. Paddy’s Day Karaoke” is via Bayou City OUtdoors and “Peppermint Patty” is via Wikipedia.