Date: Thu, 21 May 1998 18:45:22 +1000
From: Ross Chambers
Subject: Paddy wagon query

HELP!! I wrote to a journalist on Australian national radio who used the
expression "paddy wagon" when covering a strike.

Relying on Partridge I said that the expression was pejorative to Irish

I have received in reply definitions from:

OED2, Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Random House 1966,
The Macquarie Dictionary, Brewer's Dictionary of 20th Century Phrase and
Fable. Partridge, Picturesque Expressions-Urdang, Hunsinger and La Roche
and Wicked Words-Rawson.

in defense of the phrase's lack of negative national connotations.

A couple of these definitions are equivocal regarding the origin of the
phrase (including Partridge) and attribute it to the Paddies of the US
police forces, but possibly to the Paddies who found themselves habitual
passengers in these waggons.

I am prepared to eat crow if necessary--but would appreciate any
possibilty of rescue.

Kind regards - Ross Chambers



Ross Chambers Sydney Australia

"L'Australia non e solo agli antipodi, e lontana da tutto,
talora anche da sa stessa."

(Australia is not only at the Antipodes, she is away from everything,
sometimes even from herself)

Umberto Eco