Which is correct: St. Patty's Day or St. Paddy's Day?

Linley SandersSenior Data Journalist
March 16, 2021, 12:00 PM UTC

As St. Patrick’s Day celebrations approach, a popular debate is whether the Irish holiday should be referred to as St. Paddy’s Day or St. Patty's Day.

Those who shorten it St. Paddy’s argue that it is more authentic to the Irish holiday, which celebrates the patron saint of Ireland: Saint Pádraig. The English version of Saint Pádraig’s name is Patrick, which led to the Americanized abbreviation: St. Patty’s Day. 

A YouGov poll of more than 16,000 US adults shows that Americans tend to believe the correct nickname for St. Patrick’s Day is the American version: St. Patty’s Day (49%). Only 29% think that St. Paddy’s Day is the proper abbreviation. 

Americans who claim a connection to Ireland through ethnic or cultural heritage are more likely than Americans overall to say St. Patrick’s Day should be called St. Paddy’s Day (39%), although they still tend to prefer to call it St. Patty’s Day (47%). 

Americans with a cultural or ethnic connection to countries surrounding Ireland — including Northern Ireland (44%), Scotland (41%), England (39%), and Wales (38%) are more likely than the rest of Americans to use the authentic Irish abbreviation of St. Paddy’s Day. 

Older Americans are also the only age group that tend to think St. Paddy’s Day (41%) is more correct than St. Patty’s Day (34%). The younger Americans are, the less likely they are to believe that the Irish Gaelic spelling is correct: two-thirds of 18-to 24-year-olds (64%) say the holiday is more correctly referred to as St. Patty’s Day, while just 13% pick St. Paddy’s Day. 

See the toplines and crosstabs from this YouGov poll

Methodology: 16,932 US adults were asked, “Which of the following is the MOST correct abbreviation for Saint Patrick’s Day?” Response options: “St. Paddy’s Day,” “St. Patty’s Day,” or “Don’t know.” There were 2,074 Americans polled who have a connection to Ireland through ethnic or cultural heritage and 1,234 Americans who have Scottish heritage, 1533 with English heritage, 469 with Welsh heritage, 325 with Northern Ireland heritage. This survey was conducted March 11 - 25, 2019. 

Image: RODNAE Productions from Pexels