|Meaning||"Noble" (i.e. a patrician)|
|Region of origin||north England, Scotland, & Ireland|
|Related names||Patricia (fem), Patrick (masc)|
Patsy is a given name often used as a diminutive of the feminine given name Patricia or sometimes the masculine name Patrick, or occasionally other names containing the syllable "Pat" (such as Cleopatra, Patience, Patrice, or Patricia). Among Italian-Americans, it is often used as a pet name for Pasquale.
In older usage, Patsy was also a nickname for Martha or Matilda, following a common nicknaming pattern of changing an M to a P (such as in Margaret → Meg/Meggy → Peg/Peggy; and Molly → Polly) and adding a feminine suffix.
President George Washington called his wife Martha "Patsy" in private correspondence. President Thomas Jefferson's eldest daughter Martha was known by the nickname "Patsy", while his daughter Mary was called "Polly".
People with the name
- Patsy Biscoe, Australian singer and performer on children's television shows in the 1960s and 1970s
- Patricia Patsy Burt (1928–2001), British motor racing driver
- Patricia Patsy Byrne (1933–2014), English actress
- Patsy Chapman (born 1948), British former newspaper editor
- Patsy Cline (1932–1963), American country singer
- Pat Danner (born 1934), American politician
- Patsy Kelly (born 1910), American actress
- Patricia Patsy Kensit (born 1968), British actress and singer
- Patsy Knight (born 1938), American politician
- Patsy Lawlor (1933–1997), Irish politician, nurse and businesswoman
- Patricia Patsy Lovell (born 1954), English cricketer, member of the 1988 English World Cup team
- Patricia Patsy May (born 1947), Australian former cricket player
- Patsy Ruth Miller (1904-1995), American actress
- Patsy Mink (1927–2002), American politician, appointed an Assistant Secretary of State by President Jimmy Carter
- Patricia Patsy Ramsey (1956–2006), mother of slain child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey
- Patricia Patsy Rowlands (1934–2005), British actress in the Carry On films
- Patsy Robertson (1933–2020), Jamaican former diplomat and journalist
- Patsy Rodenburg (born 1953), British voice coach, author and theatre director
- Patsy O’Connell Sherman (1930–2008), American chemist and co-inventor of Scotchgard in 1952
- Patsy Smart (1918–1996), English actress
- Patricia Patsy Ticer (1935–2017), American politician
- Patsy Wolfe, Australian lawyer and judge
- Patsy Reddy, Governor general of New Zealand
- Patsy Bradley (born 1984), Gaelic footballer from Northern Ireland
- Patrick Patsy Brophy (born 1970), Irish retired hurler
- Patrick A. Patsy Brown (1872–1958), Irish-American maker of uilleann pipes
- Francis Patsy Callighen (1906–1964), Canadian National Hockey League player
- Patrick Patsy Donovan (1865–1953), Irish-American Major League Baseball player and manager
- Patrick Patsy Dougherty (1876–1940), American Major League Baseball player
- Patsy Fagan (born 1951), Irish retired professional snooker player
- Patrick Patsy Foley (born 1943), Irish retired hurler
- Patsy Harte (born 1940), Irish former hurler
- Elias Henry Patsy Hendren (1889–1962), British cricketer
- Pasqualino Lolordo (1887–1929), Italian-American mobster
- Patsy McGarry, writer and newspaper editor
- Patsy McGlone (born 1959), Irish politician
- Patsy O'Hara (1957–1981), Irish Republican hunger striker and member of the Irish National Liberation Army
- Patsy Watchorn (born 1944), Irish folk singer
- Patsy (Monty Python), in the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and also the 2005 Monty Python inspired musical Spamalot
- Patsy, the title character in the newspaper comic strip The Adventures of Patsy (1935–1954)
- Patsy Parisi, in HBO series The Sopranos
- Patsy Pirati, in the film Once Upon a Time in Brooklyn (2013)
- Patsy Sewer, a singer on the Canadian television program Instant Star
- Patsy Smiles, a mongoose who is in love with Lazlo in the 2005 American animated television series Camp Lazlo
- Patsy Stone, one of the main characters in the 1992–2005 British television series Absolutely Fabulous, played by Joanna Lumley
- Patsy Walker, also known as "Hellcat", a Marvel Comics superhero
Victim of deception
The popularity of the name has waned with the rise of its, chiefly North American, meaning as "dupe" or "scapegoat". Fact, Fancy and Fable, published in 1889, notes that in a sketch performed in Boston "about twenty years ago" a character would repeatedly ask "Who did that?" and the answer was "Patsy Bolivar!" It may have been popularized by the vaudevillian Billy B. Van, whose 1890s character, Patsy Bolivar, was more often than not an innocent victim of unscrupulous or nefarious characters. Van's character became a broad vaudeville "type", imitated by many comedians, including Fred Allen, who later wrote, "Patsy Bolivar was a slang name applied to a bumpkin character; later, it was shortened to Patsy, and referred to any person who was the butt of a joke."
Lee Harvey Oswald, after assassinating president John F. Kennedy, denied he was responsible for the murder, and stated: "No, they are taking me in because of the fact that I lived in the Soviet Union. I'm just a patsy!"
Byron Smith, after killing Haile Kifer and her cousin, Nicholas Brady, also claimed he was a patsy.
- "Names: Patsy". edgarbook. Archived from the original on 21 October 2009. Retrieved 16 November 2007.
- "Common Nicknames & Their Given Name Equivalents". About.com. Retrieved 16 November 2007.
- Soanes, Catherine & Stevenson, Angus (ed.) (2005). "Patsy". Oxford Dictionary of English (2nd revised ed.). Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press. p. 1291. ISBN 978-0-19-861057-1.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- Games, Alex (2010). Balderdash & Piffle. Random House. p. 275. ISBN 9781446415054.
- "Patsy". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
- Bader, Robert S. (2016). Four of the Three Musketeers: The Marx Brothers On Stage. Northwestern University Press. p. 103.
- "Oswald's Ghost". American Experience. PBS. Retrieved 2018-05-13.
- "A J.F.K. Assassination Glossary: Key Figures and Theories". The New York Times. October 26, 2017. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-05-13.
- "Transcripts". CNN.com. Retrieved 2018-07-15.