Tadhg (alternative spellings include Tadgh[1][2][3] and Tadg[4][5]) (English /tɡ/, /tɡ/ or /tɡ/; Irish [t̪ˠəiɡ]),[6] is an Irish and Scottish Gaelic masculine name that was very common when the Goidelic languages predominated, to the extent that it is a synecdoche for Irish-speaking man. The name signifies "poet" or "philosopher". This was also the name of many Gaelic Irish kings from the 10th to the 16th centuries, particularly in Connacht and Munster. Tadhg is most common in south-west Ireland, particularly in County Cork and County Kerry. The name has enjoyed a surge in popularity recently; in 2005 it was the 69th most common name for baby boys and in 2010 the 40th, according to the Central Statistics Office in Ireland.[7]

DerivationProto-Celtic *tazgj-o-
Meaningpoet, philosopher, storyteller
Other names
Short form(s)Tig
Pet form(s)Tadhgín
Cognate(s)Tadgh, Taigh, Taidgh, Tighe, Tigue, Teague, Taig, Ty


The commonly accepted meaning of Tadhg is "poet"[8] or "storyteller". The ultimate derivation is from the Celtic *tazg(j)o-, who were poets in early Celtic society. In any case, the name is widely attested in Gaulish and early British names.

When the whole of Ireland was part of the United Kingdom, many Irish names and place-names were given English meanings. Due to similarity in sound, Tadhg is often listed as an Irish equivalent of the English-language names Thaddeus, Timothy (Tim) or sometimes[citation needed] Thomas, but these names are not actually related.

The name is also spelled "Taḋg" in Gaelic type with an overdot over the d to indicate it is lenited; the "dh" serves a similar purpose in the modern spelling. Tadhg has been anglicized as "Tighe" and "Teague". Alternative spellings are "Tadgh", "Tadhgh","Taigh", "Taidgh" (found in North London).


Tadhg is also a synecdoche and was once so common as an Irish name that it became synonymous with the typical Irishman in the same way that Paddy or Mick might be today. Hence, Irish phrases such as Tadhg an mhargaidh (lit: Tadhg of the market) or Tadhg na sráide (lit: Tadhg of the street) are similar to the English language expression "average Joe" or "the man on the street"[9]

The anglicisation Taig (and formerly Teague) has been used in English since the seventeenth century as an ethnic slur for a stage Irishman. The Irish-language name is used defiantly in a Jacobite poem written in the 1690s:

Original[10]   Translation
"You Popish rogue", ní leomhaid a labhairt sinn "You Popish rogue" is not spoken
acht "Cromwellian dog" is focal faire againn but "Cromwellian dog" is our watchword,
nó "cia sud thall" go teann gan eagla "Who goes there" does not provoke fear,
"Mise Tadhg" géadh teinn an t-agallamh "I am Tadhg" is the answer given

Taig in the Troubles in Northern Ireland was used by Protestant loyalists to refer to Catholic nationalists.[9]

People with the nameEdit


Gaelic nobilityEdit


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Nash, J. (2006). New Essays on Maria Edgeworth. Ashgate Pub. p. 145. ISBN 978-0-7546-5175-8. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  2. ^ Coghlan, P. (1998). Irish Names for Children. Mercier Press. p. 56. ISBN 978-1-85635-214-7. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  3. ^ Moser, J.P. (2013). Irish Masculinity on Screen: The Pugilists and Peacemakers of John Ford, Jim Sheridan and Paul Greengrass. MCFARLAND & Company Incorporated. p. 117. ISBN 978-0-7864-7416-5. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  4. ^ Mountain, H. (1998). The Celtic Encyclopedia. 4. Universal Publishers. p. 991. ISBN 978-1-58112-893-2. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  5. ^ Mike Campbell. "Behind the Name: Meaning, origin and history of the name Tadg". behindthename.com. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  6. ^ "Teague, Taig". Oxford English Dictionary (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. (Subscription or participating institution membership required.) (pronunciations given for the name Tadgh separately from those for the slang/pejorative Teague)
  7. ^ Irish Babies' Names 2010, Central Statistics Office
  8. ^ Babies' Names, Oxford University Press, 1995, ISBN 0-19-211647-9, entry for "Tadhg"
  9. ^ a b A Way With Words, Taig
  10. ^ Céad buidhe re Dia ("A hundred thanks to God") by Diarmaid Mac Cárthaigh
  11. ^ "Tadg: What Is The Meaning of the Name Tadg? Analysis Numerology Origin". whatisthemeaningofname.com. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  12. ^ George MacDonald Fraser (1 December 2011). Flashman's Lady (The Flashman Papers, Book 3). HarperCollins Publishers. ISBN 978-0-00-744949-1.
  13. ^ Lance Pettitt (2000). Screening Ireland: Film and Television Representation. Manchester University Press. pp. 124–. ISBN 978-0-7190-5270-5.

External linksEdit