from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Slang A van used by police for taking suspects into custody.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A police van for transporting prisoners.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An enclosed truck used by police to transport prisoners.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. van used by police to transport prisoners


Perhaps from paddy, policeman, from Paddy.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Supposedly from the term Paddy (a nickname for an Irishman). (Wiktionary)


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  • The etymology of the word Paddy refers to the Irish people - either the Irish police officers, or the Irish customers who rode in the back.

    May 26, 2013