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Taig, and formerly also Teague, are anglicisations of the Irish-language male given name Tadhg, used as ethnic slurs for a stage Irishman. Taig in the Troubles in Northern Ireland was used by Protestant loyalists to refer to Catholic nationalists.

Tadhg was once so common as an Irish name that it became synonymous with the typical person, with phrases like s Tadhg an mhargaidh ("Tadhg of the market") akin to "average Joe". In the late 1680s the satirical Williamite ballad Lillibullero includes the line: "Ho brother Taig hast thou heard the decree?" Conversely, the Irish-language name is used defiantly in a Jacobite poem written in the 1690s: "Who goes there" does not provoke fear / "I am Tadhg" is the answer given.[1] In 1698, John Dunton wrote a mocking account of Ireland, titled Teague Land – or A Ramble with the Wild Irish.

Although the term has rarely been used in North America, a notable example of such use was when John Adams successfully defended the British Army soldiers responsible for the 1770 Boston Massacre by pleading to the jury that the soldiers were acting in self-defence against:

... most probably a motley rabble of saucy boys, negros and molattoes, Irish Teagues and outlandish jack tarrs. —And why we should scruple to call such a set of people a mob, I can't conceive, unless the name is too respectable for them:[2]

In the context of segregation in Northern Ireland and sectarianism in Glasgow, the term "Taig" is used as a derogatory term for a Roman Catholic, used by Northern Irish Protestants and Ulster loyalists.[3][4] In this sense it is used in a similar way to the word Fenian, but is more ethnic in terms of abuse against people of Gaelic descent than "Fenian", which more commonly signifies Irish republican. Extremist loyalists have also used in graffiti slogans such as "Kill All Taigs" (KAT) and "All Taigs Are Targets".[4] Conversely, sectarian Irish Catholics sometimes use the derogatory term "hun" to refer to Protestants and the sectarian slogan "Kill All Huns" (KAH) can sometimes be found in graffiti.[5]


  1. ^ Céad buidhe re Dia ("A hundred thanks to God") by Diarmaid Mac Cárthaigh
  2. ^ "Summation of John Adams" in Rex v. Wemms. umkc.edu. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  3. ^ A Way With Words, Taig
  4. ^ a b Conflict Archive on the Internet. "A Glossary of Terms Related to the Conflict".
  5. ^ http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2007/may/13/comment.politics

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