American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A South American plant (Solanum tuberosum) widely cultivated for its starchy edible tubers.
- n. A tuber of this plant.
- n. A sweet potato. See Regional Note at possum.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The sweet potato. See below. [This was the original application of the name, and it is in this sense that the word is generally to be understood when used by English writers down to the middle of the seventeenth century.]
- n. One of the esculent tubers of the common plant Solanum tuberosum, or the plant itself. The potato is a native of the Andes, particularly in Chili and Peru, but in the variant boreale it reaches north to New Mexico. It was probably first introduced into Europe from the region of Quito by the Spaniards, in the earlier part of the fifteenth century. In 1586 it was brought to England from Virginia, where, however, it was probably derived from a Spanish source. Its progress in Europe was slow, its culture, even in Ireland, not becoming general till the middle of the eighteenth century; but it is now a staple food in most temperate climates. The fruit of the potato-plant is a worthless green berry; its useful product is the underground tubers, which in the wild plant are small, but are much enlarged under cultivation. These tubers, which are of a roundish or oblong shape, sometimes flattish, are set with “eyes,” really the axils of rudimentary leaves, containing ordinarily several buds, and it is by means of these that the plant is usually propagated. The food-value of the potato lies mostly in starch, of which it contains from 15 to 20 or 25 per cent. It is deflcient in albuminoids and phosphates. Besides their ordinary food-use. potatoes are a source of manufactured starch; and spirits are now distilled from them to a considerable extent, chiefly in Germany. The tops (in America called
vines, in England halms, in Scotland shaws) contain, together with the fruit, a poisonous alkaloid, solanin, absent in the tubers except when exposed to the sun. The varieties of the potato are numerous. The crop is often seriously injured by the potato-beetle and the potato-rot. To distinguish it from the yellow sweet potato, this plant is sometimes called white potatoor (from its being one of the chief food-staples in Ireland) Irish potato.
- n. The liliaceous genus Calochortus: so called from its bulb or corm.
- n. In Bengal, the yam.
- n. A plant tuber, Solanum tuberosum, eaten as a starchy vegetable, particularly in the Americas and Europe
- n. informal, UK A conspicuous hole in a sock or stocking
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A plant (Solanum tuberosum) of the Nightshade family, and its esculent farinaceous tuber, of which there are numerous varieties used for food. It is native of South America, but a form of species is found native as far north as New Mexico.
- n. The sweet potato (see below).
- n. annual native to South America having underground stolons bearing edible starchy tubers; widely cultivated as a garden vegetable; vines are poisonous
- n. an edible tuber native to South America; a staple food of Ireland
- From Taino batata ("sweet potato"), via Spanish patata. Not from a hypothetical Nahuatl word *potatl. (Wiktionary)
- Spanish patata, alteration (probably influenced by Quechua papa, white potato) of Taino batata, sweet potato. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“The Marathi term for pan-frying is paratne, and potato translates as batata, hence the Marathi name for this dish is paratlele batate.”
“Math is “maths,” an elevator is a “lift,” a truck is a “lorry,” a flashlight is a “torch,” and “crisps” are what they call potato chips, while “chips” over here means French fries.”
“Both the yellow and orange forms are varieties of Ipomoea batatas whose species name is the native American source of our word potato.”
“Vice-President Dan Quayle famously advised a young schoolboy to add the letter "e" to the end of the word "potato" during a spelling exercise.”
“Mr Nahigian was blamed by Dan Quayle for the notorious 1992 incident in which the then vice-president misspelt the word potato - adding an "e" on the end after, he said, Mr Nahigian had failed to notice the error on a cue card.”
“At first they look pretty awful - this is what she calls the potato wedge phase - but she fits them to my teeth over and over again.”
“Financial Times pronounced its Kettle Brand sea salt and balsamic vinegar chips tops in a taste test of "gourmet salt and vinegar crisps" which is what they call potato chips over there.”
“The English word potato comes from the Spanish patata.”
“However, no rotten apple or potato is safe within a couple hundred yards.”
“Our family has Swedish roots (remember, we're big on tradition) so we will have a Swedish potato sausage (we call it potato blogna).”
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