from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Informal A potato.
  • noun A sharp spadelike tool used for rooting or digging out weeds.
  • noun A short section of pipe or a threaded fitting that completes a connection, as between a longer pipe and a nozzle, valve, or meter.
  • transitive verb To remove with a sharp spadelike tool.
  • transitive verb To begin drilling operations on.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To remove by means of a spud: often with up or out.
  • To drill (a hole) by spudding (which see, below).
  • noun A stout knife or dagger.
  • noun A small spade, or a spade having a small blade, with a handle of any length; a small cutting-blade fixed in the axis of its handle, somewhat like a chisel with a very long handle, for cutting the roots of weeds without stooping.
  • noun A spade-shaped tool for recovering lost or broken tools in a tube-well.
  • noun A nail driven into the timbers of a drift or shaft, or fastened in some other way, so as to mark a surveying-station.
  • noun Any short and thick thing: usually in contempt.
  • noun A curved chisel-like tool for removing bark.
  • noun One of several heavy vertical pieces of timber shod with a pointed iron at the lower end, arranged to slide in guides on a floating dredge. When lowered to the bottom the spuds anchor the dredge and hold it in place against the push of the dredging machinery.
  • noun In archaeology, one of a class of pecked or polished stone implements varying considerably in size and form, but always having a rather broad blade with a sort of handle of variable length: often referred to as spade-like or paddle-shaped implements.
  • noun In surgery: A flat spade-like instrument used for the detachment of soft parts from bone.
  • noun An instrument of similar shape used in the extraction of foreign bodies from the eye.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A sharp, narrow spade, usually with a long handle, used by farmers for digging up large-rooted weeds; a similarly shaped implement used for various purposes.
  • noun obsolete A dagger.
  • noun Local, U.S. Anything short and thick; specifically, a piece of dough boiled in fat.
  • noun colloq. A potato.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A hole in a sock.
  • noun obsolete, US, dialect Anything short and thick; specifically, a piece of dough boiled in fat.
  • verb drilling To begin drilling an oil well; to drill by moving the drill bit and shaft up and down, or by raising and dropping a bit.
  • verb roofing To remove the roofing aggregate and most of the bituminous top coating by scraping and chipping.

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

  • noun an edible tuber native to South America; a staple food of Ireland
  • verb initiate drilling operations, as for petroleum
  • noun a sharp hand shovel for digging out roots and weeds
  • verb produce buds, branches, or germinate


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

[Middle English spudde, short knife.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Origin unknown; probably related to Danish spyd, Old Norse spjót ("spear").


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  • The island way of life, Lucy Maud Montgomery, and even "" Bud the spud from the bright red mud "" all evoke vibrant images of the island.

    Making Canada Better 2001

  • As reported earlier, the Company has engineered the next offset location near the NOJ26 and will be announcing a near term spud date sometime in January.

    American Petro-Hunter's North Oklahoma NOJ26 Oil Well Begins Commercial Production - Yahoo! Finance 2010

  • Most collimators use an expanding or caliber-specific arbor -- I've also heard it called a spud -- that fits snuggly into the bore and onto which the collimator is affixed.

    unknown title 2009

  • Most collimators use an expanding or caliber-specific arbor -- I've also heard it called a spud -- that fits snuggly into the bore and onto which the collimator is affixed.

    unknown title 2009

  • In its "Tell USDA to Keep Potatoes in Schools!" campaign, the National Potato Council calls the spud affordable and "kid pleasing," adding "familiar shapes make lunchtime fun."

    Spuds, on the Verge of Being Expelled, Start a Food Fight in the Cafeteria Jennifer Levitz 2011

  • Olga Mauriello, 74, of Naples, Italy, washed off a potato from a sack she'd just purchased and discovered that the spud was actually an active hand grenade.

    Boing Boing 2007

  • Once a week we sneak a spud into the diet The weekly indulging of the potatoes came right at the time of the outage.

    Where were you when the lights went out? scusteister 2008

  • Sen. Susan Collins, who hails from Maine's potato country and picked potatoes as a girl, is working to restore some respect for the humble spud, which is on the verge of being virtually banished from the nation's school lunch programs. Front Page 2011

  • Hercules determined that one device, known as a spud can, which stabilizes a retractable leg on the sea floor, had detached.

    unknown title 2011

  • You're right, peeling a spud is a total waste of time.

    BBC News | News Front Page | World Edition 2010


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  • UK vernacular for potato

    August 26, 2008

  • Not just UK.

    August 26, 2008

  • Mario Pei's incorrect etymology (1949) derived from the acronym for the "Society for the Prevention of Unwholesome Diet", a British group bent upon discouraging the use of potatoes as food in England during the 19th century.

    March 16, 2011

  • A small, but important potato-growing community between Palatka and St. Augustine, Florida, where young boys are sometimes nicknamed "Spud" rather than "Bubba".

    March 16, 2011

  • Perhaps there's an issue with the etymologies where a word has more than one meaning. In some cases it's not clear which meaning the etymology - usually only one - links to. Although in this case it is.

    March 16, 2011

  • I had a lovely couple of baked spuds for dinner last night.

    March 16, 2011