[puh-tey-toh, -tuh]
noun, plural potatoes.
Also called Irish potato, white potato. the edible tuber of a cultivated plant, Solanum tuberosum, of the nightshade family.
the plant itself.
sweet potato ( defs 1, 2 ).

1545–55; < Spanish patata white potato, variant of batata sweet potato < Taino

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
potato (pəˈteɪtəʊ)
n , pl -toes
1.  Irish potato, Also called: white potato
 a.  a solanaceous plant, Solanum tuberosum, of South America: widely cultivated for its edible tubers
 b.  the starchy oval tuber of this plant, which has a brown or red skin and is cooked and eaten as a vegetable
2.  any of various similar plants, esp the sweet potato
3.  slang hot potato a delicate or awkward matter
[C16: from Spanish patata white potato, from Taino batata sweet potato]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1565, from Sp. patata, from Carib (Haiti) batata "sweet potato." Sweet potatoes were first to be introduced to Europe; in cultivation in Spain by mid-16c.; in Virginia by 1648. Early 16c. Port. traders carried the crop to all their shipping ports and the sweet potato was quickly adopted from Africa to
India and Java. The name later (1597) was extended to the common white potato, from Peru, which was at first (mistakenly) called Virginia potato, or, because at first it was of minor importance compared to the sweet potato, bastard potato. Sp. invaders in Peru began to use white potatoes as cheap food for sailors 1536. The first potato from South America reached Pope Paul III in 1540; grown in France at first as an ornamental plant. According to popular tradition, introduced to Ireland 1565 by John Hawkins. Brought to England from Colombia by Sir Thomas Herriot, 1586. Ger. kartoffel (17c.) is a dissimilation from tartoffel, ult. from It. tartufolo (V.L. *territuberem), originally "truffle." Frederick II forced its cultivation on Prussian peasants in 1743. The Fr. is pomme de terre, lit. "earth-apple;" a Swed. dialectal word for "potato" is jordpäron, lit. "earth-pear." Colloquial pronunciation tater is attested in print from 1759. To drop (something) like a hot potato is from 1846. Children's counting-out rhyme that begins one potato, two potato first recorded 1885 in Canada.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see hot potato; meat and potatoes; small beer (potatoes).

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
This dish is a good choice if you prefer a not-too-sweet style of baked sweet
Nothing more than good olive oil and crunchy sea salt turn super-simple
  potatoes into an irresistible side dish.
It's approaching the time for me to dig my hands in there and harvest a few new
  potatoes (potatoes with flaky skin).
The gnocchi sound delicious - are they the potato kind?
Image for potato
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