A lot vs. Alot: 9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[puh-tey-toh, -tuh] /pəˈteɪ toʊ, -tə/
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 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for potatoes
  • In the hominess of the diner, eggs and potatoes steaming on our plates, it all seemed sort of old-fashioned and wholesome.
  • To facilitate observation they lured the creatures out of the forest with rations of sweet potatoes and wheat.
  • They found that pounded meat and potatoes caused more weight gain than raw food.
  • As in mashed squash, rutabaga, or sweet potatoes and bourbon.
  • For starters, here's a fast and easy way to prepared baked potatoes in minutes instead of an hour or more.
  • Sometimes salads can be comforting, especially when warm potatoes are part of the mix.
  • Representing that fatty midsection of the gift pyramid, this function is the meat and potatoes of development.
  • Simply put, sometimes potatoes flower and fruit, and sometimes they don't.
  • Layer half of the potatoes in the dish, overlapping them slightly.
  • It has the leaden consistency and gaseous redolence of a diet thick with potatoes.
British Dictionary definitions for potatoes


noun (pl) -toes
Also called Irish potato, white potato
  1. a solanaceous plant, Solanum tuberosum, of South America: widely cultivated for its edible tubers
  2. the starchy oval tuber of this plant, which has a brown or red skin and is cooked and eaten as a vegetable
any of various similar plants, esp the sweet potato
(slang) hot potato, a delicate or awkward matter
Word Origin
C16: from Spanish patata white potato, from Taino batata sweet potato
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for potatoes



1560s, from Spanish patata, from a Carib language of 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. Portuguese 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 (1590s) 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. Spanish invaders in Peru began to use white potatoes as cheap food for sailors 1530s. 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.

German kartoffel (17c.) is a dissimilation from tartoffel, ultimately from Italian tartufolo (Vulgar Latin *territuberem), originally "truffle." Frederick II forced its cultivation on Prussian peasants in 1743. The French is pomme de terre, literally "earth-apple;" a Swedish dialectal word for "potato" is jordpäron, literally "earth-pear."

Colloquial pronunciation tater is attested in print from 1759. Potato chip (n.) attested from 1879. To drop (something) like a hot potato is from 1824. Children's counting-out rhyme that begins one potato, two potato first recorded 1885 in Canada. Slang potato trap "mouth" attested from 1785.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for potatoes


  1. A dollar: You can get this wonderful coat for 497 potatoes (1931+)
  2. A baseball (1940s+ Baseball)
Related Terms

couch potato, hot potato, meat and potatoes, small potatoes, sweet potato

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with potatoes
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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