How Well Do You Know English Slang?
mid-15c., "small or poor knife," of uncertain origin probably related to Danish spyd, Old Norse spjot "spear," German Spiess "spear, lance"). Meaning "spade" is from 1660s; sense of "short or stumpy person or thing" is from 1680s; that of "potato" is first recorded 1845 in New Zealand English.
A blunt triangular knife used for removing foreign bodies from the cornea.
[1845+; origin unknown; perhaps related to the fact that in British dialect use spud means ''a weeding instrument'' and in US dialect it means ''a spade,'' hence potatoes would be something spudded or dug; a relation has been seen between the fact that potatoes are also the nickname of men named Murphy, or indeed of any Irishman]