Definition of potato in English:

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Pronunciation: /pəˈteɪtəʊ/

noun (plural potatoes)

1A starchy plant tuber which is one of the most important food crops, cooked and eaten as a vegetable: roast potatoes [mass noun]: mashed potato
More example sentences
  • Avoid fatty and fried foods and stick to starchy foods like rice, potatoes and pasta.
  • Conventional wisdom dictates that starchy foods such as potatoes should give up their sugar slowly into the bloodstream.
  • Alternatively, the lamb may be cooked with potatoes or rice, the fat cooking out to enrich and flavour the starchy accompaniment.
2The plant of the nightshade family which produces potatoes on underground runners.
  • Solanum tuberosum, family Solanaceae. It was first cultivated in the Andes about 1,800 years ago and was introduced to Europe in circa 1570.
Example sentences
  • The turnips did fine in ground previously inhabited by beans, beets, lettuce and potatoes.
  • She is out with her son planting potatoes on the family farm.
  • Tomatoes are apart of the nightshade family, which include potatoes and eggplants.
3British informal A large hole in a sock or stocking, especially one in the heel.
Example sentences
  • I’ve got a potato in my sock.
  • Gumboots will hole a potato like a cannon-ball in the heels of a new pair of socks in an afternoon.


Mid 16th century: from Spanish patata, variant of Taino batata 'sweet potato'. The English word originally denoted the sweet potato and gained its current sense in the late 16th century.

  • ‘Let the sky rain potatoes’, says Falstaff in Shakespeare's play The Merry Wives of Windsor. A bizarre wish, you would think, until you know that he is referring to sweet potatoes, believed in the 16th and 17th centuries to have aphrodisiac qualities. Falstaff is in fact praying for erotic prowess. The first vegetable referred to as a potato in English was the sweet potato, introduced to Europe before the common white potato that we are most familiar with today. By the late 16th century, when white potatoes had appeared in England from America, the word was being applied to the new arrival. It comes from Spanish patata, a variant of an old Caribbean word batata ‘sweet potato’. See also crisp

Words that rhyme with potato

Cato, Plato

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: po¦tato

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