Potato Po*ta"to, n.; pl. {Potatoes}. [Sp. patata potato, batata sweet potato, from the native American name (probably batata) in Hayti.] (Bot.) (a) A plant ({Solanum tuberosum}) of the Nightshade family, and its esculent farinaceous tuber, of which there are numerous varieties used for food. It is native of South America, but a form of the species is found native as far north as New Mexico. (b) The sweet potato (see below). [1913 Webster]

{Potato beetle}, {Potato bug}. (Zo["o]l.) (a) A beetle ({Doryphora decemlineata}) which feeds, both in the larval and adult stages, upon the leaves of the potato, often doing great damage. Called also {Colorado potato beetle}, and {Doryphora}. See {Colorado beetle}. (b) The {Lema trilineata}, a smaller and more slender striped beetle which feeds upon the potato plant, bur does less injury than the preceding species.

{Potato fly} (Zo["o]l.), any one of several species of blister beetles infesting the potato vine. The black species ({Lytta atrata}), the striped ({Lytta vittata}), and the gray ({Lytta Fabricii} syn. {Lytta cinerea}) are the most common. See {Blister beetle}, under {Blister}.

{Potato rot}, a disease of the tubers of the potato, supposed to be caused by a kind of mold ({Peronospora infestans}), which is first seen upon the leaves and stems.

{Potato weevil} (Zo["o]l.), an American weevil ({Baridius trinotatus}) whose larva lives in and kills the stalks of potato vines, often causing serious damage to the crop.

{Potato whisky}, a strong, fiery liquor, having a hot, smoky taste, and rich in amyl alcohol (fusel oil); it is made from potatoes or potato starch.

{Potato worm} (Zo["o]l.), the large green larva of a sphinx, or hawk moth ({Macrosila quinquemaculata}); -- called also {tomato worm}. See Illust. under {Tomato}.

{Seaside potato} (Bot.), {Ipom[oe]a Pes-Capr[ae]}, a kind of morning-glory with rounded and emarginate or bilobed leaves. [West Indies]

{Sweet potato} (Bot.), a climbing plant ({Ipom[oe]a Balatas}) allied to the morning-glory. Its farinaceous tubers have a sweetish taste, and are used, when cooked, for food. It is probably a native of Brazil, but is cultivated extensively in the warmer parts of every continent, and even as far north as New Jersey. The name potato was applied to this plant before it was to the {Solanum tuberosum}, and this is the ``potato'' of the Southern United States.

{Wild potato}. (Bot.) (a) A vine ({Ipom[oe]a pandurata}) having a pale purplish flower and an enormous root. It is common in sandy places in the United States. (b) A similar tropical American plant ({Ipom[oe]a fastigiata}) which it is thought may have been the original stock of the sweet potato. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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  • potato — 1560s, 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. Portuguese traders carried the crop to all their shipping… …   Etymology dictionary

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  • potato — [pə tāt′ō, pətāt′ə] n. pl. potatoes [Sp patata, var. of batata, sweet potato < Taino name] 1. short for SWEET POTATO 2. a) the starchy, brown skinned or red skinned tuber of a widely cultivated plant (Solanum tuberosum) of the nightshade… …   English World dictionary

  • potato — ► NOUN ▪ a starchy plant tuber which is cooked and eaten as a vegetable. ORIGIN Spanish patata sweet potato , from Taino (an extinct Caribbean language) …   English terms dictionary

  • potato — has the plural form potatoes …   Modern English usage

  • Potato — Irish potato redirects here. For the confectionery, see Irish potato candy. For other uses, see Potato (disambiguation). Potato …   Wikipedia

  • potato — /peuh tay toh, teuh/, n., pl. potatoes. 1. Also called Irish potato, white potato. the edible tuber of a cultivated plant, Solanum tuberosum, of the nightshade family. 2. the plant itself. 3. See sweet potato (defs. 1, 2). [1545 55; < Sp patata… …   Universalium

  • potato — [16] Potato was originally the English name for the ‘sweet potato’ (when Falstaff in Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor 1598 cried ‘Let the sky rain potatoes!’ it was to the sweet potato, and its supposed aphrodisiac properties, that he was… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

  • potato — po•ta•to [[t]pəˈteɪ toʊ, tə[/t]] n. pl. toes 1) pln Also called Irish potato,white potato the edible tuber of a cultivated plant, Solanum tuberosum of the nightshade family. 2) pln the plant itself 3) pln sweet potato 1), sweet potato 2) •… …   From formal English to slang

  • potato — I. /pəˈteɪtoʊ / (say puh taytoh) noun (plural potatoes) 1. the edible tuber (white potato or Irish potato) of a cultivated plant, Solanum tuberosum. 2. the plant itself. {Spanish patata white potato, variant of batata sweet potato, from Haitian}… …  

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