noun, often attributive \pə-ˈtā-(ˌ)tō, -tə, dial pə-ˈdā-, bə-\
plural po·ta·toes

Definition of POTATO

a :  an erect South American herb (Solanum tuberosum) of the nightshade family widely cultivated for its edible starchy tuber
b :  the tuber of a potato —called also Irish potato, spud, white potato

Examples of POTATO

  1. She's growing carrots and potatoes in her garden this year.

Illustration of POTATO

Origin of POTATO

Spanish batata, from Taino
First Known Use: 1565

Other Food Terms

Reuben, calamari, chuck, curry, edamame, foie gras, hummus, leaven, nonpareil, peel

Rhymes with POTATO


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Potato (Solanum tuberosum).—Grant Heilman Photography

Herbaceous annual (Solanum tuberosum) in the nightshade family. One of the world's main food crops, the potato differs from other food crops in that the edible portion is a tuber. Highly digestible, potatoes are prepared for eating in many ways and are a major source of starch as well as amino acids, protein, vitamin C, and B vitamins. The stem grows 20–40 in. (50–100 cm) tall, sprouting spirally arranged compound leaves. Underground, stems extend as stolons, the ends of which enlarge into 1–20 tubers of variable shape and size. The tubers have spirally arranged buds (eyes) that may remain dormant after the tuber is fully grown for up to 10 weeks or more; they grow into plants identical to the parent plant. A native of the Andes, the potato (also known as the common potato, white potato, or Irish potato) was carried by Spaniards into Europe during the 16th century. A century later, it had become the major food crop in Ireland; disastrous damage to the crop by a fungal blight caused the Irish potato famine in the mid-1800s. See also sweet potato.


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