Green’s Dictionary of Slang

potato n.

1. constr. with the, the right thing, the apposite thing; usu. as quite the potato; thus negative, not quite the potato.

[UK]Noctes Ambrosianae May 175: Upon my honor, that's a most natty surtout—and your spatterdashes, why they are quite the potato.
[UK]London Lit. Gaz. 19 Jan. 35/2: Ravishing thy Russian ice; and thy new ‘Souffle’ quite the potato.
[UK](con. 1737–9) W.H. Ainsworth Jack Sheppard (1917) xxxvi: Larry is quite ‘the potato’.

2. (also spud) a large hole in a sock or stocking through which the flesh shows [? the shape + the dirt that accrues to the bare flesh].

implied in tater n. (2)
[UK]Baring-Gould Eng. Illus. Mag. June 616: ... potatoes, that is, holes in the fleshings perceptible in many places [F&H].
[UK]E.E. Rogers [perf. Vesta Tilley] Don’t it do your eyesight good! [lyrics] [Y]ou find she has potatoes in the heels of both her hose.
Dundee Eve. Exp. 12 Jan. 3: My husband would always walk about with potatoes in his socks [...] the polite name for holes.
[UK]W. Holtby South Riding (1988) 110: For goodness’ sake, during break, ask Miss Parsons for some wool and mend that stocking [...] Every time I look up I’m confronted by that terrible potato!
Dly Mirror 24 Jan. 4/4: That ‘potato.’ A soldier must not consider his socks unserviceable until the hole [is] one inch.
[UK]A. Buckeridge Thanks to Jennings (1988) 166: I’ve got a massive great potato in the heel and she said she’d mend it.
[NZ]N. Hilliard Maori Girl 231: She darned the holes in his working socks – spuds, she called them.
[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 1135/1: since late C.19.
[Aus]Aus. Word Map [Internet] spud. Hole worn through a sock.

3. a person, often as an insult with a negative adj.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 22 Oct. 9/3: As a closer of boot-uppers Frawncis Habigle is justly famous, but as a mining Minister he is a remarkably unobtrusive potato indeed.
[Aus]T.E. Spencer ‘Liza’ in Budgeree Ballads 85: I’m a clean pertater, Liza.
[US]W.L. Gresham Nightmare Alley (1947) 264: Molly, the dumb little potato.
[Aus]D. Niland Call Me When the Cross Turns Over (1958) 69: That would be the day, Locky retorted, when some bloody potater [...] had him stringing along with her.
[US]J. Webb Fields of Fire (1980) 230: That fat potato looked me square in the face and called me a coward!

4. senses based on the shape.

(a) (US) the head; cite 1892 is fig. use, the mind.

[UK]Illus. Police News 24 Dec. 4/1: ‘I’ve cooked a yarn that will suit old Goggles’ potato to a T’.
[US]T.A. Dorgan in Zwilling TAD Lex. (1993) 65: When Dave Shade hit Jimmy Slattery on the potato at the Italian Hospital Fund fight, he gave the Shade family the biggest boost it ever had.
[US]A.J. Liebling ‘The Jollity Building’ in Just Enough Liebling (2004) 237: They just stick their potato in every office and say, ‘Anything for me today?’.
[US]A.J. Liebling Honest Rainmaker (1991) 24: [I] took the boss’s green eyeshade [...] and placed it on my towish potato.

(b) (US) a bump, a swelling.

[US]P. Di Donato Christ in Concrete 219: Madonn, what a potato I Have! [Ibid.] 257: With a stone I raised a potato on his bull-head.

5. (also potato chip) a dollar; money; usu. in pl. [on the ‘vegetable’ pattern of cabbage n.2 (3a), kale n., lettuce n.1 etc. although unlike them not green].

[US]T.A. Dorgan in Zwilling TAD Lex. (1993) 65: An’ the guy charged him five potato chips for the tow.
[UK]C. Beaton Cecil Beaton’s N.Y. 25: The guy [...] must have more potatoes in his pocket than most guys who walk along Broadway these days.
[US]D. Runyon Runyon à la Carte 93: The Sky [...] loses all his potatoes betting a guy St. Louis is the biggest town in the world.
[US]B. Schulberg On the Waterfront (1964) 262: A steady job. A couple extra potatoes, that’s all I want.
[US]S. Longstreet Flesh Peddlers (1964) 198: Nose, he swipes it, see, and changes it to ‘I’ll give you five hundred potatoes for your...’.
[UK]N. Smith Gumshoe (1998) 122: A job. A few potatoes to earn. Like the next guy.
[US](con. 1949) J.G. Dunne True Confessions (1979) 94: It wasn’t as if Turd was a Bruno Hauptmann, pulling a kidnap for the potatoes.
[UK]Guardian G2 10 Sept. 13: Insuring the cream of British talent is small potatoes. ‘It was about a quarter of a million.’.
[UK]K. Sampson Outlaws (ms.) 29: That fact is that drugs is business. Big fucking potatoes.

6. (Can.) a native of New Brunswick [the province grows many potatoes; the implication is one of rural stolidness and stupidity].

[US]Maledicta II:1+2 (Summer/Winter) 168: Potato Anyone from New Brunswick, a potato-growing province. Implies stupidity.

7. (US) a severely disabled person.

[US]S. Stallone Paradise Alley (1978) 210: A vicious beating could leave you a breathing potato for the rest of your life.

8. (N.Z.) a Polynesian (regarded as being brown on the outside but white on the inside).

[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 163: potato A Polynesian, brown on the outside, white within.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

potato bag (n.)

(Anglo-Irish) the stomach.

[Ire]‘A Real Paddy’ Real Life in Ireland 54: You stood a prime chance of having a soldier’s bayonet passed through your potatoe bag.
potato-box (n.)

the mouth.

[UK]Era (London) 21 Jan. 11/3: Charley made his right tell on Bob’s potato-box, and then letting fly with his right [etc].
potato chip (n.)

see sense 5 above.

potato-eater (n.) (also potato-consumer, -head, pratie-machine, spud-eater, tater-eater) [stereotyping; -head sfx (2)/pratie n./spud n.3 (1)/tater n. (1)]

an Irishman.

[UK]‘Bill Truck’ Man o’ War’s Man (1843) 80: You bog-trotting potato-eater.
[UK]Bradford Obs. 9 Mar. 5/3: The young potato eater is really boiling with rage, and offering the most frightful menaces.
[UK]Operative (London) 7 Apr. 16/1: Letters from London by the Irish Potato Eater.
[UK]Royal Cornwall Gaz. 13 Feb. 2/5: How the penniless potato eater is to be by remitting the duties on wheat, he did not explain.
[US]N.Y. Times 14 Feb. 8/3: Relieved of [...] potato rot [...] we can enjoy [potatoes] to our heart’s content [...] without being ranked among ‘Irish potato eaters’.
[US]A.F. Hill Our Boys 239: Come, now, my red-headed Irish pratie-machine.
[US]G.W. Harris Sut Lovingood’s Yarns 110: That tater-eater hed a hole inter the sittin down part ove his britches.
[UK]Sporting Times 1 Mar. 1/5: Ballyhooly’s Rules of Football have proved a great success in Ireland. [...] ‘No, yer honour,’ said the potato consumer.
[UK]Star (Renoldsville, PA) 7 June 6/4: Now then, you old potato-eater.
[US]Anaconda Standard (MO) 7 Feb. 3/2: Several of the spud-eaters affirm that green will be sported.
[Aus]M. Garahan Stiffs 227: I make it a bob, you spud-eater.
[US]B. Schulberg On the Waterfront (1964) 152: Uh, I’m just a potato eater, but isn’t it as simple as one-two-three?
[US]Maledicta II:1+2 (Summer/Winter) 168: Potato-eater Anyone from Ireland, or of Irish descent, after the Irish dietary staple.
[US]H. Gould Fort Apache, The Bronx 138: You scruffy Irish potato eater, what do you know about style?
[US]Maledicta VII 24: The Irish were called potato eater, potato head, and spud.
[US]H. Rawson Dict. of Invective (1991) 229: potato eater, an Irishman.
[US]T. Fontana ‘Orpheus Descending’ Oz ser. 4 ep. 14 [TV script] That’s all we need in this place: another spud-eating mick.
[Can]Gazette (Montreal) 7 July W8/3: The poorer Irish, the spud eaters, were said to be larger, healthier [...] than other Europeans.
potato-face (n.) (also tater face, spud face) [spud n.3 (1)]

(US) a mild term of abuse; thus potato-faced adj.

[UK]T. Sheridan Brave Irishman I i: Add to this [...] a Cumberland pinch to his hat, an old red coat, and a damn’d potatoe-face.
[UK]London Standard 14 Dec. 3/1: The four magistrates were Dean Mahon [...] and potato-faced M’Donough.
[Ire]Sligo Champion 11 Mar. 1/3: Paddy Lambert, a thumping, potato-faced Irishman.
[UK]‘Paul Pry’ Oddities of London Life I 152: A regular potato-faced Irish witch came forward.
[UK]E. Howard Jack Ashore I 294: The artfulness of her tater-faced dump of a daughter.
[US]D. Corcoran Pickings from N.O. Picayune (1847) 20: The other was a dumpy, potato-faced Irishman.
[Ire]D.O. Madden Revelations of Ireland 115: Why, you potato-faced pippin-sneezer.
[UK]Glasgow Herald 7 Apr. 3/6: A long potato-faced Milesian is bawling out the contents of the ‘sensation song book’.
[UK]Eve. Teleg. (Dundee) 17 Mar. 2/2: This ghostly adviser is a potato-faced jovial irishman.
[US]Hartford Herald (KY) 21 June 2/2: A number of potato-faced specimens made spectacles of themselves.
[US]S.F. Call 17 Oct. 2/2: The candidate referred to the non-union employers [...] as ‘piping, sneezing, potato faced [...] cowardly curs’.
[UK]Derby Dly Teleg. 29 Jan. 4/5: ‘Now then,’ shrieked Mrs Elias P. Hutchings, ‘Miss Smith, you fix on to that potato-faced one!’.
[Aus]D. Niland Gold in the Streets (1966) 139: What the hell’s he’s always got to be pushing his big spud face into other people’s business.
[US]S. King Christine 166: Off my case, potato-face.
potato-finger (n.) [the shape + the supposed aphrodisiac quality of the sweet potato]

1. the penis.

[UK]Shakespeare Troilus and Cressida V ii: How the devil Luxury, with his fat rump and potato-finger, tickles these together!
[UK]Fletcher Loyal Subject II ii: ‘How fit ’tis [i.e. a ring] for my finger.’ [...] ‘No doubt you’l find too A finger fit for you.’.
[UK]R. Brome Northern Lasse IV iv: I doubt your middle finger is too short, Mr. Widgine.
‘Sentimental Sprig’ Records of the [...] Beggar’s Benison 76: The middle finger’s favourite ring, That friction sets on fire.
C.A. Sima Jane’s Bad Hare Day 81: Ask him why he sticks his potato finger down the drain. Ask him if it’s prost. (The entire family, uncles, aunts, cuz, all have this urethral phobia.).

2. a dildo.

[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular.
potato-fingered Irishman (n.) [negative stereotyping]

a clumsy person.

[US]Maledicta IX 57: Irishman, potato-fingered n Clumsy person; from the alleged predilection of the Irish for potatoes and the stereotype of their awkwardness.
potato-grabber (n.)

(US) a finger, a hand.

Wkly Clarion (Jackson, MS) 3 Aug. 3/4: Merriman run his potato-grabbers around his windpipe and treated him to a good choking.
Wkly Democratic Statesman (Austin, TX) 12 Oct. 1/6: A soldier who had shaken hands with the grandfather [...] stretched out his [...] potato grabber to the grandson.
Clarkesville Wkly Chron. (TN) 16 Oct. 1/3: Slim Jim’s potato grabbers.
[US]Sedalia Wkly Bazoo (MO) 29 Dec. 5/1: The dysapeptics are today walking around with [...] their right potato grabber on that part of their anatomy.
potato-head (n.)

see separate entry.

potato jack (n.) [jack n.14 (1)]

(US) illicit liquor distilled from potatoes.

News-Jrnl (Mansfield, OH) 27 June 2/2: A posse [...] confiscated five gallons of potato jack whiskey and 40 gallons of mash.
News-Jrnl (Mansfield, OH) 3 July 14/3: Home brew, potato jack and the other jacks may be all right for Saturday nighters and week-end parties [etc].
[US]G.V. Higgins Cogan’s Trade (1975) 169: He won’t get enough potato jack in the can to kill himself.
M.R. White ‘Gambit Reflex’ on John Rummel’s homepage [Internet] I don’t remember what happened next, what with oxygen loss and that rotgut potato jack and all, but I clearly remember waking up in Med Station 3.
M. Leitch Smoke King n.p.: The corporal was feeling confused suddenly, as if the potato jack he'd been drinking earlier had returned to disable him.
potato jaw (n.) [its use in consuming the vegetable]

the mouth.

[UK]Mme D’Arblay Diary (1891) III 333: Hold you your potato-jaw, my dear.
[UK]Manchester Times 26 Nov. 4/3: ‘Hold you your potato-jaw, my dear,’ cried the Duke.
potato nigger (n.)

an Irishman.

potato queen (n.) [? the SE potato as a quintessential Western food + -queen sfx (2)]

(US gay) an East Asian gay man who prefers Western partners.

[US]H. Max Gay (S)language.
[US] Queer Sl. in the Gay 90s [Internet] Potato Queen – (Asian) guys preferring white men.
[SA]K. Cage Gayle 89/1: potato queen n. man who likes sex only with white men [American Gayspeak with limited usage in South Africa].
J.F. Rooney Rice Queen Spy 194: Now I laugh when I hear I am called a rice queen, and someone else is a potato queen because he likes whites.
[US](con. early 1960s) E. White in N.Y. Rev. Bks 25 Oct. [Internet] I would in effect teach them how to camp—[...] how to label a guy who likes blacks (‘a dinge queen’) or Asians (‘a rice queen’).
potato-stealer (n.)

(US) a hand.

[US]A.B. Longstreet Georgia Scenes (1848) 118: Let your Uncle Johnny put his potato stealer (hand) into that hat, and tickle the chins of them are shiners a little!
Wilmington Jrnl (MC) 6 Aug. 1/3: Johnny put his potato stealer (hand) into that hat.
[US]Dly Phoenix (Columbia, SC) 16 June 2/2: He raised his hand in an imploring attitude [...] and one of them fired his pistol at the palm of the upraised potato stealer.
potato-trap (n.) (also pratee-trap, pratie-trap, turnip-trap) [SE trap/trap n.1 (5)/pratie n.]

the mouth (cf. tater-trap under tater n.).

[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Don’t flash your ivory but shut your potatoe trap and give your guts a holiday, i.e. be silent.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.: [as cite 1785] [...] Irish Wit. Thus expressed in England, Shut your mouth keep your guts warm, the Devil loves hot Tripes.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (3rd edn) n.p.: Shut your potatoe trap and give your tongue a holiday; i.e. be silent.
[UK]G. Andrewes Dict. Sl. and Cant.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum [as cit. 1796].
[UK]Salisbury & Winchester Jrnl 8 June 3: This here girl opened her potato trap upon me.
[UK]‘Bill Truck’ Man o’ War’s Man (1843) 37: Clap a stopper on that vile potato-trap o’ yours.
[Ire]Tom and Jerry; A Musical Extravaganza II iv: Bad luck to de ha’porth passed my pratee-trap dis blessed night.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Jorrocks Jaunts (1874) 13: ‘Hold your jaw, Mr. J——,’ cries Tom, ‘you are always throwing that red rag of yours. I wish you would keep your potato-trap shut’.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Handley Cross (1854) 13: Shut up your potato trap! I see how it is.
[US]T. Haliburton Sam Slick in England II 7: Jist take my advice, and mind your potatoe-trap, or you will be in trouble.
[Ire]Tipperary Free Press 29 June 2/6: Shut your pratie trap, you ignoramus.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Hillingdon Hall III 149: I’ll bring the ball into the Court of Exchequer, and let Baron Halderson have a look in his turnip trap.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 27 Sept. 3/1: Getting clear, the native caught York slightly on the potatoe trap.
[UK]‘Cuthbert Bede’ Adventures of Mr Verdant Green (1982) II 166: While to another he would mention as an interesting item of news [...] ‘That’ll damage your potato-trap!’.
[UK](con. 1811) Fights for the Championship 47: The carmine distilled freely from his potatoe trap.
[UK]Chambers’s Journal xiii, 348: His mouth is his ‘potatoe trap’ – more shortly, ‘tatur trap’ – or kisser [F&H].
[Aus]Sydney Morn. Herald 21 June 10/5: Hard drinking, and ignoble slang, constitute the entertainment. [...] It is know-ng to have a bet on the next fight, and to talk about a man's ‘peepers,’ and ‘potato-trap’.
[US]Night Side of N.Y. 80: His nose is a ‘conk,’ his chest a ‘bread-basket,’ his mouth a ‘potato-trap’.
[UK]Belfast News Letter 4 Oct. 3/3: Shut up that ‘pratie’ trap there, and let us hear the speaker.
[UK]Sl. Dict.
Carlson Advocate (Lehighton, PA) 12 Sept. 4/1: He [...] ordered the old man to open his potato trap.
[US]Salt lake Herald (UT) 5 June 7/2: Garside [...] landed a few mosquito killers on Pierce’s bread basket and potato trap.
[Aus]K. Mackay Out Back 237: ‘Lay yure hid back,’ says he, ‘and open yure potatee trap.’.
[US]Vanguard Library 31 Mar. 1: Shouldn’t fill your potato-trap so full.
O.W. Holmes letter 26 May in Holmes-Pollock Letters I (1961) 14: With which I close my potato-trap — for speech — to open it again to take in luncheon.
[US]DN V 238: potato trap, n. phr. Mouth. ‘Shut your potato trap’.
[Ire]Share Slanguage.

In phrases

smooth potato (n.)

(US teen) an attractive female.

[US]Chicago Trib. Graphic Section 26 Dec. 7/1: Jive Talk [...] Smooth Girl Slick chick. Sweet stuff. Wolf bait. Queen of hearts. P-38. Able Grable. A good deal. A doll. Smooth potato. Hot gingerbread. Pretty pigeon. 20-20 little squab.

In exclamations