Etymology
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potato (n.)

1560s, "sweet potato," from Spanish patata, from a Carib language of Haiti batata "sweet potato." Sweet potatoes were first to be introduced to Europe; they were in cultivation in Spain by mid-16c. and in Virginia by 1648. Early 16c. Portuguese traders carried the crop to all their shipping ports and the sweet potato was quickly adopted from Africa to India and Java.

"This was the original application of the name, and it is in this sense that the word is generally to be understood when used by English writers down to the middle of the seventeenth century" [Century Dictionary].

The name later (1590s) was extended (based on general likeness, both being esculent tubers) to the common white potato, native to Peru, which was at first (mistakenly) called Virginia potato, or, because at first it was of minor importance compared to the sweet potato, bastard potato. Spanish invaders in Peru began to use white potatoes as cheap food for sailors 1530s.

The first potato from South America reached Pope Paul III in 1540; it was grown in France at first as an ornamental plant. According to popular tradition, it was introduced to Ireland 1565 by John Hawkins. It was brought to England from Colombia by Sir Thomas Herriot, 1586.

German Kartoffel (17c.) is a dissimilation from tartoffel, ultimately from Italian tartufolo (Vulgar Latin *territuberem), originally "truffle." Frederick II forced its cultivation on Prussian peasants in 1743. The French is pomme de terre, literally "earth-apple;" a Swedish dialectal word for "potato" is jordpäron, literally "earth-pear."

Colloquial pronunciation tater is attested in print from 1759. Potato salad is by 1842 as a typical German dish; by 1844 in English cookery books. For Potato chip see chip (n.1); for the British alternative potato crisp see crisp (adj.). Slang potato trap "mouth" is attested from 1785. The Potato Famine in Ireland from 1845 to 1849 was so called by 1851, mostly outside Ireland; in it it is typically the Great Famine, Great Hunger, or Great Starvation.

To drop (something) like a hot potato is from 1824. Children's counting-out rhyme that begins one potato, two potato is recorded by 1885 in Canada.

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mold (n.1)

also mould, "hollow pattern of a particular form by which something is shaped or made," c. 1200, originally in a figurative sense, "fashion, form; nature, native constitution, character," metathesized from Old French modle "model, plan, copy; way, manner" (12c., Modern French moule), from Latin modulum (nominative modulus) "measure, model," diminutive of modus "manner" (from PIE root *med- "take appropriate measures").

By c. 1300 as "form into which molten metal, etc., is run to obtain a cast." By 1570s as "a form of metal or earthenware (later plastic) to give shape to jellies or other food. Figurative use of break the mold "render impossible the creation of another" is from 1560s.

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mold (n.2)

also mould, "minute, furry fungus," especially the types growing on neglected food and decaying organic matter, c. 1400, molde, probably from moulde, past participle of moulen "to grow moldy" (early 13c.), related to Old Norse mygla "grow moldy," possibly from Proto-Germanic *(s)muk- indicating "wetness, slipperiness," from PIE *meug- (see mucus). Or it might have evolved from (or been influenced by) Old English molde "loose earth" (see mold (n.3)).

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mold (v.)

also mould, mid-14c., "to mix, blend (something) by kneading;" late 14c. "to knead (bread), form into a particular shape," from mold (n.1). Figurative sense (of character, etc.) is from c. 1600. Related: Molded; molding.

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mold (n.3)

"fine, soft, loose earth," Old English molde "earth, sand, dust, soil; land, country, world," from Proto-Germanic *mulda (source also of Old Frisian molde "earth, soil," Old Norse mold "earth," Middle Dutch moude, Dutch moude, Old High German molta "dust, earth," Gothic mulda "dust"), from PIE root *mele- "to crush, grind." Specifically, since late (Christian) Old English, "the earth of the grave." Also, from c. 1300 as "earth as the substance out of which God made man; the 'dust' to which human flesh returns."

The proper spelling is mold, like gold (which is exactly parallel phonetically); but mould has long been in use, and is still commonly preferred in Great Britain. [Century Dictionary, 1897]
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patootie (n.)
"sweetheart, pretty girl," colloquial American English, 1921, perhaps a corruption of potato (c.f. sweet potato). Sweet patootie is recorded from 1919 as a generic exclamation.
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remold (v.)

also re-mold, remould, "to mold or shape anew or again," 1700, from re- "back, again" + mold (v.). Related: Remolded; remolding.

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molded (adj.)

also moulded, "formed in or as in a mold," 1680s, past-participle adjective from mold (v.).

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tater (n.)
1759, representing colloquial pronunciation of potato.
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moldy (adj.)

also mouldy, "overgrown or covered with mold, decaying," 1570s, earlier mowly (late 14c.), from mold (n.2) + -y (2). Related: Moldiness.

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