potato

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potayto, potahto

A negligible, trivial, or unimportant difference, distinction, or correction. (While "potahto" is not an accepted pronunciation in any English-speaking population, the phrase is an allusion to a verse in the song "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off": "You like potayto, I like potahto; you like tomayto, I like tomahto; potayto, potahto, tomayto, tomahto, let's call the whole thing off!") A: "Well, technically, the Hindenburg was a rigid airship, not a blimp." B: "Eh, potayto, potahto, who cares?"

couch potato

Someone who often engages in sedentary activities, usually understood as frequently watching television. Lisa wants to date a man who loves to travel and explore, not a couch potato who watches television all the time.
See also: couch, potato

hot potato

A sensitive situation or controversial issue that is difficult to handle and thus gets passed from one person to the next (like a potato that is too hot to hold). The political candidate knew the issue was a hot potato, so he deferred to his chief of staff, who directed questions to the committee chairperson.
See also: hot, potato

couch potato

a lazy individual, addicted to television-watching. All he ever does is watch TV; he's become a real couch potato. Couch potatoes can tend to become very fat and unhealthy, you know.
See also: couch, potato

drop someone or something like a hot potato

Fig. to disassociate oneself with someone or something instantly. When we learned of the conviction, we dropped him like a hot potato. I dropped the idea like a hot potato when the big boss said he didn't like it.
See also: drop, hot, like, potato

small potatoes

something or someone insignificant; small fry. This contract is small potatoes, but it keeps us in business till we get into the real money. Small potatoes are better than no potatoes at all.
See also: potato, small

a couch potato

  (informal)
a person who does not like physical activity and prefers to sit down, usually to watch television
Usage notes: A couch is a piece of furniture that people sit on.
The remote control television was invented for couch potatoes.
See also: couch, potato

a hot potato

  (informal)
something that is difficult or dangerous to deal with The abortion issue is a political hot potato in the United States.
See also: hot, potato

the meat and potatoes

  (American informal)
the most important or basic parts of something They stuck to the meat and potatoes of broadcasting - sports and news. (American informal)
See also: and, meat, potato

small beer

  (British, American & Australian informal) also small potatoes (American & Australian informal)
something that is not important, especially when compared to something else A loan of that size is small beer - these banks are lending millions of pounds a day. And we are not talking small potatoes - building the airport means many people in the area will lose their homes.
See also: beer, small

hot potato

A problem so controversial and sensitive that it is risky to deal with. For example, Gun control is a political hot potato. This term, dating from the mid-1800s, alludes to the only slightly older expression drop like a hot potato, meaning "to abandon something or someone quickly" (lest one be burned). The idiom alludes to the fact that cooked potatoes retain considerable heat because they contain a lot of water.
See also: hot, potato

meat and potatoes

The fundamental part or parts of something, as in This paragraph is the meat and potatoes of the contract. This metaphoric term transfers what some regard as basic fare to the basics of an issue. [Mid-1900s]
See also: and, meat, potato

small beer

Also, small potatoes. Of little importance, as in Don't listen to Henry; he's small beer, or It's silly to worry about that bill; it's small potatoes. The first term alludes to a beer of low alcoholic content (also called light beer today) and was used metaphorically by Shakespeare in several plays. The variant may have been invented by frontiersman Davy Crockett; it was first recorded in 1836. Also see small fry, def. 2.
See also: beer, small

all (that) meat and no potatoes

phr. said of a tremendously fat person. (Rude.) Look at that guy—all meat and no potatoes.
See also: all, and, meat, potato

all meat and no potatoes

verb
See also: all, and, meat, potato

couch potato

n. a lazy, do-nothing television watcher. (see also sofa spud.) If there was a prize for the best couch potato, my husband would win it.
See also: couch, potato

drop someone/something like a hot potato

tv. to disassociate oneself with someone or something instantly. When we learned of the conviction, we dropped him like a hot potato.
See also: drop, hot, like, potato

hot potato

n. a difficult problem. I sure don’t want to have to deal with that hot potato.
See also: hot, potato

mouse potato

n. someone who spends a great amount of time using a computer. (Based on couch potato.) Every since we go the new computer, Jane has turned into a regular mouse potato.
See also: mouse, potato

potato

n. the head. Put your hat on your potato, and let’s get out of here.

potato soup

n. vodka. (This liquor is typically made from potatoes.) Have a bit of this potato soup, why don’t you?
See also: potato, soup

small beer

n. nothing or next to nothing; an insignificant person. (From a very old word for weak or inferior beer.) Small beer or not, he’s my customer, and I will see that he is taken care of.
See also: beer, small

small potatoes

n. something or someone insignificant. This contract is small potatoes, but it keeps us in business till we get into the real money.
See also: potato, small

meat and potatoes

Informal
The fundamental parts or part; the basis.
See also: and, meat, potato

small potatoes

An inconsequential amount or insignificant item or matter. Dating from the mid-19th century, the phrase suggests not bothering with undersized spuds while harvesting or buying the vegetable.
See also: potato, small
References in periodicals archive ?
Alexander was the grandmother of Judy Holder, who works at Sweet Potato Sweets.
Traditional family recipes and lore have been collected along with new sweet potato concoctions into an inch-thick cookbook, a result of Vardaman's annual Sweet Potato Festival that will be held November 6-13 this year.
Sign up for the sweet potato pie-eating contest, sample them at the tasting booth, or compete to create a sweet potato creature.