August 23, 2014

Potate = "What potatoes do."

"Haters gonna hate, potatoes gonna potate."

A trending word at Urban Dictionary. Don't confuse it with "potentate." Potentates don't potate.

By the way, there actually is an obsolete and rare word "potate," defined in the (unlinkable) OED as an adjective that perhaps means liquid or liquefied. The etymology is the  classical Latin pōtātus, the past participle of pōtāre, which means to drink (as in the English word potable or potation). The etymology of "potato" is different, related to Spanish and French words where the second letter was "a," not "o," patata and patate.

The word "potate" appears in the Ben Jonson play "Alchemist"  (1612 ):
Eight, nine, ten days hence,
He will be silver potate; then three days
Before he citronise: Some fifteen days,
The magisterium will be perfected.
That's alchemy talk. If you want to brush up on alchemy terms, here's "A Lexicon of Alchemy," also from 1612. "Magisterium" is defined as "a Chemical State which follows the process of extraction."


Michael K said...

Potentates are potent, though.

rhhardin said...

Patricians gotta pee.

- Automatic gotta searcher.

patrician = peer
peer = one who pees

chickelit said...

The Latin "potare" also gave us "potion."

"Poth8" = "potate" should be in the Urban Dictionary as well, reserved for anti-pot bigots.

Here is the fictional Italian 1st conjugation of "potare"

io poto
tu poti
lui /lei /Lei pota
noi potiamo
voi potate
loro /Loro potano

I think the Italians may have dropped "potare" (using instead "bevere" = to drink) from their language because it was easily confused with "potere" (an irregular verb of the 2nd conjugation) and which means "to be able to."

Combining potare with potere gives:

io posso potare...etc.

sojerofgod said...

Potentate: n. 1. a powerful potato. 2. a super spud.

Bob Boyd said...

Is our POTUS potating?

chickelit said...

From the linked alchemical lexicon:


Whence their acerbity.

jr565 said...

Do potatoes actually do anything?

chickelit said...


If you insist on fermenting such starch criticism, keep in mind that the distilled essence of fomented potatoes is vodka.

This message has been approved by the Travis County DA.

John Burgess said...

We do have the adjective "potable" to distinguish water that's safe to drink from that which is not.

madAsHell said...

That's when the embolus reaches your brain after 82 hours of sitting, and playing video games.

jr565 said...

Couch potating. As opposed to couch potatoing.

Wince said...

Let's call the whole thing off.

Dr Weevil said...

Bob Boyd:
A better question is whether our POTUS has been potating. 'Potus' is Latin for 'drunk'. Well, it's Latin for a man who is drunk. A woman is 'pota', two or more women are 'potae', and two or more men are 'poti'. Same endings as 'alumnus' and 'alumna'.

Bob Boyd said...

Is one who potates a potater?

If birds are found in flocks and lions in prides, what do you call a group of people potating together?
A sack of potaters?
A spud?
How about a lethargy of potaters?
A couch of potaters?
A mash?

Unknown said...

Haters hate, potatoes potate, masters ?????????

Rich B said...

No tag for pedantry?

Ann Althouse said...

"No tag for pedantry?"

Actually, I do have an Althouse the pedant tag, but this isn't what I use it for.

Ann Althouse said...

I've used the Althouse the pedant tag 6 times. See if you can figure out what's true of the posts with those tags that's not true of this.

tim in vermont said...

According to the rules of English, "Potate" is now a word. Nobody has the power to dictate usage. I just added it to my spell check.

"Pot8 should be in the Urban Dictionary as well, reserved for anti-pot bigots."

Ohhh Kaaay. Nothing stopping you from adding it except maybe lack of ambition... ;)