AskDefine | Define Spuds

Extensive Definition

''This article is about the common nickname for the potato. For other uses, see Spud (disambiguation)
The term spud has been falsely traced to a 19th century activist group dedicated to keeping the potato out of Britain, calling itself The Society for the Prevention of an Unwholesome Diet. However, the correct etymology of "spud" is that this word for potato comes from the digging of soil/hole prior to planting the potatoes. The word is of unknown origin and was originally (c. 1440) used as a term for a short knife or dagger, probably related to Dutch spyd. It subsequently transferred over to a variety of digging tools. Around 1845 it transferred over to the tuber itself.
It was Mario Pei's 1949 The Story of Language that can be blamed for the false origin of the word. Pei writes, "the potato, for its part, was in disrepute some centuries ago. Some Englishmen who did not fancy potatoes formed a Society for the Prevention of Unwholesome Diet. The initials of the main words in this title gave rise to spud." Like many other pre-20th century acronymic origins, this one is false.
In the 17th century, Scottish clergymen banned their flocks from planting potatoes, saying that the tubers were unworthy of human consumption because they were not mentioned in the Bible. The first edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica (1768-71), originally published in Edinburgh in the 18th century, referred to the potato as a "demoralizing esculent."

Nicknames / other uses

For a more complete list of people and objects nicknamed "Spud", see the disambiguation page.
In the UK, people with the surnames Edwards, Murphy or Taylor have traditionally been given the nickname "Spud", though the practice does not seem so common in recent years. The "Edwards" connection comes from the variety of potato called "King Edward"; "Murphy" was a nickname for a potato many years ago, because it was so strongly associated with Ireland; "Taylor" was probably the name of a well-known potato supplier.
Former New Zealand Prime Minister Jim Bolger was nicknamed "Spud" by journalists, due to his background as a farmer and his Irish lineage. The Royal New Zealand Air Force unofficially called Bolgers' Boeing 727 aircraft Spud One.
The well known killer of Catholics, William Moore, of the Shankill Butchers was known to his friends as Spud.
"Bud the Spud" is a famous song about a potato truck driver from Prince Edward Island written and performed by Stompin' Tom Connors.
In The Real Ghostbusters cartoon series Slimer is often called Spud by Peter Venkman and Ray Stantz due to his potato like shape.
Spud is also a big, black, gay cat. He is sometimes referred to as "Spud the Stud" due to the fact that his name is Spud and he is a stud.
Spud is used as a generic slang term for a person (possibly as a form of self censorship) in the Batman comic book series Dark Knight Returns, mostly used by Carrie Kelley
Spuds in French: Spud
The English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur are sometimes called the Spuds by opposition supporters, as a name play on their nickname "Spurs".
Spud is a common oilfield term with a dual meaning which appears to refer back to its original definition. 1: The beginning of drilling of a specific location. 2: To apply a sudden downward force on the drill string.
The Chicago Cubs baseball team was called "Murphy's Spuds" or just "The Spuds" for a while in the early 1900s, when the team was owned by Charles W. Murphy and the nickname "Cubs" had not fully taken hold.
A Huckleberry Hound cartoon about a potato with a brain and megalomaniac intentions was called "Spud Dud".
A 1978 National Lampoon feature made for HBO, called Disco Beaver from Outer Space, included a stereotyped band of Irish singers called "The Spud Brothers" (potato-shaped puppets).
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