Cooked potatoes in cast iron skillet.
The Odd Reason Potatoes Are Called Spuds
People have loved potatoes for a long time, but the precise details of when and why they got the nickname ‘spuds’ remain a mystery.
The first recorded use of the nickname dates back to 1840, purportedly from an English traveler making note of it as a strange bit of American vocabulary.
The word ‘spud,’ however, likely has origins in another language entirely — where it referred not to the crop, but the tool for tending to it.
Records from the 1660s revealed that the term used to mean ‘spade,’ and it was probably related to the Danish word ‘spyd,’ which translates into English as ‘spear.’
So it seems fitting that it takes a bit of guessing and digging to unearth the history of the word ‘spud,’ considering the mysterious way that potatoes grow underground.