Hey there, this is Teacher Ola Podcast episode 62: 8 Funny Potato Idioms. Vocabulary Booster.

My name’s Ola and I’ve overcome a massive language blockade myself and now I help you do the same. I’ve been teaching English since 2012. If you want to eliminate you fear of speaking and boost your vocabulary, brush up your grammar, improve your pronunciation, this podcast is for you!  Go to my website for full transcripts and worksheets to each episode. Happy learning!

Hello again! Welcome back. Today we’re going to boost your vocabulary by adding 8 potato idioms. Because why not? Let’s have some fun with English. First I’ll give you eight definitions of potato idioms. You’ll learn an idiomatic expression for vodka, how to call someone spending too much time in front of the television or why hot potato is something nobody likes.  What are small potatoes? And can we pronunce /potato/ /patato/? After learning the theory we’ll buckle down and practice. You’ll repeat lots of sentences with the idioms we’ll have learnt by then. Ok. We’re ready. 

Let’s now move on to eight funny potato idioms:

  • Couch potato

This is someone who spends a lot of time sitting and watching television. This person is lazy and inactive. Lazybones, a slouch, a slug, a slugabed, if you will. I’ll give you one example to repeat, but as I’ve said in the intro, stay with me till the end, there’s more practice for you after we go through all the idioms. Listen and repeat:

She wants to date a man who loves to travel and explore, not a couch potato.

  • Hot potato

It’s ​a problem or situation that is difficult and unpleasant to deal with. It might be a   controversial question or issue that involves unpleasant or dangerous consequences for anyone dealing with it. Noone wants to get burned. Nobody wants to deal with it because it’s difficult to handle.  Often it’s passed from one person to the next. For example:

The issue has become a political hot potato.

  • Small potatoes

This is someone or something that is unimportant or impressive. Especially when you compare it to other people or things. Listen and repeat:

Last week’s storm was small potatoes compared to the blizzard we had two years ago.

  • Meat and potatoes

Do you remember how our parents, grandparents told us to eat the meat and leave the potatoes? Because meet is so damn good for you? Yep. And! Do you remember how we all used to burry the meat in potatoes so that they think we ate them? I’m a vegetarian today so I don’t subscribe to this idea. At all. Maybe I have some trauma from childhood? I’m just kidding. Bear in mind that nobody even mentioned the greens. The salad, the veggies. They’re sort of unimportant. 

Only meant and potatoes count. Meat and Meat and potatoes mean ​the most basic and important aspect or part of something, like a discussion, decision, a piece of work. Something. The most basic and fundamental aspects of something. Listen and repeat:

Let’s get down to the meat and potatoes. How much is it?

  • Mouse potato

This is a person who spends way too much time using a computer.  This idiom evolved from a couch potato. This generation doesn’t spend much time in front of the television. Me for example, I don’t even have one. But the computer? Yes. I’m a mouse potato. An example:

I’ve turned into a regular mouse potato.

  • Potato soup

It’s just a dish. A delicious dish. Who doesn’t like a bowl of this hot yumminess? But. There’s another, slang meaning to it. Potato soup is wait for it… Vodka. Repeat example sentences:

I don’t know why you keep buying such cheap potato soup.

  • Potayto, potahto

Well. Let’s begin with a different veggie. A tomato, or should I rather say: tomato. So! There are to ways of pronouncing this word. Tomato and tomato. But it’s the same thing, right? This was humorously replaced with a potato. There’s no such word as a potatho. It’s just a funny expression. What does it mean? A trivial or unimportant difference. It comes from a song by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers ‘Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off’. There’s a verse:  “You like potayto, I like potahto; you like tomayto, I like tomahto; potayto, potahto, tomayto, tomahto, let’s call the whole thing off!”. It’s a good one, if you’re in my email list I’ll send you this song in an email. Let’s move on to…

  • Potatohead

A fool.  Someone who acts stupidly, carelessly,  thoughtlessly. What more can I say? It’s an offensive slang word. In Toy Story, we have Mr Potato Head. But that’s just a type of a toy. A potato head is a foolish person. For example: 

He can be such a potato head sometimes.

Since you’ve come so far in this episode, I’ve got one bonus idiom for you. A bonus funny potato idiom number nine is ‘to drop someone like a hot potato’. It means to abandon someone suddenly to avoid potential problems. You want to get rid of it as quickly as possible because it’s difficult to deal with, or because you do not want it any more. Fo example:

I haven’t seen her in ages because she dropped me like a hot potato.

That was the last funny potato idiom I’ve prepared today. But! That’s definitely not the end of this episode. I’d argue that the most important part is still ahead of us. The practical part! You know me! I want you to speak out loud. Practice your pronunciation, and practice your general speaking skills. How to do it? Speaking out loud to yourself. I keep repeating myself but that’s precisely what will lead you to your goal! If you’re here for the first time, please focus now, don’t multitasking and listen and repeat:

Look, I know I wasn’t marrying a couch potato.

He’s a couch potato, he never leaves his hole!

A hot potato, that’s how they referred to him.

I stopped all working out and became a total couch potato.

All eyes are on health care, the hot potato there.

I knew it was no small potatoes.

This is just small potatoes compared to what we’re going to have here soon.

That’s the meat and potatoes of whatever you’re writing.

Let’s move on to kind of meat and potatoes.

Well done! That’s it for the practical part, let’s now summarize what we’ve covered today. Today we’ve learnt 8 potato idioms. Let’s have them listed. Number one was a couch potato – someone who spends a ton of time in front of the television. Number two, a hot potato. An issue no one wants to deal with. Number three, small potatoes. Not a big deal if compared to something else. Number four, meat and potatoes. The crucial part of something. Then we had a mouse potato. That is someone who spends way too much time in front of the computer. Number six, potato soup meaning vodka. Seven, potayto, potahto unimportant difference. And finally number eight a potato head, that is someone less smart than others, so to speak.

Here you have it! 8 funny potato idioms. Now it’s time for homework. Take it to the next level and download the worksheet. Practice translating Polish sentences into English. The worksheet is available at teacherola.com/62. While you’re there scroll it all way down and leave a comment. Tell me which potato idiom do you like the most?

Share this episode with someone you think might need it. 

Next week we’re going to explain song lyrics. We’ll be looking backwards and reminiscing that beautiful September. Till then have a great, fearless week, happy learning bye-bye!