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Where Do ‘Couch Potatoes’ Come From?

coach potato
aaron.bihari, Flickr

Some of you might be laughing right now, while looking at your husband or significant other and thinking, “I know exactly where couch potatoes come from. (Insert loved one’s name here).” And, you know, you’d be kind of right.

A couch potato is someone absorbed in television who vegetates on the couch — or in simpler words, one lazy individual.

Tom Iacino of Pasadena, CA, coined the term in the mid-1970s. Tom was a proud member of an organization combating the evils of healthy eating and exercise. What was the best way to convey his commitment to a sedentary lifestyle? Plant his posterior in front of the TV, of course, and chow down on as much junk food as possible.

The ‘potato’ most likely comes from ‘boob tube,’ which is slang for television. ‘Tube’ is similar to the word ‘tuber,’ which is what a potato is, a thick plant stem. Hence, the birth of this ubiquitous and very descriptive phrase.

With any luck you’re in a prone position right now, eating a bag of something incredibly unhealthy as you read or listen to this very informative article. Maybe you’re thinking, “Wait, am I a couch potato if I’m looking online instead of at a television?” If you’re on a couch, then we’re gonna say yes.


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