LONDON (AP) – British potato farmers are getting steamed over the use of the term “couch potato.”

A group of about 30 farmers demonstrated outside Parliament Monday to publicize their bid to remove the term from the Oxford English Dictionary, arguing that the description of slothful TV addicts harms the tuber’s image.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines the term “couch potato” as “a person who spends leisure time passively or idly sitting around, especially watching television or video tapes.”

The British Potato Council says the phrase makes the vegetable seem unhealthy. It wants the expression stripped from the dictionary and replaced in everyday speech with the term “couch slouch.”

“The potato industry are fed up with the disservice that ‘couch potato’ does to our product when we have an inherently healthy product,” said Kathryn Race, head of marketing at the British Potato Council.

John Simpson, chief editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, said the expression first appeared in the 1993 edition.

“Inclusion is based on currency of the term rather than on the basis of what people want us to put in the dictionary,” he said.

“When people blame words they are actually blaming the society that uses them.”


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