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Is it simply Spain is using Patatas and the rest of the world is using Papas? What is the distinction?

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Both words means exactly the same thing, though papas is more used in latam, you could say patata and people would understand you. –  El_Mochiq May 25 at 13:27
    
Papas is also used on the Canary Islands (Spain) –  hisuin May 26 at 15:58

5 Answers 5

When the Spaniards arrived to present-day Haiti, in 1526, found the natives called the sweet potato,"batata". Thus when they reached the Inca empire, and heard the natives called papa (Quechua) to potato, then it turned into patata.

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That's interesting history, but it doesn't answer the question. –  Flimzy May 28 at 13:34

Besides the right answer from user77086, the present day usage is that "papa" and "patata" are synonims.

"Papa" is the standard word in most of Latin America, Canary Islands and parts from Andalusia. In the rest of Spain the standard word is "patata" . In some parts of Spain "papa" is used only for chips ("papas fritas") while they use "patata" for the potato as it is.

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Papas is also used in Andalucía, southern Spain, but seems to be more colloquial meaning exactly the same as patatas. "Papas asadas" is like baked potatos.

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Well, in Spain they say "patatas" and where I come from (Mexico) we say "papas"

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According to RAE:

http://lema.rae.es/drae/?val=patata

http://lema.rae.es/drae/?val=papa (second aception)

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Please don't leave link-only answers. Links are great for additional reading, but your answer should provide the necessary information without the need for external links. –  Flimzy May 23 at 19:39
    
Sorry, I thought the aceptions on the links were self-explanatory. Both words are valid, just "patatas" is the mainly word used in Spain (except in Canary islands and parts of Andalucia) while many other countries use "papas" –  Bardo May 24 at 10:39
    
That information should be in your answer. –  Flimzy May 24 at 16:13

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