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hot potato

noun
1.
Informal. a situation or issue that is difficult, unpleasant, or risky to deal with.
2.
British Informal. a baked potato.
Origin of hot potato
1840-1850
1840-50
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for hot potato
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The Englishman shakes your hand vigorously, drops it like a hot potato, and murmurs some stereotyped greeting to his boots.

  • So they dropped me like a hot potato; never pestered me again.

    A Simpleton Charles Reade
  • Large, crisp, hot potato chips make a pleasant change for dunking purposes.

    The Complete Book of Cheese Robert Carlton Brown
  • She had expected to find a bowl of hot potato soup and a plate of sausage and garlic.

    Robert Tournay William Sage
  • "Tom, if I had such a sister as you've got, I'd tie a hot potato in her mouth," he exclaimed.

    When Life Was Young C. A. Stephens
  • Andy's wife was alive then, and she gave us a hot potato each and a pinch of salt.

    Light O' The Morning L. T. Meade
  • Place the hot potato mixture in a pastry bag and press rosettes on a flat buttered tin pan three inches apart.

    A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband Louise Bennett Weaver
  • Pluxton Cuddle called for order, but even as he spoke a hot potato went sailing through the air and hit him in the shirt front.

    The Putnam Hall Rebellion Arthur M. Winfield
  • She was a magnificent woman, Mr. Moody, and she dropped me like a hot potato.

    My Lady's Money Wilkie Collins
British Dictionary definitions for hot potato

hot potato

noun
1.
(slang) an awkward or delicate matter
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Slang definitions & phrases for hot potato

hot potato

noun phrase

Something embarrassing and troublesome; a tricky and sticky matter: Everyone can see how the boss looks when he handles a hot potato (1846+)

Related Terms

drop someone or something like a hot potato

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with hot potato

hot potato

A problem so controversial and sensitive that it is risky to deal with. For example, Gun control is a political hot potato. This term, dating from the mid-1800s, alludes to the only slightly older expression drop like a hot potato, meaning “to abandon something or someone quickly” (lest one be burned). The idiom alludes to the fact that cooked potatoes retain considerable heat because they contain a lot of water.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Difficulty index for hot potato

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for hot

6
5
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