9 Grammatical Pitfalls

hot potato

Informal. a situation or issue that is difficult, unpleasant, or risky to deal with.
British Informal. a baked potato.
Origin of hot potato
1840-50 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for hot potato
  • Electricity is a political hot potato and it's becoming more of a problem.
  • The submarines became such a political hot potato that nobody would agree to build them.
  • Costs to the environment is unconscionable, and it would be a social and political hot potato.
  • Exactly what either concept means when applied to university students is set to become a political hot potato.
  • Last winter's reform of ruinous price subsidies was a hot potato that only he dared to touch.
  • By and large, the authors shy away from the political hot potato of offshoring.
  • All involved parties had access to the proper information in this absurd game of hot potato.
  • The fate of the cargo is also rapidly becoming a hot potato for other reasons.
  • hot potato latkes steam on a counter as the gloom of a frigid dawn lifts outside.
  • Suburban deer management through hunting can easily become a political hot potato, however.
British Dictionary definitions for hot potato

hot potato

(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

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