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hot spot

a country or region where dangerous or difficult political situations exist or may erupt, especially where a war, revolution, or a belligerent attitude toward other countries exists or may develop:
In the 1960s, Vietnam became a hot spot.
Informal. any area or place of known danger, intrigue, dissension, or instability.
Informal. a nightclub.
Photography. an area of a negative or print revealing excessive light on that part of the subject.
a section of forest or woods where fires frequently occur.
an area hotter than the surrounding surface, as on the shell of a furnace.
Digital Technology. a place where users of portable computers or mobile devices can get wireless broadband access to the Internet or another network:
how to find free Wi-Fi hot spots.
Physics. an area of abnormally high radioactivity.
Geology. a region of molten rock below and within the lithosphere that persists long enough to leave a record of uplift and volcanic activity at the earth's surface.
Compare plume (def 10).
Genetics. a chromosome site or a section of DNA having a high frequency of mutation or recombination.
Veterinary Pathology. a moist, raw sore on the skin of a dog or cat caused by constant licking of an irritation from an allergic reaction, tangled coat, fleas, etc.
Also, hotspot.
1925-30, Americanism


[hot-spot] /ˈhɒtˌspɒt/
verb (used with object), hot-spotted, hot-spotting.
to stop (a forest fire) at a hot spot.
1950-55; v. use of hot spot Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for hot spot
  • As a result, the practical consequences of indicting wrongdoers will vary enormously from one hot spot to another.
  • So it seems there is little chance of it escaping, unless the area becomes a volcanic hot spot.
  • The hot spot near the tap will travel around the tub.
  • My belief is they can all got to the proverbial hot spot.
  • As they move, their momentum pushes neutral air molecules across a hot spot, cooling it down.
  • He watched as medical genetics grew from a research backwater into a hot spot of medical inquiry.
  • The one and only clear prediction was a hot spot in the stratosphere, and it has not been detected.
  • Scientists say they have now uncovered a second evolutionary hot spot for these fish.
  • The park is also a hot spot-quite literally, in the geological sense.
  • We'd heard that the hot spot had severely bleached the region's corals.
British Dictionary definitions for hot spot

hot spot

an area of potential violence or political unrest
a lively nightclub or other place of entertainment
an area of great activity of a specific type: the world's economic hot spots
  1. any local area of high temperature in a part of an engine, etc
  2. part of the inlet manifold of a paraffin engine that is heated by exhaust gases to vaporize the fuel
(computing) a place where wireless internet, esp broadband, services are provided to users of portable computers through a wireless local area network, such as in an airport, railway station, or library
  1. a small area on the surface of or within a body with an exceptionally high concentration of radioactivity or of some chemical or mineral considered harmful
  2. a similar area that generates an abnormal amount of heat, as revealed by thermography
(genetics) a part of a chromosome that has a tendency for mutation or recombination
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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Word Origin and History for hot spot

also hotspot, 1888 as a skin irritation; 1931 as "nightclub;" 1938 in the firefighting sense; 1941 as "place of international conflict." See hot (adj.) + spot (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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hot spot in Medicine

hot spot n.
A region in a gene in which there is a high rate of mutation. Its existence depends on the size of the region concerned, the readiness with which the mutation can be detected, and the possibility that selection against mutants at that point is less than that against mutants elsewhere.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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hot spot in Science
hot spot  
A volcanic area that forms as a tectonic plate moves over a point heated from deep within the Earth's mantle. The source of the heat is thought to be the decay of radioactive elements. The Hawaiian Islands formed as a series of hot spots. See more at tectonic boundary.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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hot spot in Culture

hot spot definition

A place deep within the Earth where hot magma rises to just underneath the surface, creating a bulge and volcanic activity (see volcano). The chain of Hawaiian Islands (see Hawaii) is thought to have been created by the movement of a tectonic plate over a hot spot.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for hot spot

hot spot

noun phrase
  1. tight spot (1932+)
  2. A dangerous place, esp a combat zone: Sarajevo is a hot spot again (1941+)
  3. A popular nightclub, esp one with sexy entertainment: became 52d Street's hot spot (1931+)

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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hot spot in Technology

1. (primarily used by C/Unix programmers, but spreading) It is received wisdom that in most programs, less than 10% of the code eats 90% of the execution time; if one were to graph instruction visits versus code addresses, one would typically see a few huge spikes amidst a lot of low-level noise. Such spikes are called "hot spots" and are good candidates for heavy optimisation or hand-hacking. The term is especially used of tight loops and recursions in the code's central algorithm, as opposed to (say) initial set-up costs or large but infrequent I/O operations.
See tune, bum, hand-hacking.
2. The active location of a cursor on a bit-map display. "Put the mouse's hot spot on the "ON" widget and click the left button."
3. A screen region that is sensitive to mouse clicks, which trigger some action. Hypertext help screens are an example, in which a hot spot exists in the vicinity of any word for which additional material is available.
4. In a massively parallel computer with shared memory, the one location that all 10,000 processors are trying to read or write at once (perhaps because they are all doing a busy-wait on the same lock).
5. More generally, any place in a hardware design that turns into a performance bottleneck due to resource contention.
6. wireless hotspot.
[Jargon File]

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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