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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
First recorded in 1840-50
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for hot potato
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It wa'n't the hot potato dialect Piddie uses; but it leaned that way.

    Torchy Sewell Ford
  • "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
  • So they dropped me like a hot potato; never pestered me again.

    A Simpleton Charles Reade
  • She was a magnificent woman, Mr. Moody, and she dropped me like a hot potato.

    My Lady's Money Wilkie Collins
  • Roque dropped his doctor character like a hot potato when he learned the import of the flashes.

  • 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
  • She had expected to find a bowl of hot potato soup and a plate of sausage and garlic.

    Robert Tournay William Sage
  • He then threw his arms around his wife, gave her another hug, and then dropped her like a hot potato.

    The Lost Trail

    Edward S. Ellis
  • Roy swung sharply to meet it, dropped his bat like a hot potato and streaked for first.

    The Crimson Sweater

    Ralph Henry Barbour
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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