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hot potato

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noun
  1. Informal. a situation or issue that is difficult, unpleasant, or risky to deal with.
  2. British Informal. a baked potato.
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Origin of hot potato

First recorded in 1840–50
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for hot potato

hot potato

noun
  1. slang an awkward or delicate matter
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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

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.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.