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hot seat, in the

In a position of extreme stress or discomfort, as when subjected to harsh criticism. For example, When merger negotiations broke down, he was in the hot seat with the stockholders. This expression extends hot seat in the sense of “the electric chair” (for effecting an execution) to wider use. [c. 1930]

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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.