hot potato


Definition of hot potato 

: a controversial question or issue that involves unpleasant or dangerous consequences for anyone dealing with it

Examples of hot potato in a Sentence

He tried to avoid taking a strong stand on political hot potatoes like abortion.

Recent Examples on the Web

The treatment of the company has already become a political hot potato. Debiprasad Nayak, WSJ, "India Takes Over Shadow Lender to Save Financial System From ‘Lehman Moment’," 1 Oct. 2018 Transfer hot potatoes and beans to a large bowl and toss in enough vinaigrette to coat. Kitty Greenwald, WSJ, "Potato Salad Plus Star Power," 2 Aug. 2018 At first, the Russian Chess Federation, or RCF, supported Ilyumzhinov with some reservations, but now RCF has dropped him like a hot potato and is putting forward career Russian bureaucrat Arkady Dvorkovich. Chris Chase,, "Chess notes," 7 July 2018 Warm up flavorings straight from the fridge Let your butter come to room temperature before melting it into the hot potatoes, then mash in the warm milk or cream. Catherine Lo, Good Housekeeping, "The 7 Biggest Mistakes You Make Cooking Mashed Potatoes," 23 Aug. 2018 Last year, Bezos and Gates had been passing the title of Richest Man in the World back and forth like a hot potato. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, "Jeff Bezos Is Now the Richest Person in Modern History," 17 July 2018 Instead, after holding onto George through the draft, and then hanging onto him in the days leading up to free agency, the Pacers decided to play hot potato at the last second and tossed George away. Matthew Vantryon, Indianapolis Star, "One year ago, the Victor Oladipo trade happened. Here's how he gave Pacers fans hope again.," 29 June 2018 Moving around the nutrient-dense lake water, fouled by runoff from septic tanks, ranches and sugar farms, is something like a game of hot potato. Alex Harris, miamiherald, "Army Corps can’t promise 2016’s algae blooms won’t return, but this strategy may help," 12 July 2018 Short-term rentals through platforms like Airbnb are a disruptive innovation and a political hot potato. Phillip Molnar,, "Did Mayor Faulconer get it right on short-term rentals for San Diego?," 22 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hot potato.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of hot potato

1950, in the meaning defined above

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Dictionary Entries near hot potato

hot plate

hot pond

hot pot

hot potato


hot press


Statistics for hot potato

Last Updated

12 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for hot potato

The first known use of hot potato was in 1950

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More Definitions for hot potato

hot potato


English Language Learners Definition of hot potato

: an issue or question about which people have different opinions and feel very strongly

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hot potato

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What made you want to look up hot potato? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a knickknack or trinket

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