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

Instead, rubbish has become a political hot potato. The Economist, "Rubbish is becoming a political problem in Russia," 29 June 2019 Photo: Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images That left the hot potato of a response in the policy makers’ lap. Warren Bass, WSJ, "The Bin Laden Attack That Two Presidents Failed to Answer," 10 Jan. 2019 The group was left close enough to each other to play market-cap hot potato. Amrith Ramkumar, WSJ, "Amazon Takes Market Cap Crown, Cementing Tech Power," 7 Jan. 2019 Their saga has become a diplomatic hot potato in Europe, where anti-immigrant sentiment and strained resources have butted up against migrants arriving by the thousands. Doug Criss, CNN, "5 things for June 14: Russia probe, interest rates, North Korea, migrants, World Cup," 14 June 2018 And as Vox’s Jane Coaston notes, the NFL protests have also become a political hot potato, with the protests serving as one of President Trump’s most favored culture war topics. P.r. Lockhart, Vox, "Trump has repeatedly attacked the NFL. That hasn’t stopped players from protesting.," 20 Aug. 2018 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

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

11 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

informal : 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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