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 hot potato now is passed to Del Mar, Baffert’s racing home away from home. Bryce Miller Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 11 July 2021 The historical approach has been to pass the risk off onto someone else like a game of hot potato. Ziad Ismail, Forbes, 2 June 2021 Measuring California’s tax burden is complicated and quickly becomes a political hot potato. John Myers, Los Angeles Times, 17 May 2021 However – thanks in part to Boeing’s stock being dropped like a hot potato – per-share earnings actually rose in the last three years from $17.85 to $20.88. - Investing Reimagined, Forbes, 7 June 2021 The 9/11 Commission initially was seen as a hot potato, largely because of worries about who might be blamed for leaving the country unprepared for a terrorist strike. Gerald F. Seib, WSJ, 24 May 2021 The tax has been a political hot potato since it was passed in 2017, resulting in the recall of a Democratic state senator who voted for the legislation and an unsuccessful attempt by Republicans in 2018 to ask voters to repeal the higher charges. Los Angeles Times, 24 May 2021 No telling if this game of celebrity hot potato for our voting rights will make a difference in the end. Abigail Rosenthal, Chron, 7 May 2021 Responsibility for Covid-19's response was passed like a hot potato from the federal government to states to counties to cities to local health departments. Adnan Iqbal, Forbes, 15 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for hot potato

Time Traveler

The first known use of hot potato was in 1950

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Dictionary Entries Near hot potato

hot plate

hot pond

hot pot

hot potato


hot press


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Statistics for hot potato

Last Updated

23 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Hot potato.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jul. 2021.

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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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