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 Positive government support for independent professionals would be a helpful step but freelancing remains a political (and taxation) hot potato and will take more time. Jon Younger, Forbes, 27 Mar. 2024 The Golden Globes telecast was something of a hot potato prior to this new deal. Hilary Lewis, The Hollywood Reporter, 25 Mar. 2024 Electric vehicles are quickly becoming a geopolitical hot potato. Lionel Lim, Fortune Asia, 22 Jan. 2024 Reducing Reliance on Traditional College Degrees Can Help Gen Z As college costs continue to soar, and student loan forgiveness remains a political hot potato, Gen Z isn’t the only large demographic that’s questioning the value of the college degree. Chris Westfall, Forbes, 17 July 2023 Porsche and Tesla have been playing hot potato with the Nürburgring’s electric sedan lap record for a few years now. Bryan Hood, Robb Report, 2 Jan. 2024 If nations had to reconcile their spending by ultimately having to settle up in bitcoin, the temptation to play hot potato with their sovereign debt in the hope of foisting their vote buying largess onto some bigger fool somewhere other than here would be severely constricted. Desmond Lachman, National Review, 6 Dec. 2023 How the painting ended up in the Florida home in the first place is still a mystery — but the FBI agent believes mobsters passed it on like a hot potato. María Luisa Paúl, Washington Post, 30 Jan. 2024 Now, for the rest of the play, the family will play a particularly grisly game of hot potato. Sara Holdren, Vulture, 18 Dec. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hot potato.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1950, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hot potato was in 1950

Dictionary Entries Near hot potato

Cite this Entry

“Hot potato.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Apr. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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