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 numbers became a political hot potato, as critics blasted the Trump administration over its response to the hurricane. Time, "The Difficulty Of Counting the COVID-19 Pandemic’s Full Death Toll," 22 June 2020 Potential conflicts of interest involving Greg McMichael, formerly a Glynn County police officer recently retired from the Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney' Office, turned the case into a judicial hot potato. al, "Ahmaud Arbery: Family says Georgia man was killed for jogging," 7 May 2020 Remove the potatoes from the oven and, holding a hot potato with a dry towel, make a vertical slit across the top. Cathy Barrow, The Denver Post, "A use for leftovers isn’t pie in the sky. It’s a knish.," 20 Sep. 2019 Local restaurants will share their complimentary versions of the hot potato pancakes., "EVENTS," 19 Oct. 2018 Raising taxes to support the state's roads and bridges, such as through a higher gas tax, has been a political hot potato for Kentucky lawmakers over the years. Billy Kobin, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville drivers lose more than $1,700 per year due to crumbling roads, report finds," 10 Mar. 2020 None of these bodies wants to touch this particularly hot potato and politicians have been too Brexit-obsessed to legislate on anything else. The Economist, "The Tories’ dodgy “factcheckUK” tweets are a taste of what’s to come," 21 Nov. 2019 With workers and employers stressed out about traffic jams and unreliable transit service, this political hot potato is back on Beacon Hill., "Poll shows strong opposition to 15-cent gas tax increase - The Boston Globe," 7 Nov. 2019 Some of the students played hot potato with the checks, not wanting that responsibility. Madeline Mitchell,, "'How are you being like Jesus in the world?' Church hands out checks to congregation," 21 Oct. 2019

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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The first known use of hot potato was in 1950

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Statistics for hot potato

Last Updated

28 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hot potato.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on hot potato

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hot potato

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