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, 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 Apple’s refusal to cooperate with the FBI at the time became a political hot potato pitting the rights of its customers against the broader interests of public safety. Michael Liedtke, USA TODAY, "Apple to tighten iPhone data security by closing gap used by police to crack devices," 14 June 2018 Dropped Fremont like a hot potato to protect their core base in Detroit. Levi Sumagaysay,, "Workers at Tesla, accused of labor violations, don't want to unionize, tweets Elon Musk," 23 May 2018 How would Fernando Hierro handle the hot potato that was thrown at him? Juan Pimiento,, "Spain, Portugal thrill, Mexico, Iceland suprise and the best of the World Cup weekend," 17 June 2018 Apple's refusal to cooperate with the FBI at the time became a political hot potato pitting the rights of its customers against the broader interests of public safety. NBC News, "Apple closes iPhone security gap used by law enforcement," 14 June 2018 The YouthPass program, which allows upward of 10,000 Portland high schoolers to ride trains and buses during the school year, has been something of a political hot potato for years. Andrew Theen,, "TriMet kicks in funding to give east county students bus passes," 11 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

22 Aug 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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a generally accepted meaning of a word

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