Hot Potato: Meaning and Example Sentences of the Term “Hot Potato”

Hot Potato!!! What does this interesting idiomatic phrase mean?

Hot Potato

Meaning of “Hot Potato”

The meaning of this idiom hot potato is a controversial subject or difficult project that is best avoided.

This idiom uses a hot potato as a metaphor for something that was handed to you or something which has been thrown into your lap, but which you want to get rid of as quickly as possible so as not to get “burned”. A hot potato could be social, political, personal, etc.

This term is also used in baseball to indicate a ball that is thrown, kicked, or batted so hard that a receiving player cannot catch it.  Further, in baseball, if a ball is thrown mistakenly to an umpire when there are runners still on base, the umpire will treat the ball like it is a “hot potato” and try not to catch it, since it is still in play.

For examples:

  • He dropped the plan like a hot potato when he realized how much it would cost him.
  • The abortion issue is a political hot potato in the United States.
  • The racial discrimination issue is a political hot potato.
  • It had become a political hot potato, and time ran out as backers bickered over what tests to run.
  • The issue of taxing domestic fuel has become a political hot potato.
  • You should adopt another way to deal with this hot potato.

“Hot Potato” Synonyms

  • Controversy
  • Debate
  • War of words
  • Storm
  • Crisis
  • Crunch
  • Dilemma
  • Catastrophe
  • Emergency
  • Pressure
  • Difficult problem
  • Critical situation
  • Hot topic
  • Tricky problem
  • Big trouble
Related  School Idioms: 40+ Popular School Idioms in English

English Idioms with Vegetables

  • Carrot and stick: An enticement, a promised or expected reward
  • Two peas in a pod: Very similar
  • Couch potato: A person who does not like physical activity and prefers to sit down, usually to watch television.
  • Small potatoes: Something or someone insignificant
  • In a pickle: To be in a disagreeable position, to be in a condition of embarrassment, difficulty, or disorder
  • Full of beans: To have a lot of energy and enthusiasm
  • Dangle a carrot: To tempt someone/something
  • Cool as a cucumber: Extremely calm
  • Carrot top: A red-haired person
  • Salad days: The youthful period of one’s life
  • Have a pea brain: Unintelligent or stupid
  • Pass an olive branch: To make peaceful or reconciliatory overtures
  • Spill the beans: To talk about a secret before you are supposed to reveal it
  • Mushroom: When something mushrooms, this means it gets much bigger.
  • A tough nut to crack: A difficult different
  • Not know beans: To not to know something; to be not well informed
  • Go nuts: To get very upset or to go mod
  • Tells salads: The person is telling bullshit or lying about something

Popular English Idioms with Vegetables

Idioms with Vegetables

Hot Potato Infographic

Meaning and Example Sentences of “Hot Potato”

Hot Potato

Last Updated on July 29, 2020

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