A Hot Potato

Meaning and Usage

“A hot potato” is an idiomatic expression that refers to a controversial or sensitive issue that is difficult to handle or deal with. It can also refer to something that is hard to hold onto, as if it were burning your hands.


  • “The topic of politics can be a hot potato at family gatherings.”
  • “The company’s new policy is a hot potato among the employees.”
  • “The lawsuit is a hot potato that no one wants to touch.”


The exact origin of the phrase “a hot potato” is unclear, but it is believed to date back to the early 1800s. The idiom is thought to have originated from the idea of a potato that has just been taken out of the oven, which is too hot to handle and must be dropped.


  • a controversial issue
  • a sensitive subject
  • a difficult problem
  • a thorny issue
  • a tricky situation
English Vocabularya man of lettersa fish out of watera dead lettera dead enda dark horsea blue stocking
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Professor Emeritus of Educational Leadership University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill at Camford Publishing
Founder of On the Horizon (camford publishing)and The Technology Source, and professor of education at North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Dr. Morrison is author and co-author of over 200 publications focusing on educational planning and using information technology tools.Dr. Morrison has delivered numerous conference presentations and workshops for associations such as EDUCAUSE, AAHE, the College Board and others.He has served as a planning consultant to a number of colleges, universities, university systems, community colleges, educational agencies and public agencies such as the U.S. Department of Labor, and Department of the Army.His consulting activities focus on assisting organizations to integrate information technology tools in teaching and management.

The title of his Speech is “The Future of Distance Learning.” Professor Morrison will describe the driving forces that will affect education and distance learning in this decade and will focus on the implications of these forces for education and distance learning
Dr. James Morrison
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