Expressions used in Everyday Spoken English in Social and Professional contexts

a (political) hot potato

a hot potatoa political hot potato
Meaning(s)
1) a difficult problem or situation that nobody wants to deal with
  • How to MemorizePopularity MediumProfessional MediumSocial
    • the issue of gun control is a political hot potato in the United States
  • Analysis
    This expression is used in relation to a sensitive situation or controversial issue that people are uncertain or concerned about dealing with, often because it may have negative consequences for them. In such cases, the person in question may prefer to avoid the problem or simply pass it on to someone else. It is often associated with politics, as that is by nature a particularly divisive part of life where there is always some kind of controversial issue being debated or discussed. The term alludes to the discomfort one would feel if a hot potato was placed in your hand and the subsequent desire to either drop it or throw it to somebody else, and it can be used in both a social and professional context.
  • Social Examples (Advance)
    1. The politician was keen to avoid having to speak about political hot potatoes like gun control or abortion during his live interview.
    2. We avoid discussing certain subjects in our house, politics and religion are real hot potatoes.
  • Professional Examples (Advance)
    1. The failure of the project was a hot potato in the office. Everyone was choosing to pass the buck rather than take any responsibility.
    2. The manager knew that the issue was a hot potato, so left it to his assistant to deal with it.
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