Number one for English language teachers

Your English: Idioms: hot

Type: Article

Make sure idioms are not too hot to handle with this latest selection from Tim Bowen.

‘I wouldn’t mention that issue if I were you. It’s a bit of a hot potato at the moment.’ A hot potato is a controversial subject that people try to avoid dealing with or discussing. Similarly, a topic that is too hot to handle is too difficult or dangerous to get involved with. 

If someone is hot under the collar, they are angry or annoyed, as in ‘He got a bit hot under the collar when I told him he was wrong’, and if they are hot and bothered, they are upset and confused, often because they have too much to do and are under pressure. 

People who blow hot and cold change their mind a lot about whether they like someone or something, as in ‘I’m not sure whether she agrees with our proposals. She’s been blowing hot and cold all week’. 

If you are in hot water, you are in trouble because of something you have said or done, as in ‘His quick temper had landed him in hot water again’. 

A person who is hot on a particular subject is very interested in it and knows a lot about it, as in ‘She’s really hot on European history’. The same expression can also be used to mean very strict about something, as in ‘They’re really hot on security round here so make sure you’ve got ID with you’. 

If something arrives hot on the heels of something else, it arrives or happens very close behind it, as in ‘Hot on the heels of the news of their engagement, came the news that they were emigrating to Australia!’

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