having or giving off heat; having a high temperature:
a hot fire; hot coffee.
having or causing a sensation of great bodily heat; attended with or producing such a sensation:
He was hot with fever.
creating a burning sensation, as on the skin or in the throat:
This ointment is hot, so apply it sparingly.
sharply peppery or pungent:
Is this mustard hot?
having or showing intense or violent feeling; ardent; fervent; vehement; excited:
a hot temper.
Informal. having a strong enthusiasm; eager:
a hot baseball fan.

sexually aroused; lustful.
sexy; attractive.

violent, furious, or intense:
the hottest battle of the war.
strong or fresh, as a scent or trail.
absolutely new; fresh:
a dozen new mystery stories hot from the press.
requiring immediate delivery or correspondence; demanding priority:
The hot freight must be delivered by 10:00 a.m. tomorrow, or we’ll lose the contract.
Slang. skillful in a reckless or daring way:
a hot pilot.
following very closely; close:
to be hot on the trail of a thief.
(of colors) extremely intense:
hot pink.
Informal. popular and commercially successful; in demand; marketable:
The Beatles were a hot group in the 1960s.
Slang. extremely lucky, good, or favorable:
A poker player has to have a hot hand to win the pot.
Slang. (in sports and games) playing well or winningly; scoring effectively:
a hot pitcher.
Slang. funny; absurd:
That’s a hot one!
Games. close to the object or answer that is being sought.
Informal. extremely exciting or interesting; sensational or scandalous:
a hot news story.

(of music) emotionally intense, propulsive, and marked by aggressive attack and warm, full tone.
(of a musician) skilled in playing hot jazz.

Informal. (of a vehicle) capable of attaining extremely high speeds:
a hot new jet plane.

stolen recently or otherwise illegal and to possess:
a hot diamond necklace.
wanted by the police.

Informal. in the mood to perform exceedingly well, or rapidly, as during a burst of creative work:
Finish writing that story while you’re still hot.
actively conducting an electric current or containing a high voltage:
a hot wire.
of, relating to, or noting radioactivity.
Metalworking. noting any process involving plastic deformation of a metal at a temperature high enough to permit recrystallization due to the strain:
hot working.
in a hot manner; hotly.
while hot:
Garnish the potatoes with parsley and serve hot.
Metalworking. at a temperature high enough to permit recrystallization:
The wire was drawn hot.
Chiefly British Informal. to heat; warm (usually followed by up).
the hots, Slang. intense sexual desire or attraction.
get hot, Slang. (in sports and games) to become very effective or successful; score or win repeatedly or easily.
hot and bothered, Informal. excited, aroused, or flustered:
This mistake isn’t worth getting hot and bothered about.
Also, all hot and bothered.
hot and heavy, Informal. in an intense, vehement, or passionate manner:
They argued hot and heavy for 20 minutes.
hot under the collar. (def 23).
make it hot for, Informal. to make something unpleasant for; cause trouble for:
Ever since their argument the principal has been making it hot for the new teacher.
Contemporary Examples

My sleep is hot and jaw-tensed and filled with dreams of death.
Gaza, You’re No Good For My Marriage Josh Robin August 8, 2014

hot Coffee lends a strong voice to those who favor fundamental fairness in redressing well-founded claims.
Scalding Takedown on Tort Reform Gerald L. Shargel June 23, 2011

Well, it just so happens that Upton was doing the dance in a “barely there” bikini, making it “too hot” for YouTube.
Kate Upton, Justin Bieber, and More Stars Who ‘Cat Daddy’ (VIDEO) Brittany Jones-Cooper May 1, 2012

Winston Ross gets his hands on the hot new videogame Grand Theft Auto V and loves every minute of it.
Grand Theft Auto V Review: The Best Game Ever?! Winston Ross September 16, 2013

hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution—and How It Can Renew America by Thomas L. Friedman.
The Barack Obama Book Club Samuel P. Jacobs August 7, 2009

Historical Examples

But Marshall was as hot a Nationalist as Washington himself.
The Life of John Marshall (Volume 1 of 4) Albert J. Beveridge

Let these rise and then bake them in a hot oven for about 15 minutes.
Woman’s Institute Library of Cookery, Vol. 1 Woman’s Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences

Couldn’t get through these hot days if it weren’t for the forty winks I snatch.
With Wellington in Spain F. S. Brereton

You see, the day we went through the hospital, it was hot, and we went to Henderson’s for soda-water.
K Mary Roberts Rinehart

He wondered, in a hot, disjointed way, if there was no possibility of a rescue.
The Pines of Lory John Ames Mitchell

adjective hotter, hottest
having a relatively high temperature
having a temperature higher than desirable
causing or having a sensation of bodily heat
causing a burning sensation on the tongue: hot mustard, a hot curry
expressing or feeling intense emotion, such as embarrassment, anger, or lust
intense or vehement: a hot argument
recent; fresh; new: a hot trial, hot from the press
(ball games) (of a ball) thrown or struck hard, and so difficult to respond to
much favoured or approved: a hot tip, a hot favourite
(informal) having a dangerously high level of radioactivity: a hot laboratory
(slang) (of goods or money) stolen, smuggled, or otherwise illegally obtained
(slang) (of people) being sought by the police
(informal) sexually attractive
(of a colour) intense; striking: hot pink
close or following closely: hot on the scent
(informal) at a dangerously high electric potential: a hot terminal
(physics) having an energy level higher than that of the ground state: a hot atom
(slang) impressive or good of its kind (esp in the phrase not so hot)
(jazz, slang) arousing great excitement or enthusiasm by inspired improvisation, strong rhythms, etc
(informal) dangerous or unpleasant (esp in the phrase make it hot for someone)
(in various searching or guessing games) very near the answer or object to be found
(metallurgy) (of a process) at a sufficiently high temperature for metal to be in a soft workable state
(Austral & NZ, informal) (of a price, charge, etc) excessive
give it hot, give it to someone hot, to punish or thrash someone
(informal) hot on

very severe: the police are hot on drunk drivers
particularly skilled at or knowledgeable about: he’s hot on vintage cars

(informal) hot under the collar, aroused with anger, annoyance, etc
(informal) in hot water, in trouble, esp with those in authority
in a hot manner; hotly

Old English hat “hot, flaming, opposite of cold,” also “fervent, fierce, intense, excited,” from Proto-Germanic *haita- (cf. Old Saxon and Old Frisian het, Old Norse heitr, Middle Dutch and Dutch heet, German heiß “hot,” Gothic heito “heat of a fever”), from PIE root *kai- “heat” (cf. Lithuanian kaistu “to grow hot”).

The association of hot with sexuality dates back to c.1500. Taste sense of “pungent, acrid, biting” is from 1540s. Sense of “exciting, remarkable, very good” is 1895; that of “stolen” is first recorded 1925 (originally with overtones of “easily identified and difficult to dispose of”); that of “radioactive” is from 1942.

Hot flashes in the menopausal sense attested from 1887. Hot air “unsubstantiated statements, boastful talk” is from 1900. Hot stuff for anything good or excellent is by 1889. Hot potato in figurative sense is from 1846. The hot and cold in hide-and-seek or guessing games are from hunting (1640s), with notion of tracking a scent.


Capable of high speed; moving very fast: Hot crate, a fast plane (1868+)
Selling very rapidly and readily, hence very much in demand: paralleled the rise of the ”hot” ticket/ Xaviera Hollander is the hottest thing in the business promoting her own work (1960s+)
Performing extremely well; certain to win: When you’re hot you’re hot/ The big fork-baller is real hot today, folks (1895+)
Angry; furious; pissed off: Don’t get so hot about it, it was just a goof (1225+)
Lively; vital; vibrant: This is a hot town/ A ”hot” magazine is one that’s sizzling and bubbling with activity (1911+)
Sexually excited; afire with passion; lustful; horny: Hot faggot queens bump up against chilly Jewish matrons/ the hottest little devil I ever met (1500+)
Pornographic; salacious; dirty: a real hot movie (1892+)
Eager; antsy: Why so hot to get started? (1971+)
Exciting, rapid, strongly rhythmical, eliciting a visceral response: The old jazz was mostly hot, then it was cool, and now even cool cats blow hot licks now and then (1920+ Jazz musicians)
Stolen, esp recently stolen; contraband: Stolen bonds are ”hot paper” (1925+ Underworld)
Wanted by the police: Where would a hot can of corn like Dillinger hide out (1931+ Underworld)
Dangerous; menacing; potentially disastrous: Things were getting too hot/ It’s so hot out there, man, I’m thinking about getting into another game (1618+)
Extremely infectious; having lethal potential: The garbage bags held seven dead monkeys, and they were hot as hell. Presumably lethal (1990s+ Medical)
New, esp both brand-new and interesting: a hot tip/ the hot news from upstairs (1908+)
Having electrical potential; live; switched on: Is this mike hot?/ Can I touch this wire, or is it hot? (1925+)
Radioactive (1942+)
Excellent and very good-looking: Hot means cool and extremely good-looking (1980s+ Teenagers)

Related Terms

blow hot and cold, not so hot, red hot

[stolen-goods sense may derive fr hot, ”too well known,” found by 1883]

hot air
hot and bothered
hot and heavy
hot as blazes
hot dog
hot line
hot number
hot off the press
hot on
hot potato
hot rod
hot seat, in the
hot stuff
hot to trot
hot under the collar
hot water

also see:

blow hot and cold
like a cat on hot bricks
like hot cakes
make it hot for
piping hot
strike while the iron’s hot


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