hot (adj.)

Old English hat "hot, flaming, opposite of cold," used of the sun or air, of fire, of objects made hot; also "fervent, fierce, intense, excited," from Proto-Germanic *haita- (source also of Old Saxon and Old Frisian het, Old Norse heitr, Middle Dutch and Dutch heet, German heiß "hot," Gothic heito "heat of a fever"), of uncertain origin, perhaps related to Lithuanian kaisti "to grow hot;" both could be from a substratum word.

With a long vowel in Middle English (rhyming with boat, wrote) which shortened in modern English, perhaps from influence of comparative hotter. As an adverb, Old English hote.

Hot as "full of sexual desire, lustful" is from c. 1500; the sense of "inciting desire" is 18c. 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. Of jazz music or combos from 1924.

Hot flashes in the menopausal sense attested from 1887. Hot stuff for anything good or excellent is by 1889, American English. Hot seat is from 1933. Hot potato in figurative sense is from 1846 (from being baked in the fire coals and pulled out hot). Hot cake is from 1680s; to sell like hot cakes is from 1839.

The hot and cold in hide-and-seek or guessing games (19c.) are from hunting (1640s), with notion of tracking a scent. Hot and bothered is by 1921. Hot under the collar in the figurative sense is from 1895.

updated on December 06, 2018

Definitions of hot from WordNet

hot (adj.)
marked by excited activity;
a hot week on the stock market
hot (adj.)
used of physical heat; having a high or higher than desirable temperature or giving off heat or feeling or causing a sensation of heat or burning;
a hot August day
a hot forehead
hot stove
she's hot and tired
a hot stuffy room
hot water
hot (adj.)
characterized by violent and forceful activity or movement; very intense;
a hot engagement
the fighting became hot and heavy
Synonyms: raging
hot (adj.)
extended meanings; especially of psychological heat; marked by intensity or vehemence especially of passion or enthusiasm;
a hot temper
a hot argument
a hot love affair
a hot new book
a hot topic
hot (adj.)
(color) bold and intense;
hot pink
hot (adj.)
sexually excited or exciting;
hot pants
was hot for her
hot (adj.)
recently stolen or smuggled;
a hot car
hot merchandise
hot (adj.)
very fast; capable of quick response and great speed;
in hot pursuit
a hot sports car
got off to a hot start
a red-hot line drive
Synonyms: blistering / red-hot
hot (adj.)
wanted by the police;
a hot suspect
hot (adj.)
producing a burning sensation on the taste nerves;
jalapeno peppers are very hot
hot salsa
Synonyms: spicy
hot (adj.)
performed or performing with unusually great skill and daring and energy;
he's hot tonight
a hot drummer
hot (adj.)
very popular or successful;
cabbage patch dolls were hot last season
one of the hot young talents
hot (adj.)
very unpleasant or even dangerous;
in the hot seat
make it hot for him
in hot water
hot (adj.)
newest or most recent;
news hot off the press
red-hot information
Synonyms: red-hot
hot (adj.)
having or bringing unusually good luck;
hot at craps
the dice are hot tonight
hot (adj.)
very good; often used in the negative;
he's hot at math but not so hot at history
hot (adj.)
newly made;
a hot scent
hot (adj.)
having or showing great eagerness or enthusiasm;
hot for travel
hot (adj.)
of a seeker; very near to the object sought;
you are hot
hot (adj.)
having or dealing with dangerously high levels of radioactivity;
hot fuel rods
a hot laboratory
hot (adj.)
charged or energized with electricity;
a hot wire
Synonyms: live
Etymologies are not definitions. From, not affiliated with etymonline.