Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot

As defined by the dictionary, “hot” means having a high degree of heat or a high temperature. But living in the world we live in, we as a human society see it used as much more then a measure of temperature. Hot has grown from the opposite of cold and become much more.

The first, and perhaps the most often used version of hot, is for someone or something that is attractive. Today, when a cute girl walks by you in a library and you whisper to your friend sitting next to you “Man, she’s hot!”, you wouldn’t expect your friend to rush to get that girl to a hospital or get her an ice pack. Instead you would look to see whether or not he agrees she is attractive enough to earn the title “hot”.

But hot goes beyond looking good and dressing nice. It can also be used when describing something that is very popular at the time. Wearing jean jackets or listening to Taylor Swift’s new album can all be “hot” as they gain popularity. The word also stretches into the idea of “hot topics” which many have opinions on and could be debated for hours.

Why mention the many ways society chooses to use the word hot? The answer is simple. With one word having so many different uses and applications, it is important to know in what context it is being used. If one does not know the many uses of hot, he could have ran over to the said girl in the library and applied his hand to her forehead in fear of her having a rising temperature. It is important for people living in modern day to keep up with the modern uses of our terminology.

One thought on “Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot

  1. This was in interesting post about the plurality of a word. I, too, would use the word hot in the multiple ways that you mention– temperature, attractiveness, and popularity. There are many other words that fall under this category, homonyms. For example, ironically, the word “cool” also describes a temperature and the popularity of something or someone. You bring up the crucial point of understanding the word’s context because this sets up the word’s meaning. Without contextual evidence, a listener or reader will become extremely confused by the message. I’m curious to know the evolution of the word’s connotation and wonder if/when the dictionary will ever add definitions to its entry on “hot.” I liked your analysis of a word that we use daily without deliberately thinking about its other meanings when we use it in one way.


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