What’s The Word Hot Up To

Hot is now a commonly used expression to signify sexy, sizzling, even ‘biting’ in a sensual/sexual kind of way.

The original meaning of hot can be ascribed to a string of synonyms like burning, scorching, boiling, blistering, sizzling, searing, warm.  It can also extend to sweltering, stifling, muggy, sultry, boiling, oppressive.  Further on, it denotes spicy, peppery, piquant, pungent, fiery, strong.  Lastly in the passionate sense, it can mean fierce, vehement, emotional, strong, intense, excitable, angry, ardent, fervent, stormy.

It’s easy to figure out that the now popular, trendy connotation comes from the above list of possible words, particularly sizzling, searing, sultry, fiery, intense, ardent, fervent, strong.  The last, when attached to an attraction or an appreciation of another person’s physical or even psychic attributes would most definitely refer to sexual desirability, as in strong sex appeal.  Also, a woman is sultry when she possesses an intense stare and a curvaceous body to go with it, isn’t she?

Due to its current evolution and constant use, people associate the word with just about anything that denotes any of the above.

But returning to its original significance, hot refers to something burning like fire, the boiling water or the scorching heat of the sun, for example.   In the course of time, it became associated with everything else connected to the 5 senses.

A dish is hot when it contains Mexican chilis or similar spices or equivalent condiments from any part of the globe.  Thai dishes are known to be hot, that is, peppery, pungent or piquant, the last word coming from the French verb piquer which means to bite, as in “Une moustique me pique (3rd person singular conjugation of the verb in the present tense) –A mosquito is biting/bites me”.  In referring to a dish in France, you’d hear, “Ça pique”, which, when translated literally, means “It bites”, that is, it has a peppery aftertaste.  Piquant is the French present participle form, and literally translated simply  equals “biting”.

The sun, and its generated heat can also be depicted as hot, particularly when pointing to its noonday manifestation.  Thus, it would be equally appropriate to label it the scorching, blistering, sweltering, oppressive, intense, or even fiery heat of the solar star, most notably the desert sun at noon where temperatures could hover beyond 50 degrees Celsius.  Come to think of it, you’re already half-way through scalding water there.

This description also extends to the weather ;  hot, in the sense of warm and humid/sticky, is muggy.  This would definitely  apply to the climatic conditions found in the tropics, mainly Africa and Southeast Asia during certain periods of the year.  A stormy weather is frequently accompanied by a hot and humid climate pattern.

A man who is hot-tempered is said to be fierce, vehement, emotional, excitable, angry, even stormy.  His mood swings are reflective of the tropical storm, as opposed to the even-tempered, mild or calm demeanor of a more gentle man.

Indeed,  hot heats you up cool! But that’s another story.


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