Green’s Dictionary of Slang

hot one n.

[hot adj. + SE one/one n.1 ]

1. a violent blow.

[Aus]Bell’s Life in Victoria (Melbourne) 16 May 4/4: Bill [...] tried to put in a hot-un on the nob with the right.
[UK]A. Mayhew Paved with Gold 184: If Ned gets one of jack’s ‘hot ’uns’ he must say good-by to day-light.
Sporting Life (London) 17 Oct. 3/4: Gillam for his trouble got a ‘hot ’un’ on the left peeper.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 103/1: Now, talk notties t’ wat I’m sayin’ or sum on ye ’ll git a hot-un!
[UK]C. Hindley Life and Adventures of a Cheap Jack 190: When Jacob was in peril of the big fellow’s mutton-fist dropping him a hot ’un.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 11 Apr. 17/4: Once up and facing his opponent again, the latter dropped him with a very hot one on his ear, and this settled the business. […] Pettengell soon came round after being attended to, and bore scarcely any signs of punishment.
[UK]F.W. Carew Autobiog. of a Gipsey 76: [footnote] I hits the man a hot-’un in the face.
[Aus]Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 1 June 3/3: The Never-Never Countryman handed the Jew a hot one on the nose.
[US]C. M’Govern By Bolo and Krag 203: I didn’t do a thing but land the whole crowd a few bunches of hot ones with both arms at the same time.
[US](con. WWII) T. Sanchez Hollywoodland (1981) 20: I have these nightmares [...] That the carrier takes a hot one off the port quarter [...] and we have to jump for it.

2. in fig. use of sense 1, an emphatic scolding.

[UK]Sportsman 17 Jan. 2/1: Notes on News [...] But what have these poor North British Railway people done to deserve such ‘a hot’un’ from this prophetic advertising Jeremiah.

3. a promiscuous woman.

broadside ballad: They call me Happy Eliza, and I’m Converted Jane / We’ve been two hot ’uns in our time.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 30 Mar. 11/5: They’re a pair of real red hot ’uns / [...] / And he do spend of a fortun’ /On them pair of daisy queens.

4. an unpleasant place or experience.

[UK]‘Career of a Scapegrace’ in Leicester Chron. 10 May 12/1: Don’t let ’em catch you cadging in this cursed country, or you’ll see the inside of Carnarvon stir, and a hot ’un it is’.

5. an admirable individual, a good example, usu. with sexual overtones.

[UK] ‘’Arry on the Road’ in Punch 9 Aug. 83/1: Bin at it again. Oh, I ham sech a ’ot ’un all round.
[UK] ‘’Arry on Song and Sentiment’ in Punch 14 Nov. 229/1: There, my pal, the ‘Big Bounce, is a hot ’un’.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 8 July 7/1: Pat O’Toole is back from Melbourne. He says Duggan is a hot ’un.
[UK]E. Pugh Street in Suburbia 43: She may turn art a reg’lar art an’ art ’ot ’un.
[UK]R. Tressell Ragged Trousered Philanthropists (1955) 18: By all accounts, ole Sweater used to be a regler ’ot un.
[UK]J. Curtis Gilt Kid 275: Chinky-eyed Len was a hot one. That ought to make the bogys go tearing all over the West End looking for him.
[US] in Randolph & Legman Ozark Folksongs and Folklore (1992) I 402: Jinny’s a hot one, takes it in the hand, / The cheeks of her ass go Slam! Slam! Slam!
[US]J. Jones From Here to Eternity (1998) 622: He’s a hot one, the Wop is. Aint he a hot one?
[UK]S. Berkoff East in Decadence and Other Plays (1985) 77: He had a beautiful silky hot one.
[US]C. Hiaasen Native Tongue 29: I saw a couple of hot ones out by the swimming pool.

6. a ‘difficult’, socially unrestrained person.

[UK] ‘’Arry’s Visit to the Moon’ in Punch Christmas Number in P. Marks (2006) 166: You’re a ’ot ’un to give yourself hairs.
[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 17 Jan. 1/4: For he never ’as met such a ’ot ’un / Before in the earth , sea or air.
[UK]B. Pain De Omnibus 32: Ike is a ’ot un.
[UK]D. Stewart Vultures of the City in Illus. Police News 8 Dec. 12/1: ‘I wonders if the old barrow-night has pegged out yet. Don’t like a-dying, these rich blokes don’t. I’ve heard as he’s been a hot ’un in his time; if he slings his hook to-night he’ll go off with fireworks.
[UK]R. Westerby Wide Boys Never Work (1938) 11: He was a hot one all right, this boy. People kept on his right side, or kept away.
[US]J. Thompson Swell-Looking Babe 70: I saw we’d caught a hot one right away.

7. (gambling) a winning tip.

[US]H. Blossom Checkers 19: The owner himself is going to ‘put me next’ [...] It’ll be a ‘hot one.’ [Ibid.] 140: It must be a ‘hot one’ – I wonder what the odds will be.
[US]Ade Hand-made Fables 88: [He] was carrying on with the Footlight Favourite and exchanging Hot Ones with Jimmy the Sport.
[US]W.R. Burnett Dark Hazard (1934) 31: If you know any more hot ones, let me know.

8. something shocking, surprising or exciting, or funny.

[UK]A. Morrison Tales of Mean Streets (1983) 93: Just before ’e sent ye down, ye dropped a ’ot ’un on ’is beak.
[US]F. Hutcheson Barkeep Stories 51: ‘Dat’s a hot one [...] You’ll be de champion o’ de world sure if you kin do dat’.
[US]F. Hutchison Philosophy of Johnny the Gent 80: ‘Well, this big flatty [...] can be bulled easier’n a get-rich-quick come-on. The gang had him over in Clancy’s the other night an’ they framed up a hot one for him’.
[US]J. London Valley of the Moon (1914) 119: I’m goin’ to pass them a hot one [i.e. suggestion].
Blackburn Times 12 Feb. 2/2: ‘Yo meen to say as th’ Tory party’s bin seducted?‘ (Laughing) ‘Well, that’s a hot un!’.
[US]M.E. Smith Adventures of a Boomer Op. 38: Say [...] that was a hot one you handed our fat friends about the furniture polish. Ha, Ha.
[US]R. Coleman Girl From Back Home in Hatch & Hamalian Lost Plays of Harlem Renaissance (1996) 99: Milly’s husband [...] looking for me with a gun! Say, that’s a hot one.
[UK]J. Curtis Gilt Kid 292: ‘It is clear that the English police, in addition to being the most efficient are the fairest in the world.’ ‘That’s a hot one.’.
[US]I. Wolfert Tucker’s People (1944) 64: Well, you got that hot one off your chest, now listen.
[UK]Wodehouse Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit 196: One of the characters has unloaded a hot one on the assembled company.
[US]G. Brewer ‘Moonshine’ in Best of Manhunt (2019) [ebook] This was going to be a hot one to tell the boys, all right.
[US]M. Rumaker Exit 3 and Other Stories 104: ‘That’s a hot one!’ said Wally, slapping his thigh and bursting out laughing.
[UK]Indep. on Sun. 30 Jan. 30: Captain! Hot one! Surf’n’Turf, the top easy listening combo featuring any number of television current affairs.

9. (US und.) a recently stolen automobile.

San Bernadino Co. Sun (CA) 25 Mar. 41/1: A hot one — car stolen in past 24 hours and reported.

10. something or someone appealing.

[US]N. Algren Neon Wilderness (1986) 98: That was a hot one, ten bucks and the guy’s own pants thrown in.
[US]Baker et al. CUSS 140: Hot one A sexually attractive person, female. A quick or witty person.

11. a good idea or plan.

[US]‘Red’ Rudensky Gonif 47: We’ve been working on a hot one, Red.

12. (UK black gang) a murder.

[US](con. 1984) K. Scott Monster (1994) 245: I [...] asked how many hot ones – murders – it [i.e. a gun] had on it.

13. see also sl. compounds under hot adj.