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What Is a "Hot Ticket"?

Jim B.
Jim B.

"Hot ticket” is an English idiom used to refer to an event so popular that many people wish to attend or participate, even making some sacrifices to do so. As a result, such an event is often restricted to a small portion of those people who actually wish to attend. Those people who do manage to get a “hot ticket” are often those people who spend a lot of money to get it or have a lot of clout. The meaning of the phrase comes from the figurative usage of the word “hot” to mean popular.

In English, sometimes speakers use certain words or phrases whose meanings differ drastically from the literal definitions of their words. These words and phrases, known as idioms, sometimes take on different meanings over time. Idioms get their meanings from the way that they are used in the culture, and they provide speakers with the opportunity to be colloquial and colorful in their conversations. One idiom denoting a popular event is the phrase “hot ticket.”

Tickets to an event.
Tickets to an event.

When something is described in this manner, it is usually an event that many people desire to see or attend. The event could be anything from a sporting event to a concert. It may even be something that doesn’t actually require a physical ticket to attend. All that matters is that many people want to go. As an example, someone night say, “It is going to be an extremely hot ticket when he returns to sing in his hometown for the first time in ten years.”

When this idiomatic expression is used, there is an implication that such an event may be “hot” because the demand for tickets far outnumbers the actual supply. As a result, a ticket, or the right to attend such an event, might be extremely hard to acquire. For example, consider the sentence, “I’m very impressed that you were able to nab such a hot ticket; I tried for weeks but came up short.”

It is quite common for the word “hot” to be included in idioms. In many cases, it is used to denote popularity, such as in the idioms “hot item” or “hot number.” Whatever follows the word “hot” in these idioms is generally something to be desired, and such is the case with the phrase “hot ticket.”

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    • Tickets to an event.
      By: Jim Barber
      Tickets to an event.