Piping Hot – Origin & Meaning

Photo of author

Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

How hot is piping hot? What does piping hot even mean? All are valid questions and ones I’ll tackle in this quick grammar guide. Let’s take a closer peek at this common idiom and see what the fuss is all about. I’ll even throw in a few sentence examples to show you how to use it.

Piping Hot Meaning Explained

Piping Hot Origin Meaning

When we say something is piping hot, we don’t mean it’s belting out a tune or working on its plumbing skills. Instead, it’s an expressive way of saying that something, usually food or drink, is very hot. Think of that first glorious bite of a just-out-of-the-oven pizza, and you’ll get the picture.

Pipping Hot or Peeping Hot

Okie dokie, let’s settle this scorching debate. Is it pipping hot or peeping hot? Well, to be honest, neither. The correct term is piping hot, which has absolutely nothing to do with flutes or tiny chirping birds. But don’t sweat it; mishearing and misinterpreting idioms are as common as a well-done steak at a barbecue—not always desired but sometimes encountered.

How Hot Is Piping Hot?

This one is a bit like asking, “How long is a piece of string?” There’s no specific temperature associated with piping hot, but it generally refers to food that’s fresh off the stove or out of the oven. So, in practical terms, it’s “too hot to handle,” or, as my mother would say, “Let it cool down a bit before you burn your tongue.”

Piping Hot Origin and Etymology

The phrase piping hot came out of the 14th century and derived from the old use of the word pipe, meaning to play a pipe. The connection? Well, when food is super hot, it sizzles, and that sizzling sound could be likened to the piping sound of a musical instrument.

The English poet, Chaucer, is actually known to have coined it, or at least brought it into mainstream language in his work The Miller’s Tale in 1387 to describe fresh waffles:

He sente hir pyment meeth and spiced ale / And wafres pipyng hoot out of the glede.

Synonyms for Piping Hot

Just like a chef looking to spice things up, it’s always handy to have a few synonyms up your sleeve. So, here are some alternative ways to express the concept of piping hot.

  • Steaming
  • Sizzling
  • Boiling
  • Scalding
  • Blazing

Piping Hot Examples in a Sentence

Piping Hot Origin Meaning 1
  • When the piping hot pizza arrived, everyone at the table immediately salivated and grabbed a slice.
  • Nothing beats a cup of piping hot coffee in the morning to get the day started.
  • “Be careful! That plate is piping hot,” the waitress said as she laid my sizzle pan of fajitas on the table.
  • Mom pulled the piping hot lasagna out of the oven, and the entire house was filled with my favorite aroma.
  • I like piping hot food that’s fresh. I can’t do leftovers. 

That’s a Wrap

That’s your fresh serving of knowledge on the phrase piping hot straight out of the language kitchen. Just let it cool down before using it in your next conversation, or you might just surprise your audience with your steaming hot idioms. It’s pretty easy to remember, too. It means super hot or fresh out of the oven!