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a hot spicy Mexican dish made with meat, beans and chillies

I am wondering if the italic part could mean:

a mixture of both a hot and spicy dish

Therefore, the dish would be at the same time not only spicy, hot,as well.

Updated: Is there ant difference between the two?

a hot spicy food

a spicy hot food

But, when we say a hot food, it mean the food is just temperature hot. Am I right?

In addition, I cannot get what these mean:

is saying is that "hot spicy" is clarifying that "hot" in this use is spicy, not temperature... I'm not sure how else to explain it. A cold dish (like a salsa) could still be explained to be "hot spicy"... it does not mean the dish is both temperature hot and spicy at the same time.

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    In this context, the collocation tells you that hot is to be understood in the spicy sense, as when we speak of the "heat" of peppers, rather than the temperature sense. – StoneyB on hiatus Apr 10 '15 at 21:17
  • Thanks. I, however, failed to get what you mean at all. – nima Apr 10 '15 at 21:49
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    "Hot" means both temperature hot and spicy hot... English doesn't have a good word for picante. What @StoneyB is saying is that "hot spicy" is clarifying that "hot" in this use is spicy, not temperature... I'm not sure how else to explain it. A cold dish (like a salsa) could still be explained to be "hot spicy"... it does not mean the dish is both temperature hot and spicy at the same time. – Catija Apr 10 '15 at 22:02
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    And, by the same token, something that is piquant (hot) is not necessarily "spicy"... spicy technically means "containing a lot of spices"... so you could have a spicy gingerbread but you wouldn't call it (hot) piquant. – Catija Apr 10 '15 at 22:08
  • possible duplicate of what does hot mean here? – user6951 Apr 11 '15 at 20:57
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Both hot and spicy have at least two markedly different meanings when applied to food.

  • Hot can signify either a) intense temperature, the opposite of cold, as when we speak of a hot meal or a hot cup of coffee, or b) intense pungency, the opposite of mild, as when we speak of hot mustard or hot peppers.

  • Similarly, spicy can signify either a) intense flavour, the opposite of bland, as when we speak of a spicy dessert (for instance, one seasoned with lots of cinnamon and cloves), or b) intense pungency, as when we speak of a spicy chili or curry.

So when you use one of these words it is often unclear exactly what you mean, and you usually have to qualify the word with another. That's what is going on in your example: it uses both hot and spicy to indicate that it is the sense in which these two words overlap, intense pungency, that is meant.

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  • StoneyB, I would not describe the property that mustard, capsaicin-bearing peppers, chili, and curry share as "bitterness". Bitterness is what kale has; there is no intensity of the flavor of kale that will burn your mouth. Technically, I think the "hot" property is actually mucosal irritation. Just... a really enjoyable mucosal irritation. – Codeswitcher Apr 11 '15 at 2:59
  • @Codeswitcher You're right. The technical term appears to be "pungency"; I will revise. – StoneyB on hiatus Apr 11 '15 at 3:39
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But, when we say a hot food, it mean the food is just temperature hot. Am I right?

Right. When "hot" is used without other modifier, it defaults to referring to temperature, not spiciness.

It can be used to indicate spiciness, but that's really ambiguous even to native speakers. If context isn't really clear, we have to ask for clarification.

Usually to disambiguate between the two meanings, we use the expression "spicy-hot".

For which reason, when I hear something like your first example:

a hot spicy Mexican dish made with meat, beans and chillies

I tend assume, because the words are reversed from the idiomatic usage "spicy-hot", that that is deliberate word choice intended to convey that the dish is both "hot" and "spicy-hot".

But even so, I would hold that opinion tentatively, because it really is so ambiguous in English.

English is so terrible at clearly and reliably communicating the idea of spicy-hotness, that restaurant menus have developed the convention of using a pictogram – a stylized image of a jalapeno pepper – next to foods which are spicy-hot, to alert the reader, rather than putting it in the description text.

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    Hot meaning hot is completely based on context... if I taste some salsa and say "that's hot"... it's understood that I mean spicy. – Catija Apr 11 '15 at 3:44
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    What @Catija said. I don't agree that when "hot" is used without another modifier, it defaults to referring to temperature. There's always a context, and it's the context that dictates the default interpretation. Even if the only context is the presence of a noun (a hot girlfriend is sexually attractive, a hot topic is a "live" issue, etc.) that's usually enough. It just so happens with some "food" nouns that both piquante and high temperature may be equally plausible meanings even in context. But by the same token, a hot car may be recently stolen, or fast, for example. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Apr 11 '15 at 13:07
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Depending on context this may mean either 'hot-as-in-piquante, not 'hot-as-in-degrees-celsius' or 'more-spicy-than-medium-spicy'.

If some of the other menu items are listed as medium-spicy, the usage is likely the latter. If the only 'spicy' descriptor is 'hot' it's likely the former.

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