in a holding pattern

in a holding pattern

1. Literally, of an aircraft, in a continuous, generally circular flight pattern over an airport, as while awaiting clearance to land. Due to a security breach in the airport, our plane was kept in a holding pattern for nearly 45 minutes.
2. In a state or condition of inactivity or stagnancy, leading to little or no change, advancement, or development. Relying solely on derivative sequels, many feel that the video game company has been in a holding pattern in recent years.
See also: holding, pattern