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1. Literally, kept in refrigeration or packed in ice. We've got beers and sodas on ice in the cooler out back, so please go ahead and help yourselves! They'll have to keep the celebratory champagne on ice until the recount of votes has been completed.
2. On hiatus; postponed, delayed, or suspended. I know that journalist has been persistent in getting a comment from us for his story, but we'll just have to keep him on ice until the trial is over. Our project has been put on ice for the time being until the company can secure more funding.
3. Detained or confined in isolation. The group kept their prisoner on ice for nearly a week before beginning their interrogation. My uncle has been on ice in the state penitentiary since he was in his 20s.
1. Lit. stored or preserved on ice or under refrigeration. I have a lot of root beer on ice for the picnic. All the soft drinks are on ice.
2. Fig. [action on someone or something] suspended or left hanging. I was on ice for over a month while the matter was being debated. This matter should be on ice for a while.
1. In reserve or readiness. This idiom often occurs with put, meaning "to place in reserve," as in Let's put that proposal on ice until we have the funds to implement it. This usage alludes to putting things in cold storage for preservation. [Slang; late 1800s]
2. In prison, as in He's been on ice for ten years. This usage may be derived in part from the slang term cooler for "jail." [Slang; c. 1930]
3. With a good chance of success, as in I'm sure she'll win-it's on ice. [Slang; early 1900s]
on ice1 (especially of a plan or proposal) held in reserve for future consideration. 2 (of wine or food) kept chilled by being surrounded by ice. 3 (of an entertainment) performed by skaters.
1 1995 Times Education Supplement In Kent plans for 10 more nursery classes next year are on ice.
mod. in reserve. That’s a great idea, but we’ll have to put it on ice until we can afford to put it into action.
1. Assured of attainment or success: With the extra goal the victory was on ice.
2. In reserve or readiness.
3. Away from public notice or activity.