put on hold/ice/the back burner, to

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put someone or something on hold

to put someone or someone's telephone call on an electronic hold. (See also put someone on hold.) Please don't put me on hold! I'm in a hurry! I am going to have to put your call on hold.
See also: hold, on, put

put someone on hold

Fig. to stop all activity or communication with someone. (See also put someone or something on hold.) John put Ann on hold and started dating Mary. "You can't just put me on hold!" cried Ann.
See also: hold, on, put

put something on hold

to postpone something; to stop the progress of something. (See also put someone on hold; put someone or something on hold.) They put the project on hold until they got enough money to finish it. Sorry, but we must put your plan on hold.
See also: hold, on, put

put someone or something on ice

1. Lit. to put a body part or corpse on ice or under refrigeration to preserve it; to put a foodstuff on ice or under refrigeration to cool it. The surgeon transplanted a heart that had been put on ice for two hours. Please put the soda pop on ice.
2. Fig. to postpone acting on someone or something. I know he keeps pestering you for an answer, but we'll just have to put him on ice until we have more facts to go on. Let's put this project on ice till we find out how well it's financed.
See also: ice, on, put
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

put on hold/ice/the back burner, to

To postpone, delay, keep in reserve. The oldest of these nearly synonymous terms is to put something on ice, the transfer from food storage (on ice blocks) to anything kept in reserve occurring in the late nineteenth century. Chefs put food that is either finished or cooks more quickly than the rest of a meal on a back burner of the range. By about 1930, this term was transferred to temporarily shelving any item or project or plan, originally in the United States, and came into general use about thirty years later. To put on hold also dates from the mid-twentieth century. It began to be used for the temporary interruption or suspension of a space launch and/or a telephone conversation. It was commonplace in both activities by about 1960 and was rapidly transferred to other kinds of delay, although its literal application—interrupting a telephone connection to wait for its resumption—is still current, along with the irritations generated by call waiting. See also your call is important.
See also: back, hold, ice, on, put
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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