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in a holding pattern

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in a holding pattern

adverb phrase

In abeyance; not in an active status; on the back burner

[1950s+; fr the aviation term, found by 1948, for airplanes that are flying a prescribed circling route while awaiting clearance to land]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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