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]


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  • In a huff

    adjective phrase Angry; petulant; grumpy [1694+; fr a huff or gust of anger] In an offended manner, angrily, as in When he left out her name, she stalked out in a huff. This idiom transfers huff in the sense of a gust of wind to a burst of anger. [ Late 1600s ] Also see: […]

  • In a jam

    adjective phrase In trouble, esp serious trouble: If you’re in a jam, he’ll fight for you (1914+) see: in a bind

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    specification, language [FDM?] [“The Ina Jo Specification Language Reference Manual”, J. Scheid et al, TR TM-(L)-6021/001/00, SDC Mar 1985]. (2000-02-24)

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