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on the back burner

Meaning: If a plan or a project is on the back burner, it isn't being worked on at present, but it might be completed in the future.

For example:

  • Plans for the new factory have been put on the back burner until the economy improves.

  • It's a great idea, but we're too busy to look into it now so we'll put it on the back burner for a while.

Origin: Probably metaphorical, from cooking and the fact that most stoves have front and back burners. Front burners are used for things that need attention now, while back burners are for things that don't need much attention just now.

Quick Quiz:

We'll put the project on the back burner for a while because
  1. it's a terrible plan
  2. we've already tried it
  3. we're too busy just now

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