holding pattern

a traffic pattern for aircraft at a specified location (holding point) where they are ordered to remain until permitted to land or proceed.
a state or period in which no progress or change is made or planned.


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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
holding pattern
the oval or circular path of an aircraft flying around an airport awaiting permission to land

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Example sentences
Hotels and other facilities are waiting to book football weekends, leaving fall brides in a holding pattern.
Nothing invites mediocrity, complacency and non-think more than colleagues that are in a holding pattern over our campus.
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