on hold

Idioms & Phrases

on hold

  1. In a state of temporary interruption, but not disconnection, during a telephone call, as in While I was on hold, I checked my calendar for when I could schedule a meeting, or They had to put me on hold while they looked up my account. [c. 1960]

  2. In a state of postponement or delay, as in When she was transferred, they had to put their romance on hold. This figurative usage is a broadened sense of def. 1. [Colloquial; c. 1970]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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