English Idioms


Put it on the back burner

Whoever would be so kind as to explain to me what that means?

8 comments

  • "Mettre en veilleuse"


    Example: "Because her English is not as good as she want it to be, she had to put her trip to England on the back burner"


    Hi, English guru!
  • You made it crystal clear to me, Hortence. Your French translation sounds delightful.
    In fact I was using a back burner on a daily basis without knowing it was called a back burner. In my kitchen there a gas cooker which is fit with a tiny burner where a pan can be put on hold waiting for further completion (full cooking, serving, or whatever else..). Even though that small burner is not spotted at the back of the cooker, I guess it goes by the name of "back burner".
    Now I wonder to which extend "to put on the back burner" is synonym of "to shelve". Booth seem to mean "to delay, to postpone, to suspend, to defer, to put on hold" but the context for use could different for avery expression . Do you know?


    By the by, Hortence, I've been pleased to learn you were still alive. Maybe you had put your pen/keyboard on the back burner for a while. Or should you have shelved your GymGlish workout?
  • CS: Please read both instead of booth! What a bug!
    And also "every" instead of avery. Tex could be angry!
  • Hi Gee!


    Thank you for the reply.


    In my mind, "to shelve" mean to store permanently. Like in this sentence: "As soon as the research was completed, they shelved it." (To mean they didn't take further actions.)


    I was wondering if the expression "to put it on ice" has the same meaning as "to put it on the back burner?


    I think we could say: "Because her English is not as good as she want it to be, she has put her project to go to England on ice". What do you think?
  • Oh yeah, Hortence, "to put on ice". That's an idiom I had no idea about, even though it goes as the French 'mettre (un projet, une idée..) au frigo'. The Robert & Collins backs you on that point.
    I guess it particularly suits to Canadians in winter when snow and ice are widespread rifing over the countryside. (lol)


    About to shelve, I made an investigation.
    You're right thinking that shelving a research might be to store it permanently, if not forever. Researchers might waive the problem.
    But to shelve also means to postpone, to defer. In the Webster's it's reading "to shelve: a) to remove from active service; b) to put off or aside (to ~ shelve a project)"
    By copy and paste here is the second definition given by the online Answers.com : "To put away as though on a shelf; put aside: “As usual, Dixon shelved this question” (Kingsley Amis)." As synonyms: To put off until a later time: defer, delay, hold off, hold up, postpone, remit, shelve, stay, suspend, table, waive. Informal: wait. Idioms: put on ice."


    Thank you, Hortence, for your pleasant lesson. Have a nice week-end.
  • Thank you for these details.


    See you soon in the forums!
  • Anything that keeps learning English on the front burner is good.
  • Thanks for the nice portrayal of your kitchen, Gee.
    Till now I mistakenly supposed that a back burner was one of the hot plates or ceramic hobs at the back of the burner. But in addition to that your backburner seems to have wonderful qualities.
    If I weren't so scared of gas cookers I would certainly buy one.
    (CW)

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