Idiom:  put something on ice


Idiom:  (keep/put something) on ice

  • to delay something (e.g., a plan or idea) or reserve it for future use

Note: The verb "keep" is also used with "on ice" to convey the meaning that something is kept delayed for a period of time. To "put" something on ice is to show the beginning of the delay.

When something is literally put on ice (for example fresh seafood), it is kept in a state that will preserve its freshness and safety for a period of time.

Example sentences

— We decided to put the project on ice until we hire a new project manager.

— Our remodeling project has been put on ice because we lost confidence in the contractor.

— I kept my own dreams on ice for years while my husband has pursued his career. 

— We put going out to dinner on ice for a few months so we can save money to buy a car.

— We'll have to put the hiring of another administrator assistant on ice until we can secure more funding.

— Unfortunately, my husband still isn't feeling well so we've got to put the dinner on ice and I'll give you a call when he's better.

A business folder with a photo of an unfinished construction project is placed on top of crushed ice. "We had to put construction on ice during the Coronavirus pandemic."

— Congress put the vote on gun control on ice until after the midterm elections.

— Let's put the landscaping on ice until the weather is a little better.

— We cannot keep this project on ice forever. Either we do it or let's kill the project.

— What happened to the road repairs? Have they been put on ice again?

— The debate has been put on ice again but no one's sure the incumbent is actually willing to discuss policy with his opponent.

— Our firm has put hiring on ice for a while because of the economic upheaval.

— After the Coronavirus exploded we decided to put the store opening on ice.


  • put something on the back burner
  • set/put something aside
  • give something a rest
  • back away from something

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