Dictionary

holding pattern

noun

: a course flown by an aircraft while waiting for permission to land

Full Definition of HOLDING PATTERN

1
:  the usually oval course flown (as over an airport) by aircraft awaiting clearance especially to land
2
:  a state of waiting or suspended activity or progress

Examples of HOLDING PATTERN

  1. Our plane was in a holding pattern for almost an hour because of the fog.
  2. <repair work on the bridge was in a holding pattern for the duration of the winter>

First Known Use of HOLDING PATTERN

circa 1952

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