holding pattern


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

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Examples of holding pattern in a Sentence

Our plane was in a holding pattern for almost an hour because of the fog. repair work on the bridge was in a holding pattern for the duration of the winter
Recent Examples on the Web Stocks have been in a holding pattern for the past few trading sessions, and Thursday's futures are muted. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "Impeachment has forced Wall Street onto the sidelines," 14 Jan. 2021 Foreclosures sales had been in a holding pattern since April of last year after Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff issued an executive order temporarily suspending foreclosure sales for 30 days. Patrick Danner, San Antonio Express-News, "Foreclosure sales resume in Bexar County after year-long pandemic pause," 6 Apr. 2021 His team is in a holding pattern, uncertain when it actually will be allowed to even hold workouts, never mind play a game. BostonGlobe.com, "‘Crisis management’: Nats’ COVID-19 outbreak scraps Mets series," 3 Apr. 2021 Already, hundreds of ships are stuck in a holding pattern, according to shipping trackers. NBC News, "Suez blockage could affect 'anything you see in the stores,' shipping experts say," 25 Mar. 2021 The Gophers remained in a holding pattern Monday, as several other schools announced coaching changes. Marcus Fuller, Star Tribune, "Gophers AD Mark Coyle remains mum on Richard Pitino's status," 15 Mar. 2021 Waiting for this position has me in a holding pattern and has kept me from moving forward. Washington Post, "The waiting game: What to do when a prospective employer keeps you hanging," 11 Mar. 2021 Now, with government moving, the world’s largest investors (some of whom have been in a holding pattern in recent years) will need to move as well—and swiftly. Sharon Hendricks, Fortune, "One of America’s biggest pension funds is backing a bolder climate policy. Other investors should get on board," 4 Mar. 2021 That could leave some Asian countries in a holding pattern, forced to keep their borders sealed since their populations have developed little natural immunity to the disease, even as swaths of the world reopen businesses and international travel. Phred Dvorak, WSJ, "Asia’s Champions of Covid-19 Control Fall Behind on Road to Recovery," 2 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'holding pattern.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of holding pattern

circa 1952, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for holding pattern

Time Traveler

The first known use of holding pattern was circa 1952

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Statistics for holding pattern

Last Updated

23 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Holding pattern.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/holding%20pattern. Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for holding pattern

holding pattern


English Language Learners Definition of holding pattern

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

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