holding pattern


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

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 There’s a mutual understanding across the league that conversations don’t pick up until after the playoffs, so everybody has been in a holding pattern over the past month or so. Dane Mizutani, Twin Cities, 9 Feb. 2024 SpaceX had been a holding pattern waiting for that approval, which had been in question due in part to the consequences of the first test. NBC News, 18 Nov. 2023 Stuck in the same holding pattern as thousands of other migrants in cities along the border after pandemic-era migration restrictions expired on Thursday night, the occupants of the camp here have had to make do with the scarce supply of food and water provided by volunteers and the Border Patrol. Simon Romero, New York Times, 12 May 2023 The building has been in a holding pattern since, as officials wait for the government to approve funding. Emma Colton, Fox News, 30 Oct. 2023 If the Sixers and Clippers remain in that holding pattern for the next few months, both could grow to regret it. Bryan Toporek, Forbes, 17 July 2023 The rental market is also generally stuck in the post-pandemic holding pattern of record-high prices and too few units. Curbed Staff, Curbed, 14 Sep. 2023 This has left these aid workers scrambling to help, while many migrants are stuck in a bewildering holding pattern inside the city’s shelter system. Max Rivlin-Nadler, Rolling Stone, 6 Aug. 2023 Yet another frozen conflict, yet another temporary holding pattern, yet another face-saving compromise will not end the pattern of Russian aggression. Matthew Gavin Frank, Harper's Magazine, 6 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'holding pattern.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1952, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of holding pattern was circa 1952

Dictionary Entries Near holding pattern

Cite this Entry

“Holding pattern.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/holding%20pattern. Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

holding pattern

: the course flown (as over an airport) by an aircraft waiting for permission to land
: a state of waiting or suspended activity
the project is in a holding pattern
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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