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To Put (Some One) on Ice

Posted by Lewis on March 06, 2003

In Reply to: To Put (Some One) on Ice posted by ESC on March 05, 2003

: : : : : : : Hello, I was just hoping to learn the meaning and origin of the phrase "to put (some one) on ice". Thanks in advance for any assistance.

: : : : : : Over here in the UK, to put someone or something on ice means to put to one side, to decide to deal with the person or thing at a much later date. I suspect the idiom comes from the storage of food, where literally putting some perishable item on ice meant that you could indeed come back to it at a later stage.

: : : : : PUT ON ICE - "Set aside; stored; kept in reserve until needed. The ice house or ice box, filled with blocks of ice cut from a lake or a river, predates the gas or electric refrigerator. People were putting food on blocks of ice a century ago to preserve it. The idea transferred readily to things other than food. Paul L. Ford offered this version in 'The Honorable Peter Stirling' : 'They say she's never been able to find a man good enough for her, so she's keeping herself on ice." From "The Dictionary of Cliches" by James Rogers (Ballantine Books, New York, 1985).

: : : : : interesting, so far. Here, to "put someone on ice" or to "ice" someone means to do away with them, to kill them.

: : : If you "ice" someone, you kill him. Refers to the chilling of the corpse. Gruesome, isn't it.

: : : Where is here? Are you in the U.S., Britain or elsewhere? We're becoming an international group.

: : : We are in the upper midwest of the US, still wrapped in the arms of winter... -10 degrees farenheit, "on ice" literally, lion still roaring... awaiting the lamb...

: : : My son just informed me that in basketball one can "ice" a shooter at the free-throw line by calling a timeout, also a kicker in American football can be "put on ice" in the same manner. He is forced to contemplate the gravity of the situation.

: I'm in Kentucky.

When I first found this site, I thought that I was a rarity being English, so I tailor my postings for the international readership more than I probably need to - so apologies for egg-suck teaching!

Agree with the above - 'on ice' was literally because before refridgeration, food was preserved using ice stored in an underground ice-house and put on the ice to chill it. it came to mean 'shelved' and precariously preserved, so that it needed to be resumed sooner rather than later.
I also agree with the killing use - a corpse would also sometimes be put
on ice to preserve it (slow down smelly putrification). So to 'ice' somebody is to make them a corpse.

anybody know how this forum came about?