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Back burner

Posted by Bob on October 31, 2000

In Reply to: Meaning of a phrase posted by Shane Guy on October 31, 2000

: What is the meaning and origin of the phrase 'Put on the back burner'?

From cooking. almost all stoves have front and back burners. The things you need to pay careful attention to (don't stop stirring the risotto!) should be up front, under your nose. Things that can simmer away without immediate attention (soup stock, for example)can be pushed to the back burners where they can be looked into from time to time, but don't need to be attended to just now. The metaphor has been extended to all kinds of activities: on your To Do list of life, some things need to be done Now (get out of the burning building) while less urgent things (should I write Bob a nice thank you note?) can be pushed to the back burner....

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