Thursday, 8 January 2009

Word of the Day

Thanks to the Dallas Morning News for today's word, which is back-burnered. This is clearly shorthand for placing something on the back burner of the stove, and turning the noun into a verb. It means to shelve something, put it on hold, or bump it down in priority, to cite three metaphors. The reference in the Dallas Morning News, which I don't normally read, is to incoming President Obama's failure to announce his "tech czar" although many other appointments have been announced. The writer draws several cynical conclusions.

Back-burnered has been used before - by the invaluable The Register, for example, referring to a non-decision of the UK Government. It seems to be used most often as a runtogether, rather in hyphenated form, as in this example of backburnering by, as you guessed, a government - "Social security reform backburnered."

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