The idiom "hanging fire" refers to a situation that's delayed, awaiting action or a decision. It's used when something is expected to move forward but hasn't done so yet, often due to dependence on other factors or circumstances.
"Hanging fire" is about delayed action or decision, typically depending on other events or factors.
"Hanging fire" captures the concept of an action or decision that is postponed, awaiting the right circumstances or conditions to proceed. It implies a certain state of suspense or limbo, often because the situation depends on other variables.
Let's break it down further:
The expression "hanging fire" originates from a firearm malfunction where the powder in a firearm would delay before igniting, causing a pause between the trigger pull and the weapon firing. This imagery provides a fitting metaphor for any situation or decision that experiences a delay. The phrase has been in use since the 18th century.
"Now, I wish to submit to this committee that these canal propositions, across the Ohio, have been hanging fire, and we are anxious to have them completed."
- War Department Appropriation Bill, 1923
Here are some examples of how the idiom can be used in sentences:
The phrase "hanging fire" appears in pop culture, usually representing a suspenseful situation that's awaiting resolution.
Here are some instances:
There are other phrases that convey a similar meaning to "hanging fire."
Here are a few:
"Hanging fire" refers to a situation or decision that is delayed, often because it relies on other events or circumstances.
You can use "hanging fire" to describe a situation or decision that is temporarily postponed. For example, "The implementation of the new policy is hanging fire until we receive approval from the board."
The phrase "hanging fire" originated from firearms terminology, referring to a delay between the trigger pull and the weapon firing, and has been used metaphorically since the 18th century to describe any situation that is on hold.
While not as common in casual conversation, "hanging fire" is often used in more formal or professional contexts, such as business, politics, or law, to describe delayed decisions or actions.
Yes, though it often indicates a delay, "hanging fire" doesn't necessarily carry a negative connotation. It might suggest a necessary pause or thoughtful consideration before making an important decision.
"Hanging fire" is relatively well-known, particularly in business and legal contexts, but it may not be as familiar to people who speak English as a second language.
No, "hanging fire" only implies a delay or pause. The outcome can be either positive or negative, depending on the factors causing the delay and the context in which it's used.
Yes, while it's often used in professional or formal situations, "hanging fire" can also refer to personal decisions or actions that are delayed or postponed.
Yes, "hanging fire" is used in literature to create tension or suspense around a situation that is delayed or unresolved. It's a useful tool for building anticipation in a narrative.
Some synonyms for "hanging fire" include: in limbo, on hold, postponed, up in the air, delayed, deferred, and under consideration.
The phrase "hanging fire" emphasizes the tension and suspense inherent in delay. Whether it's a major policy decision, a legal judgment, or even a personal choice, when something is "hanging fire," it's on hold and awaiting action or resolution.
Here's a quick recap:
This idiom is a great way to illustrate suspense or anticipation in conversation or writing, adding depth to your language use.