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If someone is asked to do something important, they might say "I'll prioritize that". But if someone is asked to put something aside to work on something else more important, what could they say?

In the past I've used "de-prioritize", but I'm not sure if that's actually a word. Is it a word? Is there some other way to get this point across?

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closed as off-topic by mplungjan, Kris, ermanen, David M, MrHen Mar 25 '14 at 16:30

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions that can be answered using commonly-available references are off-topic. A list of these references can be found here: List of general references" – mplungjan, Kris, ermanen, David M, MrHen
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

@mplungjan I guess you answered my question :) Post an answer and I'll accept it! – Mansfield Mar 25 '14 at 14:11
Neither can you ask not someone answer what is general reference (that which can found in a standard dictionary or source.) – Kris Mar 25 '14 at 15:37
In the Agile software development world, working on a goal and then changing course to do other tasks first is commonly called punting. Usage: "That feature has been punted to a future release.", "This is taking more time than we originally budgeted, so the team is considering punting it." – Patrick M Mar 25 '14 at 16:12
@msam I asked him to, and I'm grateful that he did :) – Mansfield Mar 25 '14 at 18:27
up vote 10 down vote accepted

Deprioritize is a word so feel free to use it :)

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to deprioritize something it must have been previously prioritized – msam Mar 25 '14 at 16:21
@msam Everything has some priority, even if that happens to be the same as everything else. "Deprioritize" can be used even if something has not been explicitly prioritized - it would then just mean "after everything else". – Izkata Mar 25 '14 at 17:04

Put on the back burner can be used if the item previously had priority which should now be reduced:

put item B on the back burner it while you work on item A

as well as if it had none

here's a new work item B, but leave this on the back burner/give it low priority until you finish with A

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There is also a verb form - to back burner something. – bib Mar 25 '14 at 14:39

How about overlook, disorganize, or neglect?

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Those are good - but I'm looking specifically for something that means "It's still on my to do list, but at a lower priority than it was before". – Mansfield Mar 25 '14 at 12:31
In that case, deprioritize sounds good to me. – Prasad Shrivatsa Mar 25 '14 at 12:38
How about 'Put aside'? – Ronan Mar 25 '14 at 12:40
Postpone might also be useful – Josh61 Mar 25 '14 at 12:40
I think "overlook" and "neglect" sound too passive for the intended meaning. – Kevin Mar 25 '14 at 15:41

You could use demote

to lower someone or something in rank or position:


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I like the word bump here.


Building the tower on the bridge was the number one priority but we are going to have to bump that down until we get the materials.

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Your example is really bump... down though - "bump" alone could mean increase or decrease the priority. – Chris H Mar 25 '14 at 16:36

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