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I'm encountering this idiom in a government/business context. For example, someone will say that changes to Document A affect Person X's workload, so we'd like to get that document "lying flat" for a while. From the context, I would expect it to mean either "finished" or "not expected to change." I'm not sure if this is common (or at least common bureaucracy-speak) or if it's limited to my little niche, since I haven't found it in Merriam-Webster or The Free Dictionary.

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    I've never come across it, but I like the image. If it's not lying flat, there are probably lots of sticky notes, stapled addenda, dogeared pages and bookmarks which, as you suggest, call for some urgent attention. – JHCL Oct 13 '15 at 15:36
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    I've known the idiom to be used when discussing a project or design with lots of "lumps" -- problem areas that demanded attention. When the "lumps" are "pounded out" then the project will "lie flat". "Everything's on schedule except that we can't get the glibnix feature to lie flat, even though we keep pounding on the lumps." – Hot Licks Nov 13 '15 at 0:56

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