I'm looking for a word or term that describes conversation and development that's conducted over the course of several meetings and asynchronous communications, in contrast to work that's done all at once.

For example, after spending nearly a full hour going back and forth, a member thinking they'd like to suggest the formation of a committee that would meet once a week for the next two months and/or a mailing list or call-for-papers might say,

"May I suggest that we consider this question ______________, instead of right now?"

Phrases that are in the neighborhood of the one I'm pretty sure I'm thinking of, but not quite right:

  • over time
  • in procession
  • in deliberation
  • in assembly
  • in absentia
  • post facto
  • de novo
  • at length
  • at large
  • at leisure
  • asynchronously

For some reason, the word "roll" comes to mind when I think about this, some imagery of a thing rolling along in the process of deciding the question.

  • Personally, I think your sentence is fine and fully expresses what you wish to say, without needing the added phrase.
    – Nigel J
    Mar 17 '18 at 18:43
  • your sample sentence is helpful. In addition to entering a phrase may i define the committee members too?
    – lbf
    Mar 17 '18 at 18:44
  • @Nigel J Well then, I'm looking for the phrase that'd be used to suggest that within the meeting: "May I suggest that we consider this question [phrase], instead of right now?" Mar 17 '18 at 18:44
  • @lbf That's not it; the operative function of this phrase is to denote that deliberation is conducted with time allowing opportunities for wider participation at leisure. A matter can be considered "comprehensively" by spending the rest of the day working on it - this phrase denotes taking a few hours a day over time to accomplish that. Mar 17 '18 at 18:51
  • T. Bacon used the word 'leisurely deliberating'
    – lbf
    Mar 17 '18 at 18:57

May I suggest that we consider this question offline, instead of right now?

(2) Aside from its technical meaning, offline is used frequently in a more general sense to describe events that occur outside of a standard procedure.
For example, if somebody at a meeting says "let's continue this discussion offline," it means "let's discuss it informally at another time."
The term is alternatively spelled as off-line. - webopedia

Plenty of other similar definitions for offline on the Urban Dictionary site.

This usage is, I suppose, business jargon and though common these days, it’s not in some older dictionaries.

  • This doesn't work, because the kind of deliberation I'm describing can be conducted online (and, indeed, in the usage I'm considering, would be conducted online). Mar 21 '18 at 23:01
  • @StuartP.Bentley offline in this context is simply offline with regard to the current meeting, not offline wrt the internet. I guess you could say : let’s take this offline and follow up on it by e-mail
    – k1eran
    Mar 21 '18 at 23:04

I changed your sentence structure a bit, but I think it's worth mentioning this way of phrasing it. I would suggest using to adjourn something, according to Dictionary.com that means (all three of these definitions fit):

"to defer or postpone to a later time"1

"to defer or postpone (a matter) to a future meeting of the same body."1

"to defer or postpone (a matter) to some future time, either specified or not specified."1

In your example that would look like this:

"May I suggest that we adjourn this question [...]?"

The dots may contain different things, depending on when you want to discuss it further, for example (all these ways of phrasing it can be found in similar style in this link to Oxford Learner's Dictionary under the extra examples section, I think the first fits best in your case):

to the next meeting(s) (indicating you want to talk about it in the next meeting(s))

indefinitely (if you don't want to set a date for discussing it)

for a week (could be any other time unit, you suggest discussing it then)

until April 15th (a specific date)

Or you could leave the dots empty, it would imply the second definition in my quote, postpone the issue to the next meeting of the same body 1


1 "Adjourn." Dictionary.com. Accessed March 27, 2018. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/adjourn.

2 Adjourn Verb - Definition, Pictures, Pronunciation and Usage Notes | Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary at OxfordLearnersDictionaries.com. Accessed March 27, 2018. https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/adjourn.


Consider progressively which means "in stages" which is also a good choice, by the way. Another option is "in phases".

"May I suggest that we consider this question progressively, instead of right now?"
"May I suggest that we consider this question in stages, instead of right now?"
"May I suggest that we consider this question in phases, instead of right now?"


progressively ADVERB
1 Steadily; in stages.

‘successive governments progressively increased expenditure on welfare’


"May I suggest that we consider this question 'over the coming months/weeks', instead of right now?"


"May I suggest that we consider this question in the future, instead of right now"


"May I suggest that we defer this question for the future, instead of right now"


I think the word I'm looking for might be procedurally.


Business discussions in the United States can use the word table as a colloquial use of the phrase from parliamentary procedure, delaying action until an unspecified future meeting.

"May I suggest that we consider this question tabled, instead of right now"

  • "Tabled" is usually interpreted to mean that the measure is killed and will progress no further.
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 17 '18 at 20:25

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