To "put on the backburner" is to postpone, potentially indefinitely. The closest I can muster to its opposite is to "put back on the table". Is there a better way to to phrase the idea of assuming a line of work/inquiry that had been paused? "Move forward"/"put forward" isn't specific enough because it doesn't imply that the work had been once put off.

  • Do you need an idiom or cliché, or are you just trying to describe this act? Because if it's the latter, a simple description would be "resume work on __"
    – Juhasz
    Nov 13, 2019 at 18:25
  • I've heard "to put on the forefront" to mean the opposite. To "put on the backburner" doesn't necessarily mean to postpone, but it does mean to put on the lowest priority level. Inherently it can have the effect of it being postponed as a result.
    – psosuna
    Nov 13, 2019 at 18:46
  • take it off the back burner, otherwise, to deal with it Nov 14, 2019 at 5:47
  • @Juhasz Either but perhaps an idiom would be more beneficial if it's as widely recognized as "to put on the back burner"
    – Wolf
    Nov 14, 2019 at 11:25

1 Answer 1


"Move to the front burner" is actually an expression too, understood to be the opposite of putting something on the "back burner."

Other possibilities:

Move to the front of the line or top of the list

Make it a priority

Take up from the table (an actual parliamentary procedure, after something has been "tabled")

Make Job 1 (assign top importance to)

Light a fire under (ignite or rekindle action on something)

Put on the fast track (designate something for immediate action)

  • 1
    'Move to the front of the line/queue' will be, I think, the best fit here. There is the connotation at least of there having been a wait. Nov 13, 2019 at 19:45

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