In the Time magazine’s article (May 8) titled, "Five lessons about work you won’t learn in school," there was the following amusing statement:

“Over the course of a lifetime, the average Americans male spends roughly five months complaining about his boss. This is approximately the same amount of time we spend on hold, and more than twice as long as we spend having sex.”

I was interested in the fact that average American males spend time complaining their boss more than twice as long as having sex. But I’m more interested in knowing the meaning of ‘on hold’ in the line, ‘This is approximately the same amount of time we spend on hold.” ‘On hold’ of time for what?

Kenkyusha’s Readers English Japanese Dictionary at hand defines ‘on hold’ as an idiom meaning ‘stand ready, or pending.’ If so, what is the exact time or thing they spend ‘on hold’ i.e., ‘stand ready for’ in their lifetime?


2 Answers 2


On hold is the expression that we use for waiting on the phone. For example, if you call an office building or a customer support service, they may place you on hold until they have someone available for you to speak with.


On hold almost always refers to waiting on telephone line for someone to come back, transfer our call, or pick up the line in the first place.

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