Friday, October 22, 2010

The Front Burner & The Back Burner

An ordinary oven has two sets of burners on the top. The two in front are the front burners, and the two in back are the back burners.

To place something on the front burner is to make it a high priority requiring careful observation. To place something on the back burner is to reduce its priority.

Example: When watching television very briefly today, I saw major American media figure and talk show host "Dr. Phil" urging Americans to place violence against women "on the front burner." This meant, to make the issue a top priority rather than deny its existence or downplay its importance... which would be, of course, placing violence against women on the back burner, which is exactly what Dr. Phil was urging Americans not to do.