the writing on the wall

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the writing on the wall

also the handwriting on the wall
the likelihood that something bad will happen Area residents can see the writing on the wall and realize that if they don't cooperate with the police, these crimes will continue. As leaders, they should have seen the handwriting on the wall and come up with an alternative course of action.
Usage notes: often used with see, as in the examples
Etymology: based on a story in the Bible about Daniel, who reads the handwriting on the wall that predicts the end of the kingdom of Babylon
See also: on, wall, writing
References in periodicals archive ?
Undoubtedly they see the handwriting on the wall,'' said Stormy Williams, a founder of Desert Citizens Against Pollution, a group that has fought the company.
City supervisors, seeing the handwriting on the wall, placed the amendment on the ballot.