writing


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have (hand)writing like chicken scratch

To have very poor, messy, and/or illegible handwriting, likened to the marks made in the dirt by a chicken. I can't understand these notes at all, you have handwriting like chicken scratch!
See also: chicken, have, like, scratch

(one's) (hand)writing is like chicken scratch

One's handwriting is very poor, messy, and/or illegible, likened to the marks made in the dirt by a chicken. I can't understand these notes at all, your handwriting is like chicken scratch!
See also: chicken, like, scratch

not worth writing home about

To be not especially remarkable or noteworthy; to be rather dull, mediocre, uninteresting, or unimportant. A variant of the more common phrase "nothing to write home about." A: "Have you eaten in that new sushi restaurant yet?" B: "Yeah, I went there last week. It was OK, but it isn't worth writing home about." His performance hasn't been worth writing home about so far. To be honest, we were expecting much more from him when we recruited him out of Dartmouth.
See also: home, not, worth, writing

write a bum check

To submit a money order as payment when the account being drawn upon does not or will not have adequate funds for the order to clear. Primarily heard in US. My ex-husband was so addicted to shopping that, by the end of our marriage, he had started writing bum checks just to keep making purchases. Being in debt has always scared the hell out of me, so I've made sure to never write a bum check in my life.
See also: bum, check, write

write on water

To have a fleeting impact, as opposed to a lasting legacy. People will forget these superficial pop stars in no time—their careers are written on water.
See also: on, water, write

the (hand)writing is on the wall

There are very apparent signs that something bad will happen in the future. The phrase comes from the Biblical story of Daniel, in which the prophet interprets some mysterious writing that a disembodied hand has inscribed on the palace wall, telling King Belshazzar that he will be overthrown. You need to resign now. The writing is on the wall, and there's no reason you need to go down with this company when it folds. The handwriting is on the wall for many aquatic species, but there is hope that we can make some changes to save some of them.
See also: on, wall

the (hand)writing on the wall

The very apparent signs that something bad will happen in the future. The phrase comes from the Biblical story of Daniel, in which the prophet interprets some mysterious writing that a disembodied hand has inscribed on the palace wall, telling King Belshazzar that he will be overthrown. You need to resign now. The writing on the wall says the company is going to fold, and there's no reason you need to go down with it. The handwriting on the wall bodes poorly for many aquatic species, but there is hope that we can make some changes to save some of them.
See also: on, wall

in writing

In a printed, written, or typed document. It's right there in writing that employees caught taking office supplies will be fired immediately. Please send me an email summarizing this conversation, so I have it all in writing should the issue come up in the future.
See also: writing

*in writing

in written form rather that spoken. (*Typically: get something ~; have something ~; put something ~.) Be sure to get their salary offer in writing.
See also: writing

see the (hand)writing on the wall

Fig. to know that something is about to happen. If you don't improve your performance, they'll fire you. Can't you see the writing on the wall? I know I'll get fired. I can see the handwriting on the wall.
See also: on, see, wall, writing

handwriting on the wall

Also, writing on the wall. A warning or presentiment of danger, as in The company was losing money, and seeing the handwriting on the wall, she started to look for another job . This expression comes from the Bible (Daniel 5:5-31), in which the prophet interprets some mysterious writing that a disembodied hand has inscribed on the palace wall, telling King Belshazzar that he will be overthrown.
See also: handwriting, on, wall

the writing is on the wall

mainly BRITISH or

the handwriting is on the wall

mainly AMERICAN
COMMON If you say the writing is on the wall or the handwriting is on the wall, you mean that there are clear signs that a situation is going to become difficult or unpleasant, or that something or someone is going to fail. The writing is clearly on the wall. If we do nothing about it, we shall only have ourselves to blame. The handwriting was on the wall for Peters when she lost the first set 6-1 in less than 20 minutes. Note: You can call something the writing on the wall or the handwriting on the wall when it seems to be a sign of something unpleasant which is likely to happen in the future. He saw the writing on the wall and knew he had to get out of the company before it collapsed. Note: This expression comes from a Bible story in which a mysterious hand appears and writes a message on the wall, announcing that Belshazzar's kingdom will soon come to an end. (Daniel 5)
See also: on, wall, writing

the writing is on the wall

there are clear signs that something unpleasant or unwelcome is going to happen.
This phrase comes from the biblical story of Belshazzar's feast, at which a disembodied hand appeared and wrote a message on the wall foretelling the fall of the Babylonian kingdom to the Medes and Persians (Daniel 5:5, 25–8). A North American variant is the handwriting is on the wall .
1998 Spectator We ought to have spotted the writing on the wall when the dear old Ministry of Works became ‘English Heritage’, packaging the past as a set of limited-edition, special-offer collectables.
See also: on, wall, writing

in ˈwriting

in the form of a letter, document, etc. (that gives proof of something): All telephone reservations must be confirmed in writing.You should get his promises in writing.
See also: writing

the ˌwriting (is) on the ˈwall

(American English the ˌhandwriting (is) on the ˈwall) (saying) used when you are describing a situation in which there are signs that somebody/something is going to have problems or is going to fail: The writing is on the wall for the club unless they can find £20 000.The President refuses to see the handwriting on the wall (= that he will soon be defeated).This phrase comes from the Bible story in which strange writing appeared on a wall during a feast given by King Belshazzar, predicting his death and the end of his kingdom.
See also: on, wall, writing

writing

/handwriting on the wall
An ominous indication of the course of future events: saw the writing on the wall and fled the country.

handwriting on the wall

A dire warning. The phrase comes from the Book of Daniel, in which the Persian king Belshazaar and his court see a disembodied hand appear during a feast and write on a wall, “Mene, Mene, Tekel u-Pharsin.” His seers unable to decipher the words, the king summons Daniel, who, keeping his interpretation streak intact: [see “feet of clay”], reveals that the words refer to Belshazaar's reign and his kingdom being in jeopardy. And sure enough, later that evening the king was murdered and his kingdom given to the Medes, just as Daniel had predicted. “The handwriting on the wall” or “the writing on the wall” came to refer to any prediction or omen that a venture was doomed to failure.
See also: handwriting, on, wall
References in periodicals archive ?
The translating process, as identified in the Cognitive Process Theory of Writing (Flower & Hayes, 1981), comprises of converting ideas into textual output.
Word processing: using computers or word processors as supports for writing.
The foundation has conducted a Summer Writing Camp for about six years, but officials could not confirm whether the program would run this summer, as of our presstime in November 2005.
Chow said she's not planning to use cursive writing for her essay.
In Amusement, a twisted little piece and an exercise in which I was imitating the bizarre writing style of English writer Ian McEwan--I learned that I am not good at the art of imitation.
His writing made it apparent that Sam's confidence in himself had not been crushed the day before.
Another task of successful age-ing that is fueled by journal writing and meditation is life review and passing on your knowledge to others.
Think about the kind of writing you look forward to receiving.
To be sure, their problems are enormous--dead siblings, drug-addicted mothers, murders on their doorsteps--and writing can't change all that.
When writing directives, administrators should avoid restating the laws upon which they are based.
Wicat Writing Plus provides comprehensive instruction, examples and practice in eight different types of writing, including expressive, informative, persuasive, and biographical.
This article describes the work of a writing group over a two year period organized to help seven tenure track faculty members increase scholarly productivity.
Jamestown is one of the most active schools in Arlington Public Schools' integration of handheld technology to support the district's writing curriculum and the podcasts are the result of creating original content using Palm handheld computers.