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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

*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

in writing

in the form of a document Any agreement can be canceled, even one in writing. If you want to examine these papers, you must ask in writing for permission to do it. She saw so little of her father that, when she wanted something, she would put her request in writing.
See also: writing

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

the writing is on the wall

  (British, American & Australian) also the handwriting is on the wall (American)
if the writing is on the wall for a person or an organization, it is clear that they will fail or be unable to continue (often + for ) The team has lost its last six games and the writing is definitely on the wall for the manager. (British, American & Australian)
See drive up the wall, hit a wall, nail to the wall
See also: on, 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


/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.