the (hand)writing on the wall(redirected from The handwriting on the wall)
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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.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
writing on the wall, the
A presentiment or prediction of disaster. The term comes from the Bible (Daniel 5:5–31). During a great feast held by King Belshazzar, a mysterious hand appears and writes some words on the wall. Daniel is called to interpret this message and tells the king it is a sign of his coming downfall. Later that night Belshazzar is killed and Darius of Persia takes over his kingdom. The term is sometimes put as handwriting on the wall.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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.
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price