read the runes

(redirected from reading the runes)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.

read the runes

To analyze current trends to predict what will happen in the future, likened to fortune telling. In this phrase, runes are esoteric, letter-like symbols associated with magic. Primarily heard in UK. All the social media companies are trying to read the runes to see what the next big thing will be, but most trends are impossible to predict.
See also: read

read the runes

BRITISH, LITERARY
If you read the runes, you decide what is likely to happen in the future by considering what is happening now. Back in 1989, he was the first of the east European leaders to read the runes and make the jump from communism to nationalism. Note: Runes were an alphabet used in northern Europe until medieval times. The letters were often thought to have magical properties.
See also: read

read the runes

try to forecast the outcome of a situation by analysing all the significant factors involved. British
The runes were an ancient Germanic alphabet once used in northern Europe, each character of which was supposed to have a secret magical significance. Small stones and pieces of bone engraved with these characters were used to try to foretell the future.
See also: read
References in periodicals archive ?
The young Korka's distinguishing feature, however, is her talent for reading the runes.
Reading the runes on my return, it seems more that a dose of realism has returned to the market, than any change in the underlying situation has taken place.
To those accustomed to reading the runes of the Chancellor's comments this was his covert way of expressing that these quangos should be democratically responsible.