ship to come in, wait for one's

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ship to come in, wait for one's

Wait for one’s fortune to be made. Also put as when my ship comes in, both expressions allude to the sixteenth-century merchant ship returning home, laden with rich cargo and thus enriching the owners. Shakespeare referred to such ships in The Merchant of Venice. The terms began to be used figuratively during the 1800s and long survived the decline of merchant shipping, but they are heard less often today and may be dying out. “Perhaps we may manage it some time. When our ship comes in,” wrote Miss Mulock (John Halifax, 1857). Erskine Caldwell also used it several times in God’s Little Acre (1933), as in, “I’ll know doggone well [when] my ship has come in.”
See also: come, ship, wait