straw in the wind


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straw in the wind

A minor event or action that predicts or foreshadows a future event. His negative remark about marriage was a straw in the wind that suggested he was headed for a divorce. Bill didn't get the promotion and, looking back, I think his very public argument with the boss was a straw in the wind.
See also: straw, wind
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

straw in the wind

A slight hint of the future, as in The public unrest is a straw in the wind indicating future problems for the regime. This expression alludes to a straw showing in what direction the wind blows, an observation also behind the idiom straw vote.
See also: straw, wind
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.

a straw in the wind

BRITISH, JOURNALISM
If an event is a straw in the wind, it is a sign of the way in which a situation may develop. There is some evidence that the economy is starting to climb out of recession. The latest straw in the wind is a pick-up in sales among the nation's retail giants. These were straws in the wind, a foretaste of what was to come. Note: People sometimes drop pieces of straw in order to see which way they move as they fall, so that they can tell which way the wind is blowing.
See also: straw, wind
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

a straw in the wind

a slight but significant hint of future developments.
See also: straw, wind
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

a straw in the ˈwind

(British English) an unimportant incident or piece of information which shows you what might happen in the future: Journalists are always looking for straws in the wind.
See also: straw, wind
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

straw in the wind

A slight hint of something to come.
See also: straw, wind
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

straw(s) in the wind

A clue or test of public opinion or some other matter; fragmentary evidence. This term draws the analogy between blowing straws that indicate the wind’s direction and a test of some other issue. The idea, with slightly different wording, appears in print from the mid-seventeenth century on. “Take a straw and throw it up into the Air, you shall see by that which way the wind is,” wrote John Selden (Table-Talk: Libels, ca. 1654). A related term is straw vote or straw poll, an unofficial tally to show people’s views on an issue or candidate. O. Henry made fun of the idea in A Ruler of Men (1907): “A straw vote only shows which way the hot air blows.”
See also: wind
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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