the writing 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.
See also: on, wall
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, 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.
See also: on, wall, writing
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.
See also: on, writing
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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