to read the handwriting on the wall

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - read the handwriting on the wall

"to read the handwriting on the wall"

to predict (by understanding clues and references) that something is about to happen


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - read the handwriting on the wall

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1:  Time to start looking for a new job.

Colleague 2:  Why?  What is happening?

Colleague 1:  Can't you read the handwriting on the wall? The CEO has been replaced three times in the last year. Sales are down and the factory has cut back a shift.

Colleague 2:  So?

Colleague 1:  So, it doesn't take a lot to predict that the company is going to shut down.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - read the handwriting on the wall

Two friends are talking ...

Friend 1:  Are you ready for the rent to go up on your apartment?

Friend 2:  Why should it?

Friend 1:  It doesn't take a crystal ball to read the handwriting on the wall? The neighborhood is improving. A new bistro opened just last week. Your landlord is doing all sorts of renovations. In fact, this building may even be converted into condominiums.

Friend 2:  Maybe I should start looking for a new place to live.

Friend 1:  That might be a good idea.

to read the handwriting on the wall - Usage:


to read the handwriting on the wall - Gerund Form:

Reading the handwriting on the wall, the man started looking for a new job.

to read the handwriting on the wall - Examples:

1)  ... and Independence is blowing across the globe. India must read the handwriting on the wall and resolve the Kashmir conflict.

2)  ... or a number of others who don't read the handwriting on the wall and continue to reject what the grassroots are telling them, are going to lose ...

3)  Within 12 months, she could read the handwriting on the wall. She describes an atmosphere of building "humiliation" and "resentment" within ...

4)  People could read the handwriting on the wall when retired teachers weren't replaced because there were fewer and fewer kids to teach.

5)  I'm not often prescient, but even I could read the handwriting on the wall.

6)  ... well before Spotify came to prominence. Apple could clearly read the handwriting on the wall, and that Lala's offering had the potential to eat into its then-dominant iTunes ...

7)  ... is supposed to look like, that we can't read the handwriting on the wall. Instead we ignore the signs, treat our relationships as a second job and ...

8)  I was with the railways in 1992 and I could read the handwriting on the wall, so I came over here to the power stations.

9)  ... even he is starting to read the handwriting on the wall. Society is changing quickly and anybody who gets in the way is ...

10)  We could read the handwriting on the wall so it wasn't a complete shock.

11)  ... the government was unhappy with him. Perhaps he read the handwriting on the wall and chose to withdraw his candidature so that his self-esteem was not hurt.

12)  ... the financial crisis. Not Grice, though. He read the handwriting on the wall. He saw that trust was breaking down.

13)  ... and at that point I read the handwriting on the wall but I didn't want to believe it.

14)  We lived in Nunavut and loved it but read the handwriting on the wall and for many reasons we left (not angry or upset) but for survival ...

15)  When we read the handwriting on the wall that government cuts were coming, we decided to go the route of becoming a ...

16)  ... as the mining boom ends, smart restaurateurs have read the handwriting on the wall and lowering the price of items on their menus.

17)  Some oilies have read the handwriting on the wall and are investing in green technologies.

18)  Most candidates would have read the handwriting on the wall and gone home.

19)  Some Indian shops have read the handwriting on the wall. They are hiring people with analytic skill sets, acquiring digitally driven shops and ...

20)  Even the egg industry has read the handwriting on the wall and is gearing up for change.