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Idioms

the writing | handwriting is on the wall

This page is about the idiom the writing | handwriting is on the wall

Meaning

If the writing is on the wall, or the handwriting is on the wall, there are signs that a person or organization is in trouble and might soon fail.

For example

  • The writing has been on the wall for this government ever since the street protests and demonstrations against it first began.

  • Their old quarterback was occasionally dropped from the team early in the season, so the handwriting was on the wall even then.

Note:
"The writing is on the wall" is more common in British and Australian English, while "the handwriting is on the wall" is more common in American English.

Quick Quiz

The writing had been on the wall for a few months, so no-one was surprised when the restaurant

a. finally closed down

b. closed for renovations

c. opened a second branch

Idiom of the Day

Contributor: Matt Errey