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handwriting

[hand-rahy-ting]
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noun
  1. writing done with a pen or pencil in the hand; script.
  2. a style or manner of writing by hand, especially that which characterizes a particular person; penmanship: an eccentric handwriting.
  3. a handwritten document; manuscript.
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Idioms
  1. handwriting on the wall, a premonition, portent, or clear indication, especially of failure or disaster: The company had ignored the handwriting on the wall and was plunged into bankruptcy.Also writing on the wall.
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Origin of handwriting

1375–1425; late Middle English hand writyng; see hand + writing
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

warningforewarninginevitability

British Dictionary definitions for handwriting on the wall

handwriting

noun
  1. writing by hand rather than by typing or printing
  2. a person's characteristic writing stylethat signature is in my handwriting
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for handwriting on the wall

handwriting

n.

c.1500, from hand (n.) + writing, translating Latin manuscriptum. Hand in the sense of "handwriting, style of writing" is from late 14c.

An ordinary note in his [Horace Greeley's] handwriting is said to have been used for a long time as a railroad pass, then as a servant's recommendation, and finally taken to a drug-store as a doctor's prescription. ["Frank Leslie's Magazine," August 1884]
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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with handwriting on the wall

handwriting on the wall

Also, writing on the wall. A warning or presentiment of danger, as in The company was losing money, and seeing the handwriting on the wall, she started to look for another job. This expression comes from the Bible (Daniel 5:5–31), 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.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.