Dictionary.com

the handwriting on the wall

Save This Word!

A phrase recalling an Old Testament story about Daniel. While a king was holding the Jews (see also Jews) captive in the foreign land of Babylon (see also Babylon), in the sixth century b.c., a mysterious hand appeared, writing on the wall of the king's palace. The king called upon Daniel, who interpreted it to mean that God intended the king and his kingdom to fall. The king was slain that night.

QUIZ
ARE YOU A TRUE BLUE CHAMPION OF THESE "BLUE" SYNONYMS?
We could talk until we're blue in the face about this quiz on words for the color "blue," but we think you should take the quiz and find out if you're a whiz at these colorful terms.
Question 1 of 8
Which of the following words describes “sky blue”?
Meet Grammar CoachWrite or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar helpImprove Your Writing
Meet Grammar CoachImprove Your Writing
Write or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar help

notes for the handwriting on the wall

Figuratively, the expression means that some misfortune is impending: “His firing came as no surprise; he'd seen the handwriting on the wall months before.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

How to use the handwriting on the wall in a sentence

FEEDBACK