Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “the writing is on the wall”

the writing is on the wall

(US also the handwriting is on the wall)
said to mean that there are clear signs that something will fail or no longer existFailing and doing badlyPredicting things and intuition
(Definition of the writing is on the wall from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Browse related topics

You are looking at an entry to do with Predicting things and intuition, but you might be interested in these topics from the Thinking about the future topic area:

Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Translations of “the writing is on the wall”

Word of the Day

microbrewery

a small company that makes beer, usually using traditional methods, and often has a restaurant where its beer is served

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More