Read the writing on the wall

Idiom

Read the writing on the wall

Definition

To recognize signs and indications that something bad is about to happen.

Examples

We need to read the writing on the wall and start cutting costs before we get into trouble.

The layoffs in the industry were a clear sign that we needed to read the writing on the wall.

If you can read the writing on the wall, you can make sure you’re prepared for the future.

Origin

The origin of this phrase is from the Bible, in which the writing on the wall foretold the downfall of King Belshazzar of Babylon.

FAQs

question

What does ‘read the writing on the wall’ mean?

answer

It means to recognize signs and indications that something bad is about to happen.

question

Where does the phrase come from?

answer

The phrase comes from the Bible, in which the writing on the wall foretold the downfall of King Belshazzar of Babylon.