in the offing

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English[edit]

Adjective[edit]

in the offing (not comparable)

  1. (literally of a ship, landmass, etc.) Within the area of the sea known as the offing; at a considerable distance from land, but visible from shore, often in reference to an approaching ship.
    They could see that the ship was waiting in the offing.
    There were several small islands in the offing.
  2. (idiomatic) Soon to come; likely to happen; in the foreseeable future; projected to occur; on the horizon; in the wind.
    • 1850, Sylvester Breakmore Beckett, The Portland Reference Book and City Directory, Google Books
      We have known wives to forget that they had husbands…, especially when they supposed that a tax bill or a notification to do military duty might be in the offing!
  3. (idiomatic) At a distance, but visible.
    • 1919: P. G. Wodehouse, My Man Jeeves
      The moment I saw the man standing there, registering respectful attention, a weight seemed to roll off my mind. I felt like a lost child who spots his father in the offing. There was something about him that gave me confidence.

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