in the offing

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Prepositional phrase[edit]

in the offing

  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!
    • 2014 August 8, Rupert Christiansen, “The truth about falsettos [print version: 12 August 2014, p. R8]”, in The Daily Telegraph (Review)[1]:
      He [countertenor Anthony Roth Constanzo] also enjoys being the catalyst whereby opera fertilises other art forms: recently, he's collaborated with Japanese kabuki actors, and a project with dancers from New York City Ballet is 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.


See also[edit]