straw in the wind

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straw in the wind (plural straws in the wind)

  1. Premonitory sign.
    • 1913, Jack London, John Barleycorn, chapter 29
      There were little hints then that I did not take, little straws in the wind that I did not see, little incidents the gravity of which I did not realise.
    • 1950, The Crisis, page 647
      [...] and the decision of the United States Supreme Court virtually commanding the Florida Supreme Court to reverse its ruling banning Negroes from playing on a city-owned golf course in Miami are straws in the wind showing that segregation is becoming more and more unworkable.

Usage notes[edit]

Used predominantly in a plural form.