1. something very likely to happen
a promotion is on the cards
This idiom references the use of tarot cards in fortune-telling to predict the future. Figuratively, therefore, if something is 'meant' to be or thought to be 'destined' to happen, you can say that it is 'on the cards.' The variation 'in the cards' is more common in American English. This expression is frequently used when talking about possibilities or prospects in both a social and professional context, and shares a similar meaning to the phrases 'in the offing,' and 'bound to happen.'