on the cards

Meaning(s)

1. something very likely to happen

Popularity

High

Professional

High

Social

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a promotion is on the cards

Check Icon Analysis

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.'

Check Icon Social Examples (Advance)

  1. Person A: "You have been with your girlfriend for quite a while now. Is marriage on the cards? Person B: "Not just yet, but someday, perhaps."
  2. The hiring market is not great right now. I don't know what's on the cards next for my career.

Check Icon Professional Examples (Advance)

  1. I'm not surprised that John got that promotion. It has been on the cards for a while now.
  2. The business has been struggling recently, but job cuts are not on the cards just yet.

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