"On the horizon" - Idiom/phrase

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Hello2007, Aug 26, 2007.

  1. Hello2007 New Member

    US English
    Can anyone tell me what this phrase means? For example, if there is good news on the horizon, what does it mean? Soon? About to? Does it imply something more than just a time frame of when something will happen - such as "it is also something that has been expected for a long time"?
     
  2. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    If something is "on the horizon", it is visible. Therefore, news on the horizon are perceptible but not yet upon us.
     
  3. nichec

    nichec Senior Member

    Chinese(Taiwan)/English(AE)
    Doesn't the Sun appear on the horizon before it rises?

    I suspect this is where the meaning comes from.

    When something good is on the horizon, it means it's about to rise.
     
  4. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    New York
    USA - English
    I would suspect that this term comes from nautical use. Because of the curvature of the earth, you first become aware of the approach of another ship when its sails are seen on the horizon, before you even see the hull. In the same way, mountains or tall landmarks may be seen on the horizon before one makes out the shore itself.
     
  5. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    Excellent explanation, though horizon is equally applicable to the land or to the sea.

    There's a lot of excellent information on the WR entry:
    http://www.wordreference.com/definition/horizon
     
  6. river Senior Member

    U.S. English
    On the horizon can mean 1."visible where the sky meets the land or sea" as in "storm clouds on the horizon" or 2. "soon to happen" as if what is on the horizon is heading toward us: There are exciting changes on the horizon.
     

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