in the offing


[aw-fing, of-ing]
the more distant part of the sea seen from the shore, beyond the anchoring ground.
a position at a distance from shore.
in the offing,
at a distance but within sight.
in the projected future; likely to happen: A wedding is in the offing.

1620–30; off + -ing1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
offing (ˈɒfɪŋ)
1.  the part of the sea that can be seen from the shore
2.  in the offing likely to occur soon

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

in phrase in the offing, 1779, from nautical term offing "the more distant part of the sea as seen from the shore" (1627), from off (q.v.) + noun suffix -ing. Originally the phrase meant "in the distant future," modern sense of "impending" developed 1914.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

in the offing

In the near or immediate future; soon to come. For example, Jan was delighted that exams were finished and graduation was in the offing. This expression originally meant "in the part of the ocean visible between shore and horizon"; its figurative use dates from the late 1700s. Also see in the wind.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Idioms & Phrases
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