in/on the cards

Randy Alexander strangeguitars at GMAIL.COM
Wed Dec 30 08:28:39 UTC 2009

A British friend just said "I've looked into licensing it, but that
doesn't seem to be on the cards."

I've never heard "on the cards" before, but he found this:

Likely or certain to happen, as in "I don't think Jim will win,
it's just not in the cards." This term, originally put as *on the cards*,
alludes to the cards used in fortune-telling. [Early 1800s]
The American HeritageĀ® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright Ā© 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.

Any thoughts, or more specific references?

Randy Alexander
Jilin City, China
Manchu studies:
Chinese characters:

The American Dialect Society -

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