Definition of read the runes in English:

read the runes


  • Try to forecast the outcome of a situation by analysing all the significant factors involved.

    ‘the Chancellor read the runes and introduced additional tax measures’
    • ‘His admission that he is anticipating a third-term majority of 120 shows he has been reading the runes very closely indeed.’
    • ‘And, for as long as they prefer a conjuror's wand to a handset, they will have to go on reading the runes to detect much of an impact, for IT, on productivity.’
    • ‘But with a PC price war looming, the boys that billed themselves as the premier Linux PC hardware company read the runes, took a long lunch and bolted.’
    • ‘Politicians and diplomats on both sides have also been reading the runes, and while each side has claimed a victory of sorts there is little doubt the advantage has slipped Washington's way.’
    • ‘So reading the runes then, a Pearl phone, perhaps with some fancy imaging integrated, looks likely to take its place in the 8000 series.’
    • ‘The sport's soothsayers were reading the runes yesterday and decided that Silverstone is a ‘bogey’ circuit for him.’
    • ‘The MacTaggart Lecture is the opening event when a senior figure in broadcasting reads the runes.’
    • ‘He has read the runes of the times better than many of his critics, even if there can be arguments about his tactics and strategy.’
    • ‘Cautious in so many ways, Stalin trusted in his ability to read the runes of Hitler's intentions without discussing the evidence with anyone else.’
    • ‘Those who had been reading the runes over the past few months knew that the Executive was being worn down by the lobby groups.’