The big red dictionary gives two interesting examples:
"A noticeable trend away from narrow "laws of learning'": (Gertrude Hildreth)
"The prevailing wind trends east-northeast."
"I made a big crockpot full and the leftovers are inescapable."
So, yes, society keeps sending us with the same unacceptable presidential candidates, poorly behaved professional athletes, exotic illnesses, uncomfortable shoes, sinus headaches, ineffective educational testing, and historic weather histrionics in our sack lunches everyday along with the BBQ chicken sandwiches. The leftover chicken sandwiches are the best in the lot, and a couple dill pickle slices help.
We don't need to figure out which way the wind is blowing to know what's going on. Everywhere we turn we are bombarded with what's "trending" until we have no will left to fight against the gale. The commentators prattle on with all the insight of Rosencrantz and Guidenstern:
ROS: I merely suggest that the position of the sun, if it is out, would give you a rough idea of the time; alternatively, the clock, if it is going, would give you a rough idea of the position of the sun. I forget which you're trying to establish.
GUIL: I'm trying to establish the direction of the wind.
ROS: There isn't any wind. Draught, yes.
GUIL: In that case, the origin. Trace it to its source and it might give us a rough idea of the way we came in – which might give us a rough idea of south, for further reference. (2.52-55 Stoppard)
The figurative sense of 'the way the wind blows', that is, meaning the tide of opinion, was in use by the early 19th century. In November 1819, The Times published an advert for a forthcoming book - The Political House that Jack Built, which was said to be "A straw - thrown up to show which way the wind blows".
Bob Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues, 1965, encouraged the young to make their own decisions with the lines:
Once I finish digging out the information about the "Tri-Trend" house where I grew up, I plan to go back to watching Audrey Hepburn movies. There are many, and I've only just started!You don't need a weather man
To know which way the wind blows
© 2013-2016 Nancy L. Ruder