Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To form (letters, words, or symbols) on a surface such as paper with an instrument such as a pen.
  • transitive v. To spell: How do you write your name?
  • transitive v. To form (letters or words) in cursive style.
  • transitive v. To compose and set down, especially in literary or musical form: write a poem; write a prelude.
  • transitive v. To draw up in legal form; draft: write a will.
  • transitive v. To fill in or cover with writing: write a check; wrote five pages in an hour.
  • transitive v. To express in writing; set down: write one's thoughts.
  • transitive v. To communicate by correspondence: wrote that she was planning to visit.
  • transitive v. To underwrite, as an insurance policy.
  • transitive v. To indicate; mark: "Utter dejection was written on every face” ( Winston S. Churchill).
  • transitive v. To ordain or prophesy: It was written that the empire would fall.
  • transitive v. Computer Science To transfer or copy (information) from memory to a storage device or output device.
  • intransitive v. To trace or form letters, words, or symbols on paper or another surface.
  • intransitive v. To produce written material, such as articles or books.
  • intransitive v. To compose a letter; communicate by mail.
  • write down To set down in writing.
  • write down To reduce in rank, value, or price.
  • write down To disparage in writing.
  • write down To write in a conspicuously simple or condescending style: felt he had to write down to his students.
  • write in To cast a vote by inserting (a name not listed on a ballot).
  • write in To insert in a text or document: wrote in an apology at the end of the note.
  • write in To communicate with an organization by mail: write in with a completed entry form.
  • write off To reduce to zero the book value of (an asset that has become worthless).
  • write off To cancel from accounts as a loss.
  • write off To consider as a loss or failure: wrote off the rainy first day of the vacation.
  • write out To express or compose in writing: write out a request.
  • write out To write in full or expanded form: All abbreviations are to be written out.
  • write up To write a report or description of, as for publication.
  • write up To bring (a journal, for example) up to date.
  • write up To overstate the value of (assets).
  • write up To report (someone) in writing, as for breaking the law. wrote him up for speeding.
  • idiom write (one's) own ticket To set one's own terms or course of action entirely according to one's own needs or wishes: an open-ended and generous scholarship that lets recipients write their own ticket.
  • idiom writ large Signified, expressed, or embodied in a greater or more prominent magnitude or degree: "The man was no more than the boy writ large” ( George Eliot).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To form letters, words or symbols on a surface in order to communicate.
  • v. To be the author of (a book, article, poem, etc.).
  • v. To send written information to.
  • v. To show (information, etc) in written form.
  • v. To be an author.
  • v. To record (data) mechanically or electronically.
  • v. To fill in, to complete using words.
  • n. The operation of storing data, as in memory or onto disk.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To form characters, letters, or figures, as representative of sounds or ideas; to express words and sentences by written signs.
  • intransitive v. To be regularly employed or occupied in writing, copying, or accounting; to act as clerk or amanuensis.
  • intransitive v. To frame or combine ideas, and express them in written words; to play the author; to recite or relate in books; to compose.
  • intransitive v. To compose or send letters.
  • transitive v. To set down, as legible characters; to form the conveyance of meaning; to inscribe on any material by a suitable instrument.
  • transitive v. To set down for reading; to express in legible or intelligible characters; to inscribe; ; hence, specifically, to set down in an epistle; to communicate by letter.
  • transitive v. Hence, to compose or produce, as an author.
  • transitive v. To impress durably; to imprint; to engrave.
  • transitive v. To make known by writing; to record; to prove by one's own written testimony; -- often used reflexively.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To trace or form upon the surface of some material (a significant character or characters, especially characters constituting or representing words); set down, in a manner adapted for reading, with a pen, pencil, style, or anything with which marks can be made; inscribe: as, to write a word on paper; to write one's name with the finger in sand.
  • To cover with writing; trace readable characters over the surface of.
  • To express or communicate in writing; give a written account of; make a record of, as something known, thought, or believed: as, to write one's observations; he wrote down all he could remember.
  • To set forth as an author, or produce in writing, either by one's own or another's hand; compose and produce as an author.
  • To designate by writing; style or entitle in writing; record: with an objective word or phrase.
  • To record; set down legibly; engrave.
  • To write in depreciation of; injure by writing against: as, to write down a play or a financial undertaking; to write down an actor or a candidate.
  • To exhaust the capacity or resources of by excessive writing: used refiexively: as, that author has written himself out.
  • To attempt to elevate in estimation or credit by favorable writing; commend to the public; puff: as, to write up a new play or a candidate.
  • To be acquainted with or practise the art of writing; engage in the formation of written words or characters, either occasionally or as an occupation: as, to write in school; to write as a lawyer's clerk.
  • To express ideas in writing; practise written composition; work as an author, or engage in authorship.
  • To conduct epistolary correspondence; communicate by means of letter-writing; convey information by letter or the like: as, to write to a distant friend; write as soon as you arrive.
  • n. Writing: chiefly in the phrase hand of write.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. communicate by letter
  • v. produce a literary work
  • v. create code, write a computer program
  • v. have (one's written work) issued for publication
  • v. mark or trace on a surface
  • v. write or name the letters that comprise the conventionally accepted form of (a word or part of a word)
  • v. communicate (with) in writing
  • v. record data on a computer
  • v. write music
  • v. communicate or express by writing

Etymologies

Middle English writen, from Old English wrītan.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English writen, from Old English wrītan ("to incise, engrave, write, draw, bestow by writing"), from Proto-Germanic *wrītanan (“to carve, write”), from Proto-Indo-European *wrey- (“to rip, tear”). Cognate with West Frisian write ("to wear by rubbing, rip, tear"), Dutch wrijten ("to argue, quarrel"), Dutch rijten ("to rip, tear"), Low German wrieten, rieten ("to tear, split"), German reißen ("to tear, rip"), Swedish rita ("to draw, design, delineate, model"), Icelandic ríta ("to cut, scratch, write"), German ritzen ("to carve, scratch"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • *pats eyes*

    Thanks, mollusque, but I'm afraid it's also seared into my brain. Oh, the humanity.

    December 6, 2009

  • Modern day abacination! *Throws reesetee wet cloth*

    December 5, 2009

  • AAAGH! *eyes seared*

    December 5, 2009

  • I like the snow beaver one.

    December 4, 2009

  • The results of Slate.com's "Write Like Sarah Palin" contest. (My favorite is the runner-up by Kaylyn Munro. Can't believe that one didn't take the prize.)

    December 4, 2009

  • 'I'm just going to write because I cannot help it.' -Charlotte Bronte

    February 20, 2008