scratch, tear," Ger. reißen "to tear, pull, tug, sketch, draw, design"), outside connections doubtful. Words for "write" in most I.E languages originally mean "carve, scratch, cut" (cf. L. scribere, Gk. grapho, Skt. rikh-); a few originally meant "paint" (cf. Goth. meljan, O.C.S. pisati, and most of the modern Slavic cognates).
"For men use to write an evill turne in marble stone, but a good turne in the dust." [More, 1513]
To write (something) off (1682) originally was from accounting; fig. sense is recorded from 1889. Write-in "unlisted candidate" is recorded from 1932.