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[rit-n] /ˈrɪt n/
a past participle of write.
expressed in writing (distinguished from spoken).
Related forms
half-written, adjective
prewritten, adjective
self-written, adjective
well-written, adjective
Can be confused
aural, oral, verbal, written (see usage note at verbal)


[rahyt] /raɪt/
verb (used with object), wrote or (Archaic) writ; written or (Archaic) writ; writing.
to trace or form (characters, letters, words, etc.) on the surface of some material, as with a pen, pencil, or other instrument or means; inscribe:
Write your name on the board.
to express or communicate in writing; give a written account of.
to fill in the blank spaces of (a printed form) with writing:
to write a check.
to execute or produce by setting down words, figures, etc.:
to write two copies of a letter.
to compose and produce in words or characters duly set down:
to write a letter to a friend.
to produce as author or composer:
to write a sonnet; to write a symphony.
to trace significant characters on, or mark or cover with writing.
to cause to be apparent or unmistakable:
Honesty is written on his face.
Computers. to transfer (information, data, programs, etc.) from storage to secondary storage or an output medium.
Stock Exchange. to sell (options).
to underwrite.
verb (used without object), wrote or (Archaic) writ; written or (Archaic) writ; writing.
to trace or form characters, words, etc., with a pen, pencil, or other instrument or means, or as a pen or the like does:
He writes with a pen.
to write as a profession or occupation: She writes for the Daily Inquirer.
to express ideas in writing.
to write a letter or letters, or communicate by letter:
Write if you get work.
to compose or work as a writer or author.
Computers. to write into a secondary storage device or output medium.
Verb phrases
write down,
  1. to set down in writing; record; note.
  2. to direct one's writing to a less intelligent reader or audience:
    He writes down to the public.
write in,
  1. to vote for (a candidate not listed on the ballot) by writing his or her name on the ballot.
  2. to include in or add to a text by writing:
    Do not write in corrections on the galley.
  3. to request something by mail:
    If interested, please write in for details.
write off,
  1. to cancel an entry in an account, as an unpaid and uncollectable debt.
  2. to regard as worthless, lost, obsolete, etc.; decide to forget:
    to write off their bad experience.
  3. to amortize:
    The new equipment was written off in three years.
write out,
  1. to put into writing.
  2. to write in full form; state completely.
  3. to exhaust the capacity or resources of by excessive writing:
    He's just another author who has written himself out.
write up,
  1. to put into writing, especially in full detail:
    Write up a report.
  2. to present to public notice in a written description or account.
  3. Accounting. to make an excessive valuation of (an asset).
before 900; Middle English writen, Old English wrītan; cognate with Old Saxon wrītan to cut, write, German reissen to tear, draw, Old Norse rīta to score, write
Related forms
miswrite, verb (used with object), miswrote, miswritten, miswriting.
Can be confused
right, rite, wright, write.
6. compose, pen, author, draft, create. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for written
  • He has written a deeply romantic and pessimistic book.
  • The methodology varies from company to company, but the process generally begins with a written proposal.
  • The main reason for anonymity, however, is a belief that what is written is more important than who writes it.
  • It is written with great respect for these people and with an understanding that acknowledges its limits.
  • Thanks to fiber optics, the future of communications will be written in lines of light.
  • Great article, full of interesting stories, nicely written.
  • He's written on a number of different tech topics, from startups to social media.
  • And now he has written a book about making staff meals.
  • Most academics don't present hastily written papers.
  • The fact that these are written messages is a distraction for the unwary.
British Dictionary definitions for written


the past participle of write
taken down in writing; transcribed written evidence, the written word Compare spoken (sense 2)


verb writes, writing, wrote, written
to draw or mark (symbols, words, etc) on a surface, usually paper, with a pen, pencil, or other instrument
to describe or record (ideas, experiences, etc) in writing
to compose (a letter) to or correspond regularly with (a person, organization, etc)
(transitive; may take a clause as object) to say or communicate by letter he wrote that he was on his way
(transitive) (informal, mainly US & Canadian) to send a letter to (a person, etc)
to write (words) in cursive as opposed to printed style
(transitive) to be sufficiently familiar with (a specified style, language, etc) to use it in writing
to be the author or composer of (books, music, etc)
(transitive) to fill in the details for (a document, form, etc)
(transitive) to draw up or draft
(transitive) to produce by writing he wrote ten pages
(transitive) to show clearly envy was written all over his face
(transitive) to spell, inscribe, or entitle
(transitive) to ordain or prophesy it is written
(transitive) to sit (an examination)
(intransitive) to produce writing as specified
(computing) to record (data) in a location in a storage device Compare read1 (sense 16)
(transitive) Compare underwrite (sense 3a)
Derived Forms
writable, adjective
Word Origin
Old English wrītan (originally: to scratch runes into bark); related to Old Frisian wrīta, Old Norse rīta, Old High German rīzan (German reissen to tear)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for written
O.E. writan "to score, outline, draw the figure of," later "to set down in writing" (class I strong verb; past tense wrat, pp. writen), from P.Gmc. *writanan "tear, scratch" (cf. O.Fris. writa "to write," O.S. writan "to tear, scratch, write," O.N. rita "write, scratch, outline," O.H.G. rizan "to write, 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.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with written
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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