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write definition


This page has 17 definitions of write in English, Middle English, and Western Frisian. Write is a verb and noun. Examples of how to use write in a sentence are shown. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .

English write definition


From Middle English writen, from Old English wrītan, from Proto-West Germanic *wrītan, from Proto-Germanic *wrītaną (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), Middle Low German wrîten (to scratch, draw, write) (> Low German wrieten, rieten (to tear, split)), German reißen (to tear, rip), Norwegian rita (to rough-sketch, carve, write), Swedish rita (to draw, design, delineate, model), Icelandic rita (to cut, scratch, write), German ritzen (to carve, scratch), Proto-Slavic *ryti (to carve, engrave, dig), Polish ryć (to engrave, dig), Czech rýt (to engrave, dig). See also rit and rat.


A painting of a man writing.


write (third-person singular simple present writes, present participle writing, simple past wrote or (archaic) writ, past participle written or (archaic) writ or (obsolete) ywriten)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To form letters, words or symbols on a surface in order to communicate.
    The pupil wrote his name on the paper.
    Your son has been writing on the wall.
  2. (transitive) To be the author of (a book, article, poem, etc.).
    My uncle writes newspaper articles for The Herald.
    • 1892, Walter Besant, “Prologue: Who is Edmund Gray?”, in The Ivory Gate [], New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, [], →OCLC:
      Thus, when he drew up instructions in lawyer language []; his clerks, however, understood him very well. If he had written a love letter, or a farce, or a ballade, or a story, no one, either clerks, or friends, or compositors, would have understood anything but a word here and a word there.
    • 1964, Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast, New York, N.Y.: Charles Scribner’s Sons, →OCLC, page 151:
      Since I had started to break down all my writing and get rid of all facility and try to make instead of describe, writing had been wonderful to do. But it was very difficult, and I did not know how I would ever write anything as long as a novel. It often took me a full morning of work to write a paragraph.
  3. (transitive) To send written information to.
    (UK) Please write to me when you get there.
    (US) Please write me when you get there.
  4. (transitive) To show (information, etc) in written form.
    The due day of the homework is written in the syllabus.
    • 1957 September 30, “Ghana: White Eminence”, in Time[1], New York, N.Y.: Time Inc., →ISSN, →OCLC, archived from the original on 19 October 2011:
      Ghana's motto, writ large on the gleaming white Independence Arch that overlooks the Atlantic in Accra, is "Freedom and Justice."
    • 1959 August, K. Hoole, “The Middlesbrough–Newcastle Route of the N.E.R.”, in Trains Illustrated, London: Ian Allan Publishing, →ISSN, →OCLC, page 359:
      The route passes over low-lying land, the only item of note being the Cerebos salt works at Greatham, where one may catch a glimpse of the smart black diesel locomotive emblazoned with the firm's name writ large.
  5. (ditransitive with relative clause) To convey a fact to someone via writing.
    Jimmy wrote me that he needs more money.
    • 1916 March 11, “[advertisement] Jim Henry, Optimist”, in Saturday Evening Post[2]:
      Do you know, one man actually wrote me he thought he could almost shave with the back of the blade, the lather "mellowed" his beard so.
  6. (intransitive) To be an author.
    I write for a living.
  7. (computing, intransitive, with to) To record data mechanically or electronically.
    The computer writes to the disk faster than it reads from it.
  8. (transitive, South Africa, Canada, of an exam, a document, etc.) To fill in, to complete using words.
    I was very anxious to know my score after I wrote the test.
  9. To impress durably; to imprint; to engrave.
    truth written on the heart
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], →OCLC, Romans 2:14–15:
      14 For when the Gentiles which haue not the Law, doe by nature the things contained in the Law: these hauing not the Law, are a Law vnto themselues,
      15 Which shew the worke of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witnesse, and their thoughts the meane while accusing, or else excusing one another:
  10. To make known by writing; to record; to prove by one's own written testimony; often used reflexively.
  11. (finance) To sell (an option or other derivative).
  12. (chiefly Eastern Orthodoxy) To paint a religious icon.




Derived terms

Related terms


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Dictionary:Entry layout § Translations.


write (plural writes)

  1. The act or style of writing.
    • 1938, The Bankers Monthly, volume 55, page 591:
      The pen also gives a better write than the ordinary counter pen. The ink stand cannot be stolen, for it is fastened to the counter or desk.
  2. (computing) The operation of storing data, as in memory or onto disk.
    How many writes per second can this hard disk handle?
    • 2006, MySQL administrator's guide and language reference, page 393:
      In other words, the system can do 1200 reads per second with no writes, the average write is twice as slow as the average read, and the relationship is linear.

Derived terms



Middle English write definition



  1. Alternative form of writen

West Frisian write definition


From Old Frisian wrīta, from Proto-Germanic *wrītaną. Cognate with English write, Dutch wrijten.




  1. to rip, to tear
  2. to be painful, to sting


Strong class 1
infinitive write
3rd singular past wriet
past participle writen
infinitive write
long infinitive writen
gerund writen n
auxiliary hawwe
indicative present tense past tense
1st singular wryt wriet
2nd singular wrytst wrietst
3rd singular wryt wriet
plural write wrieten
imperative wryt
participles writend writen

Further reading

write”, in Wurdboek fan de Fryske taal (in Dutch), 2011