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write definition


This page has 16 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 23 related words and terms: transitive, intransitive, relative clause, computing, to, reads, fill in, complete, impress, durably, imprint, engrave, finance, sell, option, derivative, memory, disk, writen, rip, tear, painful, and sting.

English write definition


From Middle English writen, from Old English wrītan (to incise, engrave, write, draw, bestow by writing), 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 16832619:
      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.
  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.
  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[1]:
      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
    • Durably definition
      In a durable manner.
    • Imprint definition
      An impression; the mark left behind by printing something. (1 of 3 imprint definitions)
    • Engrave definition
      To carve text or symbols into (something), usually for the purposes of identification or art. (1 of 2 engrave definitions)
  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).



Derived terms

Related terms


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. 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
    • Tear definition
      To rend (a solid material) by holding or restraining in two places and pulling apart, whether intentionally or not; to destroy or separate. (1 of 9 tear definitions)
  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
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