Language: Old English
Origin: writan 'to scratch, draw, write'


write S1 W1 past tense wrote, past participle written

book/article/poem etc

a) [intransitive and transitive] to produce a new book, article, poem etc:
He wrote some very famous books.
Who wrote 'Harry Potter'?
I can't come with you - I have an essay to write.
write about
O'Brien often writes about her native Ireland.
well/badly/poorly etc written
The article is very well written.
b) [intransitive] someone who writes earns money by writing books, plays, articles etc:
Sean decided he wanted to write, and quit his job.
write for
Maureen Dowd writes for the New York Times.


[intransitive and transitive] to write a letter to someone
write to
I've written to my MP, and to the city council.
write somebody American English
Chris hasn't written me for a long time.
I wrote her several letters, but she didn't reply.

form words

[intransitive and transitive] to form letters or numbers with a pen or pencil:
Kerry could read and write when she was five.

state something

[transitive] to state something in a book, letter, advertisement etc, or on a label
write (that)
Isabella wrote that she was dying, and asked him to visit her for the last time.
be written on something
The price is written on the label.


[transitive] to write a piece of music or a song:
Mozart wrote the music.
The song was originally written by Leonard Cohen.

computer program

[transitive] to make a program for a computer to use:
He writes software programs for financial institutions.

a computer records something

[intransitive and transitive] if a computer writes something, it records it on a disk or in its memory
write to/onto
data that had been written to disk

cheque/document etc

also write out [transitive] to write information on a cheque, form etc:
Wouldn't it be easier if I just wrote a cheque for the lot?
The doctor wrote me a prescription for sleeping pills.


[intransitive] if a pen writes, it works properly:
Do any of these pens write?

have something/be written all over your face

to show very clearly what you are feeling or thinking:
He had guilt written all over his face.
I know you're lying, Tyrell - it's written all over your face.

have something written all over it

to show a particular quality or fact very clearly:
This awful film has 'career-killer' written all over it for the actors involved.

nothing to write home about

informal not particularly good or special:
The hotel was good, but the food was nothing to write home about.

somebody wrote the book on something

spoken used to say that someone knows a lot about a subject or is very good at an activity:
Motorola wrote the book on quality control.

that's all she wrote

American English spoken used to mean that you cannot stop what happens next in a situation, especially when it is bad
quickly: jot down, dash off

in a way that is difficult to read: scribble, scrawl

write information on an official form: fill in/fill out

write a word correctly: spell

start to write: put pen to paper

write away for something

phrasal verb
to write a letter to a company or organization asking them to send you goods or information:
I've written away for their free catalog.

write back

phrasal verb
to reply to a letter that someone sent you, by writing a letter to them:
I sent them a card once, but they never wrote back.
write back to
I wrote back to them immediately, thanking them for their kind invitation.

write something ↔ down

phrasal verb
1 to write something on a piece of paper:
This is the address. Do you want to write it down?
2 to officially say that a debt no longer has to be paid, or officially accept that you cannot get back money you have spent or lost [= write off]

write in

phrasal verb
1 to write a letter to an organization to give an opinion, ask for information etc:
If you would like a copy of our fact sheet, please write in, enclosing a stamped addressed envelope.
write in to
And so I wrote in to Radio Brighton.

write something ↔ in

to write a piece of information in the space provided for it on a form or document:
Provide some space for students to write in their hobbies.

write somebody ↔ in

American EnglishPPV to add someone's name to the official list on your voting form, to show that you want to vote for them:
The campaign to write in Johnson for governor failed.

write something into something

phrasal verb
to add or include something in a contract, agreement etc:
It was written into his contract that he had to make two records a year.

write off

phrasal verb
1 to write a letter to a company or organization asking them to send you goods or information [= send off, write away]
write off for
Are you going to write off for that free poster?

write somebody/something ↔ off

to decide that someone or something is useless, unimportant, or a failure [= dismiss]
write somebody/something ↔ off as
After six months of work, we eventually wrote the project off as a non-starter.

write something ↔ off

BF to officially say that a debt no longer has to be paid, or officially accept that you cannot get back money you have spent or lost:
The United States agreed to write off debts worth billions of dollars.
The Inland Revenue wrote off £900 million in unpaid taxes.

write something ↔ off

to make an official record of the amount of money that you have spent on things relating to your business, in order to reduce the amount of tax that you have to pay
write something ↔ off against
The costs of setting up a business can be written off against tax.

write something ↔ off

British EnglishTTC to damage a vehicle so badly that it can never be used again:
At thirteen he stole a car and wrote it off.

write somebody/something ↔ out

phrasal verb
1 to write something on paper, especially in a neat and clear way, including all the necessary details:
The children were asked to choose their favourite poem and write it out in their best handwriting.
2 to write information on a cheque or a form:
She calmly wrote out a check for $500 and handed it to Will.
3 to remove a character from a regular radio or television programme, by making him or her leave or die in the story
write somebody/something ↔ out of
It was revealed last week that Alma is being written out of the series.

write something ↔ up

phrasal verb
1 to write a report, article etc using notes that you made earlier:
I have to write up my report before the meeting.
2 to write something on a wall, board etc where people can see it:
The teacher repeated the word, and then wrote it up on the blackboard.

be written up

if something is written up in a newspaper, magazine etc, someone describes what it is like and gives their opinion of it:
We're going to a Spanish restaurant that was written up in Time Out's good food guide.

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