Last modified on 22 May 2014, at 21:18

writ large



writ (written) + large; a reference to Plato’s Republic, wherein he describes the state as being like the individual, but larger and easier to examine.



writ large (comparative writ larger, superlative writ largest)

  1. Used other than as an idiom: see writ,‎ large,‎ larger,‎ largest.
    • 1957 Sept. 30, "Ghana: White Eminence," Time:
      Ghana's motto, writ large on the gleaming white Independence Arch that overlooks the Atlantic in Accra, is "Freedom and Justice."
  2. (figuratively) Magnified; on a large scale.
    • 1909, H. G. Wells, Tono Bungay, ch. 8:
      Yet it seems to me indeed at times that all this present commercial civilisation is no more than my poor uncle's career writ large, a swelling, thinning bubble of assurances; that its arithmetic is just as unsound, its dividends as ill-advised, its ultimate aim as vague and forgotten.
    • 1995 Jan. 23, "One Man's Ted Sorensen Is Another's Marianne Williamson," Time:
      "Public behavior is merely private character writ large."
    • 2009, Thomas Pepinsky, Economic Crises and the Breakdown of Authoritarian Regimes, Cambridge University Press, New York, p. 40:
      In the case of Malaysia, for instance, the regime depends not on "labour" writ large but specifically on the unorganised Malay masses.
  3. (figuratively) Readily discerned, unmistakably indicated.
    • 1903, Jack London, The People of the Abyss, ch. 1:
      "You don't want to live down there!" everybody said, with disapprobation writ large upon their faces.
    • 1906, Joseph Conrad, The Mirror of the Sea, ch. 31:
      Meantime the old salt ("ex-coasting skipper" was writ large all over his person) had hobbled up alongside in his bumpy, shiny boots.
    • 2002 Oct. 3, Andrea Sachs, "Galley Girl: The Working Mother Edition," Time:
      Bestsellerdom is writ large for this novel, sure to be greeted with rave reviews.

Usage notesEdit

  • Usually placed after the noun modified.

Related termsEdit