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From Middle English writen, from Old English wrītan (to incise, engrave, write, draw, bestow by writing), 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), Low German wrieten, rieten (to tear, split), 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). 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)

  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: A Novel, 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. (intransitive) To be an author.
    I write for a living.
  6. (computing, intransitive, with to) To record data mechanically or electronically.
    The computer writes to the disk faster than it reads from it.
  7. (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.
  8. To impress durably; to imprint; to engrave.
    truth written on the heart
  9. To make known by writing; to record; to prove by one's own written testimony; often used reflexively.
    • (Can we date this quote?) John Milton
      He who writes himself by his own inscription is like an ill painter, who, by writing on a shapeless picture which he hath drawn, is fain to tell passengers what shape it is, which else no man could imagine.



Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit


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 Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


write (plural writes)

  1. (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.



Middle EnglishEdit



  1. Alternative form of writen

West FrisianEdit


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




  1. to rip, to tear


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