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verb un·der·write \ˈən-də(r)-ˌrīt, ˌən-də(r)-ˈ\

Simple Definition of underwrite

  • : to give money to support (something, such as a new business) and agree to be responsible for any losses if it fails

  • : to agree to pay for a certain kind of loss or damage by offering (an insurance policy)

  • : to agree to buy (shares) that are not bought by investors when the shares are first offered for sale

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of underwrite


play \-ˌrōt, -ˈrōt\


play \-ˌri-tən, -ˈri-tən\


play \-ˌrī-tiŋ, -ˈrī-\
  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to write under or at the end of something else

  3. 2 :  to set one's name to (an insurance policy) for the purpose of thereby becoming answerable for a designated loss or damage on consideration of receiving a premium percent :  insure on life or property; also :  to assume liability for (a sum or risk) as an insurer

  4. 3 :  to subscribe to :  agree to

  5. 4 a :  to agree to purchase (as security issue) usually on a fixed date at a fixed price with a view to public distribution b :  to guarantee financial support of <underwrite a project>

  6. intransitive verb
  7. :  to work as an underwriter

Examples of underwrite in a sentence

  1. <a university willing to underwrite an archaeological expedition>

14th Century

First Known Use of underwrite

14th century

Rhymes with underwrite

acolyte, aconite, aerolite, Ammonite, Amorite, amosite, anchorite, andesite, anthracite, antiwhite, apartheid, appetite, arsenite, azurite, Bakelite, bedlamite, Benthamite, biotite, bipartite, black-and-white, blatherskite, bleacherite, bring to light, Brooklynite, bryophyte, calamite, Canaanite, candlelight, Carmelite, Castroite, catamite, cellulite, cenobite, chalcocite, chestnut blight, Chinese white, columbite, coprolite, copyright, cryolite, crystallite, disinvite, disunite, divine right, dolerite, dolomite, dynamite, ebonite, epiphyte, eremite, erudite, expedite, extradite, featherlight, fight-or-flight, fly-by-night, gelignite, geophyte, gesundheit, gigabyte, Gilsonite, Hashemite, hematite, hemocyte, hessonite, Hitlerite, Houstonite, hug-me-tight, Hutterite, hyalite, Ibsenite, impolite, inner light, Ishmaelite, Isle of Wight, Israelite, Jacobite, Jerseyite, Josephite, kilobyte, kimberlite, laborite, lazulite, leading light, Leavisite, Leninite, leukocyte, lily-white, localite, lymphocyte, macrophyte, magnetite, malachite, manganite, Marcionite, Masonite, megabyte, Mennonite, Minorite, Moabite, Mr. Right, muscovite, Muscovite, Nazirite, neophyte, oocyte, open sight, out-of-sight, overbite, overflight, overnight, oversight, overwrite, parasite, patent right, perovskite, phagocyte, pilot light, plebiscite, proselyte, Puseyite, pyrrhotite, recondite, reunite, rhyolite, running light, Saint Paulite, saprolite, satellite, Scottish rite, second sight, see the light, self-ignite, serve one right, shergottite, socialite, sodalite, sodomite, spider mite, Stagirite, Sydneyite, taconite, tanzanite, terabyte, time-of-flight, traffic light, transfinite, transvestite, tripartite, troglodyte, Trotskyite, Ulsterite, ultralight, urbanite, vigil light, Wahhabite, water right, water sprite, watertight, Wycliffite, xerophyte, yesternight, zoophyte

Law Dictionary


transitive verb un·der·write \ˈən-dər-ˌrīt, ˌən-dər-ˈrīt\

Legal Definition of underwrite


\-ˌrōt, -ˈrōt\ play


\-ˌrit-ən, -ˈrit-ən\ play


  1. 1a :  to assume liability for (a risk) as an insurer <the insurer underwrites individuals, not the group, in franchise health insurance> b :  to issue or set the terms of (an insurance policy)

  2. 2 :  to agree to purchase (all or part of a security issue) usually on a fixed date at a fixed price with the purpose or plan to resell by means of a public offering <was a security brokerage firm which as part of its business underwrote speculative new issues — UFITEC, S.A. v. Carter, 135 Cal. Rptr. 607 (1977)>

  3. 3a :  to put up funds for or guarantee financial support of b :  to assess the risk of (as a loan)

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