"He proceeded to indite a note to Biddy, with my love in it." -- From Charles Dickens' novel, Great Expectations, 1861
"Sometimes, instead of cursing, Upton would indite a note ." -- From Sally Ryder Brady's 2011 memoir A Box of Darkness: The Story of a Marriage
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"Indite" looks like a misspelling of its homophone "indict," meaning "to charge with a crime," and that's no mere coincidence. Although the two verbs are distinct in current use, they are in fact related etymologically. "Indite" is the older of the two; it has been in the language since the 1300s. "Indict," which came about as an alteration of "indite," first appeared in English legal use around 1600. Ultimately, both terms come from the Latin "indicere," meaning "to make known formally" or "to proclaim," which in turn comes from "in-" plus "dicere," meaning "to say."
Word Family Quiz: What relative of "indite" is a synonym of "foretell"? The answer is ...
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