holy writ

noun, often capitalized H&W

Definition of holy writ

2 : a writing or utterance having unquestionable authority its financial precepts were not necessarily Holy Writ— Herbert Stein

Synonyms for holy writ


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Holy Writ has been used in English as a synonym for Bible for more than a thousand years. The term traces to the Venerable Bede, an 8th-century Anglo-Saxon scholar, historian, and theologian who wrote a history of England in which he dated events from the birth of Christ. Bede's history was translated from Latin to English around the year 900, and it is in that translated text that we find the earliest evidence for holy writ. William Shakespeare used holy writ in Othello: "Trifles light as air are to the jealous confirmations strong as proofs of holy writ." And Alexander Pope used it in his Wife of Bath: "And close the sermon, as beseem'd his wit, with some grave sentence out of holy writ."

First Known Use of holy writ

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of holy writ was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near holy writ

holy well

holy writ

Holy Year

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Cite this Entry

“Holy writ.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/holy%20writ. Accessed 25 Sep. 2022.

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