underwrite

verb
un·​der·​write | \ ˈən-dər-ˌrīt How to pronounce underwrite (audio) , ˈən-də-, ˌən-dər-ˈrīt, ˌən-də-\
underwrote\ ˈən-​dər-​ˌrōt How to pronounce underwrote (audio) , ˈən-​də-​ , ˌən-​dər-​ˈrōt , ˌən-​də-​ \; underwritten\ ˈən-​dər-​ˌri-​tᵊn How to pronounce underwritten (audio) , ˈən-​də-​ , ˌən-​dər-​ˈri-​tᵊn , ˌən-​də-​ \; underwriting\ ˈən-​dər-​ˌrī-​tiŋ How to pronounce underwriting (audio) , ˈən-​də-​ , ˌən-​dər-​ˈrī-​ , ˌən-​də-​ \

Definition of underwrite

transitive verb

1 : to write under or at the end of something else
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
3 : to subscribe to : agree to
4a : to agree to purchase (something, such 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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for underwrite

Synonyms

Antonyms

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of underwrite in a Sentence

a university willing to underwrite an archaeological expedition
Recent Examples on the Web During that time Goldman underwrote three bond offerings that raised $6.5bn for 1MDB, of which, according to the DOJ, $2.7bn later disappeared. The Economist, "Malaysia charges 17 Goldman Sachs executives," 15 Aug. 2019 The sculpture was underwritten through donations from family, friends, organizations and businesses. Carol Kovach, cleveland.com, "Runners, walkers to hit West Park streets Sept. 15 for 18th annual Cleveland Heroes Run: A Place in the Sun," 10 Sep. 2019 Lamont and other supporters view tolls as a user fee that would partially be underwritten by out-of-state motorists. Daniela Altimari, courant.com, "Lamont administration working to retool its transportation funding strategy after toll plan stalls," 3 Sep. 2019 The cast is stacked, but the story is messy, and the pathos driving Bernadette’s disappearance (which, again, is easily solved) is underwritten. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Richard Linklater’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette Is a Gripping Mess," 16 Aug. 2019 In the early days, the foundation, which is entirely underwritten by the agency, focused on efforts like sponsoring the drama department at Venice High School, putting computers in schools that needed them and planting trees on campuses. Ashley Cullins, The Hollywood Reporter, ""Marrying Business and Purpose": Yara Shahidi, Jennifer Garner and More Reflect on 25 Years of the CAA Foundation," 15 July 2019 An initial program budget of $450,000 to pay for staff, recruitment and other start-up costs has been underwritten by Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase and Frost Bank. Brooke Lamantia, ExpressNews.com, "Alamo Colleges launches free-tuition program for grads of 25 area high schools," 13 July 2019 France has been at the forefront of developing the market for green bonds issued by governments; as a result, its banks are at the top of the global league tables for underwriting sales of this kind of debt for both nations and companies. Washington Post, "How Boris Johnson Can Defend the City of London," 18 Sep. 2019 Attendees can choose their own ticket price, knowing that their generosity will underwrite future free and Pay-It-Forward performances. courant.com, "Community News For The West Hartford Edition," 16 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'underwrite.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of underwrite

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about underwrite

Statistics for underwrite

Last Updated

31 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for underwrite

The first known use of underwrite was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for underwrite

underwrite

verb

Financial Definition of underwrite

What It Is

Underwriting is the process that a lender or other financial service uses to assess the creditworthiness or risk of a potential customer.

Underwriting also refers to an investment banker's process of packaging and selling a security on behalf of a client.

How It Works

Underwriting refers to the structured process used by financial service companies, such as banks, investors, or insurers, to determine and price the risk from a potential client.  The underwriting process is a detailed and systematic analysis of a potential borrower's credit-worthiness, including employment history, salary, financial statements and performance, publicly available information, and independent credit reports.  The underwriting process is intended to determine the credit needs, the quality of the collateral assets to be used to support the borrowing, and the borrower's ability to repay the debt.  Upon completion of a formal underwriting process and a summary presented to a credit committee within the lender, the lender will either approve or reject the request for a loan.

Similarly, an insurance company will evaluate the risks of a potential candidate for insurance, based on a variety of actuarial factors.  The bottom line from such an underwriting process is to price the insurance in accordance with its associated risk.

In securities trading, underwriting also includes assessing the risk and pricing the security accordingly.  However, the formal underwriting process also involves agreeing to buy the security (by the underwriter) and then selling the security for a profit.  The underwriter effectively takes a risk by agreeing to buy the security at the established price.  In most instances, underwriters will line up buyers for the securities before they take on the security, so that it can "flip" the security to the buyer immediately.

Why It Matters

Underwriting is a critical step in the credit analysis and risk pricing process for almost all financial service companies.  For companies, understanding the underwriting process and the requirements at each stage of the process will allow a company to prepare and present itself accordingly.  For investors, the information contained in an underwriting is crucial to understanding the risks and potential rewards from a security's underlying asset.

Source: Investing Answers

underwrite

verb
How to pronounce underwrite (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of underwrite

formal : to give money to support (something, such as a new business) and agree to be responsible for any losses if it fails
technical : to agree to pay for a certain kind of loss or damage by offering (an insurance policy)
technical : to agree to buy (shares) that are not bought by investors when the shares are first offered for sale

underwrite

transitive verb
un·​der·​write | \ ˈən-dər-ˌrīt, ˌən-dər-ˈrīt How to pronounce underwrite (audio) \
underwrote\ -​ˌrōt, -​ˈrōt How to pronounce underwrote (audio) \; underwritten\ -​ˌrit-​ᵊn, -​ˈrit-​ᵊn How to pronounce underwritten (audio) \; underwriting

Legal Definition of underwrite

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 : 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 issuesUFITEC, S.A. v. Carter, 135 Cal. Rptr. 607 (1977)
3a : to put up funds for or guarantee financial support of
b : to assess the risk of (as a loan)

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on underwrite

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for underwrite

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with underwrite

Spanish Central: Translation of underwrite

Nglish: Translation of underwrite for Spanish Speakers

Comments on underwrite

What made you want to look up underwrite? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

something of little or no value

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • rotelle pasta
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!