un·​writ·​ten ˌən-ˈri-tᵊn How to pronounce unwritten (audio)
: not expressed in writing : oral, traditional
an unwritten rule
: containing no writing : blank

Examples of unwritten in a Sentence

They had an unwritten agreement. an unwritten contract may not be enforceable
Recent Examples on the Web However, others cited an unwritten rule against reclining when seated in coach. Erin Clements, Peoplemag, 6 Nov. 2023 Promising unwritten novels: one tracks the relation between his Wikipedia work and his poetry. Ben Lerner, Harper's Magazine, 3 Nov. 2023 That unwritten contract was abruptly shattered for Israelis in the morning hours of Oct. 7, 2023. Avner Cohen, The Conversation, 14 Oct. 2023 While everyone has individual pet peeves, many seem to agree on the top, unwritten offenses. Ana Ley, New York Times, 7 Nov. 2023 Despite that reality, during the strike, the auto industry’s response was an uninspiring combination of offense (attacking UAW leader Shawn Fain for challenging the unwritten labor rules) and argumentative defense. Adam Hanft, Fortune, 7 Nov. 2023 Under the unwritten rules of these kinds of disappearances, an official report will eventually disclose what the two men did and what happened to them, but in the meantime there was little more than a rumor that they were being investigated for corruption or, perhaps, leaking state secrets. Evan Osnos, The New Yorker, 23 Oct. 2023 There are several unwritten rules when bathing—the most important etiquette is to shower before entering fully unclothed (swimsuits are generally prohibited) for sanitary reasons. Tokyo Halfie, Condé Nast Traveler, 9 Oct. 2023 In the past, bedside teaching in medical school was an art practiced by careful observation and listening, with particular attention to eyes and body language as our professors handed down the invaluable unwritten and unspoken ways to express care, concern, and empathy for our patients. Time, 23 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'unwritten.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of unwritten was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near unwritten

Cite this Entry

“Unwritten.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unwritten. Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


un·​writ·​ten ˌən-ˈrit-ᵊn How to pronounce unwritten (audio)
: not put in writing : oral, traditional
an unwritten law
: containing no writing : blank
unwritten pages

More from Merriam-Webster on unwritten

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