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 Pants pushback For decades, written or unwritten dress rules also forbade women from wearing pants to formal settings. The Conversation, Fortune, 30 Sep. 2023 The unwritten rules of chatting on the phone differ wildly between generations, leading to misunderstandings and frustration on all sides. Heather Kelly, Washington Post, 25 Sep. 2023 But no one talks about the unwritten mandate, financial stability. Nicole Goodkind, CNN, 5 Sep. 2023 With every additional unfinished presentation, unseen email, or unwritten report comes even more effort just to keep up with the backlog. Thomas Curran, Time, 8 Aug. 2023 Sherwin’s son, Alex, recalls his father’s unwritten book as a subject of frequent ribbing at the dinner table of the family’s Boston home. David Amsden, Los Angeles Times, 18 July 2023 An unwritten etiquette rule followed by many for years held that white garments and shoes were only worn in the summer, which officially came to its a close on Labor Day after the national holiday was established in 1894. Madoline Markham, Country Living, 4 Sep. 2023 Will the killer conform to Hollywood’s unwritten rule of refraining from murdering animals, and so spare the life of a pit bull, Diva, who lives with another opponent, described in the chapter heading as The Brute (Sala Baker)? Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Sep. 2023 These two émigrés weren’t schooled in the intricacies of Jim Crow etiquette—that web of unwritten rules that governed how a Black American conducted himself in the presence of whites and set a low ceiling for Black aspirations. IEEE Spectrum, 27 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 4 Oct. 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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