writ

noun
\ ˈrit How to pronounce writ (audio) \

Definition of writ

1 : something written : writing Sacred Writ
2a : a formal written document specifically : a legal instrument in epistolary form issued under seal in the name of the English monarch
b : an order or mandatory process in writing issued in the name of the sovereign or of a court or judicial officer commanding the person to whom it is directed to perform or refrain from performing an act specified therein writ of detinue writ of entry writ of execution
c : the power and authority of the issuer of such a written order usually used with run outside the United States where … our writ does not run— Dean Acheson

Examples of writ in a Sentence

The judge issued a writ of habeas corpus. He was served with a writ.

Recent Examples on the Web

In March, the court signed off on a writ that that would allow the sheriff’s department to garnish the couple’s wages and seize their bank accounts. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, "Can Tori Spelling really pay her bills? There’s still that unpaid $220,000 judgment and other reported debts," 7 Aug. 2019 His writ included the warring states of the former Yugoslavia, which were led by intransigent men waging a genocidal war. Thomas Powers, The New York Review of Books, "The Fog of Ambition," 6 June 2019 The process can be confusing, especially for someone who hasn't thought much about emoji writ large, but really wants to be able to text their friend a chef's kiss emoji. Arielle Pardes, WIRED, "Good News! It Just Got Easier for You to Suggest New Emoji," 17 July 2019 As for the future writ large, Sullivan puts it succinctly. Sam Hurwitt, The Mercury News, "SF Mime Troupe at 60: Still trying to save the world with satire," 9 July 2019 Should Spider-Man, or Marvel writ large, make a concerted effort to probe some of this generation’s big societal issues? Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Spider-Man: Far From Home turns a class-conscious hero into a tech bro," 3 July 2019 When escrow closed April 22 of this year, Mirzakhanian filed for a writ of eviction because a man had been found residing at the home. Sara Cardine, latimes.com, "For-profit party at La Cañada house leads officials to a homeowner battling squatters," 19 June 2019 His drive found the fairway — but settled right at the base of the oak tree that impedes the occasional tee shot like a miniature golf obstacle writ large. Chris Brodeur, courant.com, "Is TPC River Highlands a cushy landing spot for PGA pros after the grind of a U.S. Open? It’s not that simple," 18 June 2019 The usual writ is that Stanford brutally imported Asian laborers as construction workers in his vast railroad archipelago. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "The Cowardly Incoherence of Name-Changing, Statue-Toppling, and other Iconoclasms," 25 June 2019

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

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First Known Use of writ

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

History and Etymology for writ

Middle English, from Old English; akin to Old English wrītan to write

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Last Updated

16 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for writ

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

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More Definitions for writ

writ

noun

English Language Learners Definition of writ

law : a document from a court ordering someone to do something or not to do something

writ

noun
\ ˈrit How to pronounce writ (audio) \

Kids Definition of writ

: an order in writing signed by an officer of a court ordering someone to do or not to do something

writ

noun
\ ˈrit How to pronounce writ (audio) \

Legal Definition of writ

1 : a letter that was issued in the name of the English monarch from Anglo-Saxon times to declare his grants, wishes, and commands
2 : an order or mandatory process in writing issued in the name of the sovereign or of a court or judicial officer commanding the person to whom it is directed to perform or refrain from performing a specified act

Note: The writ was a vital official instrument in the old common law of England. A plaintiff commenced a suit at law by choosing the proper form of action and obtaining a writ appropriate to the remedy sought; its issuance forced the defendant to comply or to appear in court and defend. Writs were also in constant use for financial and political purposes of government. While the writ no longer governs civil pleading and has lost many of its applications, the extraordinary writs especially of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, and certiorari indicate its historical importance as an instrument of judicial authority.

alias writ
: a writ issued upon the failure of a previous one
alternative writ
: a writ commanding one to perform a mandated act or else to show cause why the act need not be performed — compare peremptory writ in this entry
extraordinary writ
: a writ granted as an extraordinary remedy at the discretion of the court in its jurisdiction over officials or inferior tribunals

called also prerogative writ

— see also certiorari, habeas corpus, mandamus, procedendo, prohibition, quo warranto — compare writ of right in this entry

Note: Extraordinary writs were originally writs exercised by royal prerogative.

judicial writ
: a writ issued by a court under its own seal for judicial purposes in the course of a proceeding or to enforce a judgment — compare original writ in this entry
original writ
: a writ formerly used in England that issued out of chancery as the means of bringing a suit and defendant before the court — compare judicial writ in this entry

Note: The original writ was superseded by the summons in 1873.

peremptory writ
: a writ (as of mandamus) that presents an absolute order without the alternative to show cause a peremptory writ of prohibition — compare alternative writ in this entry
prerogative writ \ pri-​ˈrä-​gə-​tiv-​ \
: extraordinary writ in this entry
writ of assistance
1 : a writ issued to a law officer (as a sheriff or marshal) for the enforcement of a court order or decree especially : one used to enforce an order for the possession of lands
2 : a writ provided for under British rule in colonial America that authorized customs officers to search unspecified places for any smuggled goods

Note: Many colonial courts refused to issue writs of assistance, which were a focus of bitter resentment against arbitrary searches and seizures. Opposition to such writs inspired the provision in the U.S. Constitution requiring that a search warrant describe with particularity the place and items to be searched.

writ of coram nobis
: writ of error coram nobis in this entry
writ of error
: a common-law writ directing an inferior court to remit the record of an action to the reviewing court in order that an error of law may be corrected if it exists

Note: The writ of error has been largely abolished and superseded by the appeal.

writ of error coram nobis
: a writ calling the attention of the trial court to facts which do not appear on the record despite the exercise of reasonable diligence by the defendant and which if known and established at the time a judgment was rendered would have resulted in a different judgment petitioned for a writ of error coram nobis on the ground that newly discovered evidence exonerated him

called also coram nobis, writ of coram nobis

writ of right
1 : a common-law writ formerly used to restore property held by another to its rightful owner
2 : a writ granted as a matter of right — compare extraordinary writ in this entry

History and Etymology for writ

Old English, something written

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More from Merriam-Webster on writ

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with writ

Spanish Central: Translation of writ

Nglish: Translation of writ for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of writ for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about writ

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