write-down

noun
\ ˈrīt-ˌdau̇n How to pronounce write-down (audio) \

Definition of write-down

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a deliberate reduction in the book value of an asset (as to reflect the effect of obsolescence)

write down

verb

Definition of write down (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to record in written form
2a : to depreciate, disparage, or injure by writing
b : to reduce in status, rank, or value especially : to reduce the book value of

intransitive verb

: to write so as to appeal to a lower level of taste, comprehension, or intelligence

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Examples of write-down in a Sentence

Verb

a company forced to write down its assets write down what you remember about that day

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But the Chinese demanded that a Chinese company take a dominant equity share in the port in return, Sri Lankan officials say — writing down the debt was not an option China would accept. Maria Abi-habib, New York Times, "How China Got Sri Lanka to Cough Up a Port," 25 June 2018 Ivanov and her assistants work in longhand, writing down every diagnosis in the sick bay. Smith Henderson, Popular Mechanics, "Olympia," 20 Nov. 2017 During the first part of Wednesday's session, questions from the audience that were written down on pink pieces of paper were read by a facilitator from Public Policy Associates. Lori Higgins, Detroit Free Press, "Waterford crowd slams changes to Mich. school social studies standards," 20 June 2018 Those who refused to give up the protest and go back to class (about 40 students) were herded into the auxiliary gym, where they were asked to write down their names and student ID numbers. Rose Minutaglio, Seventeen, "I Was Suspended From School For Walking Out To Support Gun Control," 15 Mar. 2018 Carve out some time during the day to write down your worries and come up with ways to address them. Sarah Richards, Woman's Day, "Quiet Your Mind in Anxious Times With These Expert Tricks," 14 Aug. 2018 Even projects that were written down in the coalition agreement were not implemented because the coalition partners couldn't implement together. Mike Morris, Houston Chronicle, "For a few thousand votes, you, too, could join Houston City Council," 1 May 2018 Part of that rate relief could come from writing down the utility’s debts. Andrew Scurria And Arian Campo-flores, WSJ, "Puerto Rico Picks Bidders for Ailing Power Utility," 20 Jan. 2019 So much easier than writing songs with a guitar, trying to balance the notebook, strum the guitar and write down lyrics and chords while the guitar pick and pen lose themselves between the cushions of the sofa. Ron Hart, Billboard, "Wreckless Eric on New Album 'Construction Time & Demolition' & the Enduring Appeal of 'Whole Wide World'," 17 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'write-down.' 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 write-down

Noun

1932, in the meaning defined above

Verb

1588, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Dictionary Entries near write-down

writative

write

write back

write-down

write down

write-in

write in

Statistics for write-down

Last Updated

6 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for write-down

The first known use of write-down was in 1588

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More Definitions for write-down

write-down

noun

Financial Definition of write-down

What It Is

A write-down is the accounting term used to describe a reduction in the book value of an asset due to economic or fundamental changes in the asset.  A write-down is the opposite of a write-up.

How It Works

A write-down can be processed whenever a firm readjusts their balance sheet numbers which typically happens when a company files their quarterly earnings.

Insurance companies often need to write down assets since they must maintain a certain stated level of capital compared to their portfolio of potential liabilities. For illiquid investments such as real estate, book value is calculated by analyzing current market conditions, taking into consideration rental rates, the values of similar buildings, as well as current interest rates.  When preparing quarterly financial updates, insurance firms reevaluate the value of their real estate holdings.  If market conditions change, the firm writes down the book value of the holding to adjust the value to current market conditions.

Thus a real estate write-down in our example can be caused by either a negative change in the overall macro environment, or a micro economic occurrence such as building deterioration.

Why It Matters

Changes in book values caused by write-downs were at the heart of financial company failures caused by the sub-prime crisis. When write-downs occurred, many financial firms needed to raise capital from other sources to maintain their minimum capital obligations.

Companies that could not raise money by selling stock, new debt, or assets, were forced into bankruptcy or forced mergers when their assets could no longer cover their liabilities.

Source: Investing Answers

write down

transitive verb
wrote down; written down; writing down

Legal Definition of write down

: to reduce the book value of (an asset) write down accounts receivable

Other Words from write-down

write-down \ ˈrīt-​ˌdau̇n How to pronounce write-down (audio) \ noun

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