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
wrote down; written down; writing down; writes down

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 The company missed its revenue targets in 2017, and Disney has repeatedly written down the value of its $400-million investment. Anna Nicolaou, Los Angeles Times, "Vice buys Refinery29, creating a $4-billion digital publishing group," 2 Oct. 2019 Years later, to encourage me to write down my stories and send them in, my husband bought an electric typewriter. Lois Szymanski, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Szymanski: Hard to accept, but inevitable, so best to roll with life’s changes," 14 Sep. 2019 The model Procter & Gamble recorded a big net quarterly loss after writing down the value of its Gillette shaving products business by $8bn. The Economist, "Business this week," 3 Aug. 2019 Each round, players write down one-word clues to present to the round’s guesser, who has to figure out a secret word. Aaron Zimmerman, Ars Technica, "2019’s “Board Game of the Year” goes to Just One," 23 July 2019 Is your policy written down, formalized, and distributed to your employees? Phil Blair, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Protect yourself, your employees, your company from harassment charges," 12 Mar. 2018 Until Anjou, the Lees didn’t write down their recipes. Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, "Aging is a very good thing at Anju in Dupont Circle," 6 Sep. 2019 People write down their true heart’s desire on a slip of paper and place it in the box in hopes that their wish will be granted. Dan Snierson, EW.com, "Here's when all 28 new Lifetime Christmas movies will air," 22 Aug. 2019 A few minutes later, while the reporter is writing down hearing times and case numbers, the bailiff returns and again questions the reporter. Mary Jo Pitzl, azcentral, "These courts must protect kids' privacy. They also must be public. Can it be done?," 31 July 2019

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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Statistics for write-down

Last Updated

31 Oct 2019

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

More from Merriam-Webster on write-down

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with write-down

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