writ·​ing | \ˈrī-tiŋ \

Definition of writing 

1 : the act or process of one who writes: such as

a : the act or art of forming visible letters or characters specifically : handwriting sense 1

b : the act or practice of literary or musical composition

2 : something written: such as

a : letters or characters that serve as visible signs of ideas, words, or symbols

b : a letter, note, or notice used to communicate or record

c : a written composition

d : inscription

3 : a style or form of composition

4 : the occupation of a writer especially : the profession of authorship

writing on the wall

: an omen or sign of one's unpleasant fate No one told him he was going to be fired, but he could see the writing on the wall. [=he could see that he was going to be fired soon]

Examples of writing in a Sentence

Writing usually isn't a lucrative career, but it has been very fulfilling for me. He teaches creative writing at the university. Few people nowadays care about the art of letter writing. The novel's plot is okay, but the writing is horrible. I asked a friend to critique my writing. Her essay was a wonderful piece of writing. She has a unique writing style. Much of the best Japanese writing has not been translated into English. the writings of Benjamin Franklin a book of selected writings on moral philosophy
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Recent Examples on the Web

He was expelled from Ohio State University for hitting a professor who once belittled his writing ability. The Economist, "Harlan Ellison died on June 27th," 5 July 2018 But as early as the 1970s Lane saw the writing on the wall and began teaming up with regional theaters on productions. Don Aucoin, BostonGlobe.com, "A comeback role for Boston theaters?," 14 July 2018 According to the information on my birth certificate, however, I was born in October of 1965, making me, at this writing, chronologically speaking, 52. Sari Botton, Longreads, "Introducing ‘Fine Lines,’ a Series About Age and Aging," 10 July 2018 Some of the items detailed in the report appear to have been recently removed, but many, including Rockwell’s children’s book, remain available at this writing. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "Amazon Sold Books, Backpacks, and Toys Promoting Hate to Kids, Report Shows," 7 July 2018 Motivated by the grief of his wife's death, neuropsychologist and writer Broks weaves a mesmerizing web of memories, his own research, Greek mythology and the writings of famous philosophers to muse on the nature of awareness. Andrea Gawrylewski, Scientific American, "The True Point of Searching for Alien Life; the Misuse of Genetics and Other New Science Books," 3 July 2018 The persuasive writing sounds reasonable, worthy of a second look. Renee Diresta, WIRED, "The Complexity of Simply Searching for Medical Advice," 3 July 2018 At this writing, the hotel is under renovation, strapped in scaffolding and closed to the public. Jennifer Larue, The Seattle Times, "Soaking up Manhattan’s literary history: A book lover’s bar-hopping guide," 2 July 2018 The letter-writing comes as homes in Central Florida are in high demand. Bill Zimmerman, OrlandoSentinel.com, "In tight Orlando real estate market, 'love letters' help buyers close deal," 30 June 2018

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

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for writing

Last Updated

8 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for writing

The first known use of writing was in the 13th century

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English Language Learners Definition of writing

: the activity or work of writing books, poems, stories, etc.

: the way that you use written words to express your ideas or opinions

: books, poems, essays, letters, etc.


writ·​ing | \ˈrī-tiŋ\

Kids Definition of writing

1 : the act of a person who writes

2 : handwriting I can't read his writing.

3 : something (as a letter or book) that is written

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Comments on writing

What made you want to look up writing? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


by force of circumstances

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