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

In the process of developing the first issue, Narula began by looking to members of the theater community who might be willing to contribute a piece of writing. Katie Powers, Chicago Reader, "Arts / Media / Theater Profiles abuse scandal inspires new magazine examining Chicago theater," 12 July 2018 Discussion subjects will range from murder mysteries and border issues to illustration and the how-tos of writing. Danielle Hernandez, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Danielle's Report: U-T to host second annual San Diego Festival of Books," 5 July 2018 Thapar is known for lively writing and for sprinkling his opinions with colloquialisms and common language. Dan Horn, Cincinnati.com, "Cincinnati and the Supreme Court: Two judges here are on Trump's list for high court," 28 June 2018 Large swaths of Obama’s days are now carved out for writing. Gabriel Debenedetti, Daily Intelligencer, "Where Is Barack Obama?," 24 June 2018 When her mother bought her a typewriter at the age of ten, Butler also discovered her passion and talent for writing. Fiza Pirani, ajc, "Who is Octavia Butler? Google honors ‘grand dame of science fiction’," 22 June 2018 The contrast is fantastic, and gives me high hopes for the writing this time. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "Hands-on: Rage 2's Doom-inspired action is a maelstrom of guns, grenades, and gore," 15 June 2018 Many readers need poets to offer them images of the natural world — birds, bees, bugs — in order for the writing to be labeled accessible. Walton Muyumba, latimes.com, "The right poetry collection for right now: Terrance Hayes' 'American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin'," 14 June 2018 Lena Waithe, the first Black woman to ever win an Emmy for outstanding comedy writing, proposed a test that a movie would pass if there’s a Black woman in the work who is in a position of power and is in a healthy relationship. refinery29.com, "The Bechdel Test, The DuVernay Test, & More: What You Need To Know," 13 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

13 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for writing

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

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More Definitions for writing



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).


the setting in which something occurs

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