writing done with a pen or pencil in the hand; script.
a style or manner of writing by hand, especially that which characterizes a particular person; penmanship: an eccentric handwriting.
a handwritten document; manuscript.


    handwriting on the wall, a premonition, portent, or clear indication, especially of failure or disaster: The company had ignored the handwriting on the wall and was plunged into bankruptcy.Also writing on the wall.

Origin of handwriting

1375–1425; late Middle English hand writyng; see hand + writing



verb (used with object), hand·wrote or (Archaic) hand·writ; hand·writ·ten or (Archaic) hand·writ; hand·writ·ing.

to write (something) by hand.

Origin of handwrite

First recorded in 1840–50; back formation from handwriting
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for handwriting

Contemporary Examples of handwriting

Historical Examples of handwriting

  • I have seen the letter; it is in Captain Rushton's handwriting.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • I can show it to you, if you desire it, in my father's handwriting.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • His handwriting does not run quite as far as the queen's writ in this country yet.

  • His articles had been typewritten and she had never seen his handwriting.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter

  • And I saw that the address, scrawled in pencil, was in Anthony's handwriting.

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

British Dictionary definitions for handwriting



writing by hand rather than by typing or printing
a person's characteristic writing stylethat signature is in my handwriting
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for handwriting

c.1500, from hand (n.) + writing, translating Latin manuscriptum. Hand in the sense of "handwriting, style of writing" is from late 14c.

An ordinary note in his [Horace Greeley's] handwriting is said to have been used for a long time as a railroad pass, then as a servant's recommendation, and finally taken to a drug-store as a doctor's prescription. ["Frank Leslie's Magazine," August 1884]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper