[uhn-der-rahyt, uhn-der-rahyt]

verb (used with object), un·der·wrote, un·der·writ·ten, un·der·writ·ing.

verb (used without object), un·der·wrote, un·der·writ·ten, un·der·writ·ing.

to underwrite something.
to carry on the business of an underwriter.

Nearby words

  1. underwithhold,
  2. underwood,
  3. underwool,
  4. underwork,
  5. underworld,
  6. underwriter,
  7. underwritten,
  8. underwrote,
  9. undescended,
  10. undescended testicle

Origin of underwrite

1400–50; late Middle English, translation of Latin subscrībere to write underneath, sign, subscribe

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for underwrite

British Dictionary definitions for underwrite


verb -writes, -writing, -wrote or -written (tr)

finance to undertake to purchase at an agreed price any unsold portion of (a public issue of shares, etc)
to accept financial responsibility for (a commercial project or enterprise)
  1. to sign and issue (an insurance policy) thus accepting liability if specified losses occur
  2. to insure (a property or risk)
  3. to accept liability up to (a specified amount) in an insurance policy
to write (words, a signature, etc) beneath (other written matter); subscribe
to support or concur with (a decision, statement, etc) by or as if by signature
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 underwrite



early 15c., from under + write (v.). A loan-translation of Latin subscribere (see subscribe). Used literally at first; modern sense of "to accept the risk of insurance" (1620s) is from notion of signing a marine insurance policy. Meaning "to support by a guarantee of money" is recorded from 1890.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper