not actually formulated or expressed; customary; traditional.
not written; not put in writing or print; oral: an unwritten agreement.
containing no writing; blank.

Origin of unwritten

1325–75; Middle English unwriten; see un-1, written

Synonyms for unwritten

1. implicit, understood, tacit, inferred.

Antonyms for unwritten

1. specified, stipulated, designated.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for unwritten

Contemporary Examples of unwritten

  • Since 2007, Maulvi Nazir and the Pakistani military had kept to an unwritten truce.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Obama’s Deadly Informants: The Drone Spotters of Pakistan

    Umar Farooq, Syed Fakhar Kakakhel

    November 12, 2014

  • That's precisely the unwritten policy every gay player has adhered to in the history of the NFL.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Michael Sam Is Not a ‘Distraction’

    Dave Cullen

    February 12, 2014

  • A lot of what made the old budgeting system work—the system of 1921-1974—was a set of unwritten norms and conventions.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Dead on Arrival (Updated)

    David Frum

    February 15, 2012

  • But it does seem a bit odd that this massive change to the (unwritten) British constitution was not trailed.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Is Kate Preggers?

    Tom Sykes

    November 6, 2011

  • And for the most part, they are correct – there is an unwritten understanding that all encounters are confidential.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Priests Who Hired Me for Sex

    Mike Jones

    July 17, 2010

Historical Examples of unwritten

  • It was part of a code no less binding because it was unwritten.

  • Among the unwritten chapters is one which touches a problem.

    Lotus Buds

    Amy Carmichael

  • Can you then assert (asked Socrates) of these unwritten laws that men made them?

  • The Silvio Pellicos of Pentonville are yet unwritten martyrs.

    A Day's Ride

    Charles James Lever

  • An unwritten law of the West he broke by letting the snake go.

    Rim o' the World

    B. M. Bower

British Dictionary definitions for unwritten



not printed or in writing
effective only through custom; traditional
without writing upon it
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 unwritten

mid-14c., from un- (1) "not" + past participle of write (v.). Cf. Old English unwriten, Old Norse uritinn.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper