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write-off

[rahyt-awf, -of]
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noun
  1. a cancellation from the accounts as a loss.
  2. an uncollectable account.
  3. a reduction in book value; depreciation.
  4. Informal. a person or thing that is given up as hopeless or pointless: Joe's college career is a write-off.
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Origin of write-off

First recorded in 1745–55; noun use of verb phrase write off

write

[rahyt]
verb (used with object), wrote or (Archaic) writ; writ·ten or (Archaic) writ; writ·ing.
  1. to trace or form (characters, letters, words, etc.) on the surface of some material, as with a pen, pencil, or other instrument or means; inscribe: Write your name on the board.
  2. to express or communicate in writing; give a written account of.
  3. to fill in the blank spaces of (a printed form) with writing: to write a check.
  4. to execute or produce by setting down words, figures, etc.: to write two copies of a letter.
  5. to compose and produce in words or characters duly set down: to write a letter to a friend.
  6. to produce as author or composer: to write a sonnet; to write a symphony.
  7. to trace significant characters on, or mark or cover with writing.
  8. to cause to be apparent or unmistakable: Honesty is written on his face.
  9. Computers. to transfer (information, data, programs, etc.) from storage to secondary storage or an output medium.
  10. Stock Exchange. to sell (options).
  11. to underwrite.
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verb (used without object), wrote or (Archaic) writ; writ·ten or (Archaic) writ; writ·ing.
  1. to trace or form characters, words, etc., with a pen, pencil, or other instrument or means, or as a pen or the like does: He writes with a pen.
  2. to write as a profession or occupation: She writes for the Daily Inquirer.
  3. to express ideas in writing.
  4. to write a letter or letters, or communicate by letter: Write if you get work.
  5. to compose or work as a writer or author.
  6. Computers. to write into a secondary storage device or output medium.
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Verb Phrases
  1. write down,
    1. to set down in writing; record; note.
    2. to direct one's writing to a less intelligent reader or audience: He writes down to the public.
  2. write in,
    1. to vote for (a candidate not listed on the ballot) by writing his or her name on the ballot.
    2. to include in or add to a text by writing: Do not write in corrections on the galley.
    3. to request something by mail: If interested, please write in for details.
  3. write off,
    1. to cancel an entry in an account, as an unpaid and uncollectable debt.
    2. to regard as worthless, lost, obsolete, etc.; decide to forget: to write off their bad experience.
    3. to amortize: The new equipment was written off in three years.
  4. write out,
    1. to put into writing.
    2. to write in full form; state completely.
    3. to exhaust the capacity or resources of by excessive writing: He's just another author who has written himself out.
  5. write up,
    1. to put into writing, especially in full detail: Write up a report.
    2. to present to public notice in a written description or account.
    3. Accounting.to make an excessive valuation of (an asset).
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Origin of write

before 900; Middle English writen, Old English wrītan; cognate with Old Saxon wrītan to cut, write, German reissen to tear, draw, Old Norse rīta to score, write
Related formsmis·write, verb (used with object), mis·wrote, mis·writ·ten, mis·writ·ing.
Can be confusedright rite wright write

Synonyms for write

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for write off

cancel, lower, decry, depreciate, disregard, downgrade, shelve, underrate, undervalue

British Dictionary definitions for write off

write off

verb (tr, adverb)
  1. accounting
    1. to cancel (a bad debt or obsolete asset) from the accounts
    2. to consider (a transaction, etc) as a loss or set off (a loss) against revenues
    3. to depreciate (an asset) by periodic charges
    4. to charge (a specified amount) against gross profits as depreciation of an asset
  2. to cause or acknowledge the complete loss of
  3. to send a written order for (something)she wrote off for a brochure
  4. informal to damage (something, esp a car) beyond repair
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noun write-off
  1. accounting
    1. the act of cancelling a bad debt or obsolete asset from the accounts
    2. the bad debt or obsolete asset cancelled
    3. the amount cancelled against gross profits, corresponding to the book value of the bad debt or obsolete asset
  2. informal something damaged beyond repair, esp a car
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write

verb writes, writing, wrote or written
  1. to draw or mark (symbols, words, etc) on a surface, usually paper, with a pen, pencil, or other instrument
  2. to describe or record (ideas, experiences, etc) in writing
  3. to compose (a letter) to or correspond regularly with (a person, organization, etc)
  4. (tr; may take a clause as object) to say or communicate by letterhe wrote that he was on his way
  5. (tr) informal, mainly US and Canadian to send a letter to (a person, etc)
  6. to write (words) in cursive as opposed to printed style
  7. (tr) to be sufficiently familiar with (a specified style, language, etc) to use it in writing
  8. to be the author or composer of (books, music, etc)
  9. (tr) to fill in the details for (a document, form, etc)
  10. (tr) to draw up or draft
  11. (tr) to produce by writinghe wrote ten pages
  12. (tr) to show clearlyenvy was written all over his face
  13. (tr) to spell, inscribe, or entitle
  14. (tr) to ordain or prophesyit is written
  15. (tr) to sit (an examination)
  16. (intr) to produce writing as specified
  17. computing to record (data) in a location in a storage deviceCompare read 1 (def. 16)
  18. (tr) Compare underwrite (def. 3a)
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Derived Formswritable, adjective

Word Origin for write

Old English wrītan (originally: to scratch runes into bark); related to Old Frisian wrīta, Old Norse rīta, Old High German rīzan (German reissen to tear)
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 write off

write

v.

Old English writan "to score, outline, draw the figure of," later "to set down in writing" (class I strong verb; past tense wrat, past participle writen), from Proto-Germanic *writanan "tear, scratch" (cf. Old Frisian writa "to write," Old Saxon writan "to tear, scratch, write," Old Norse rita "write, scratch, outline," Old High German rizan "to write, scratch, tear," German reißen "to tear, pull, tug, sketch, draw, design"), outside connections doubtful. Words for "write" in most I.E languages originally mean "carve, scratch, cut" (cf. Latin scribere, Greek grapho, Sanskrit rikh-); a few originally meant "paint" (cf. Gothic meljan, Old Church Slavonic pisati, and most of the modern Slavic cognates).

For men use to write an evill turne in marble stone, but a good turne in the dust. [More, 1513]

To write (something) off (1680s) originally was from accounting; figurative sense is recorded from 1889. Write-in "unlisted candidate" is recorded from 1932.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with write off

write off

1

Reduce an asset's book value to zero because it is worthless, as in The truck was wrecked completely, so we can write it off. [Late 1600s]

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2

Cancel from an account as a loss, as in Since they'll never be able to pay back what they owe, let's just write off that debt. [Late 1800s] Also see charge off, def. 2.

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3

Regard as a failure or worthless, as in There was nothing to do but write off the first day of our trip because of the bad weather, or She resented their tendency to write her off as a mere housewife. [Late 1800s]

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4

Amortize, as in We can write off the new computer network in two years or less. Also see charge off, def. 2.

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write

In addition to the idioms beginning with write

  • write down
  • write in
  • write off
  • write one's own ticket
  • write out
  • write up

also see:

  • nothing to write home about

Also see underwrote.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.