[ rahyt-awf, -of ]
See synonyms for write-off on Thesaurus.com
  1. a cancellation from the accounts as a loss.

  2. an uncollectable account.

  1. a reduction in book value; depreciation.

  2. Informal. a person or thing that is given up as hopeless or pointless: Joe's college career is a write-off.

Origin of write-off

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

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use write-off in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for write off

write off

verb(tr, adverb)
  1. accounting

    • to cancel (a bad debt or obsolete asset) from the accounts

    • to consider (a transaction, etc) as a loss or set off (a loss) against revenues

    • to depreciate (an asset) by periodic charges

    • to charge (a specified amount) against gross profits as depreciation of an asset

  2. to cause or acknowledge the complete loss of

  1. to send a written order for (something): she wrote off for a brochure

  2. informal to damage (something, esp a car) beyond repair

  1. accounting

    • the act of cancelling a bad debt or obsolete asset from the accounts

    • the bad debt or obsolete asset cancelled

    • 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

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with write-off


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]

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