[ rahyt-in ]
/ ˈraɪtˌɪn /
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a candidate or vote for a candidate not listed on the printed ballot but written onto it by the voter: Write-ins may swing the election.


of, relating to, or for such a candidate or vote or a ballot so marked: a write-in campaign.



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Origin of write-in

First recorded in 1930–35
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

How to use write-in in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for write-in

write in

verb (tr)

to insert in (a document, form, etc) in writing
(adverb) to write a letter to a company, institution, etc
(adverb) US
  1. to vote for (a person not on a ballot) by writing in his name
  2. to cast (a vote) for such a person by writing in his name

noun write-in US

the act of voting for a person by writing his name on a ballot
a candidate or vote that has been written in
(as modifier)a write-in campaign
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

Idioms and Phrases with write-in

write in


Cast a vote by inserting a name not listed on the ballot, as in He asked them to write in his name as a candidate. [c. 1930]


Insert in a text or document, as in Please don't write in your corrections on the printed pages, but list them separately. [Late 1300s]


Communicate with an organization by mail, as in Listeners are being asked to write in their requests. [1920s]

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