Middle English Dictionary Entry

wrīten v.
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

Note: Cp. awriten v., iwriten v.
(a) To form symbols, letters, words, etc.; write (in a book, on a wall, etc.); also fig.; also, carve (into a stone), incise; (b) to form (runes, designs, letters, etc.); ~ gold, produce gold writing; (c) to make significant characters in (a book or scroll); form significant characters by scoring (stone); also fig. of flesh [quot. a1450]; (d) to mark (a charter or other document) with one’s sign or other token of witnessing; also, identify (oneself) with a written mark; ~ mid mel; (e) to spell [last quot.]; spell (a word); also, make a standard abbreviation for (sth.).
(a) To put (a word, phrase, statement, etc.) into written form; copy down (a legal clause, charter, prescription, etc.); also in fig. context; also, make a copy of (a text); ppl. writen, in written form; (b) to inscribe (a precept, legend, vision, etc.), engrave, imprint; also fig.; (c) to set out in writing (a law, sermon, etc.), present; also fig.; writen laue, laue writen; (d) to write (as bidden or commanded) [quots. a1387 & a1400]; take down (spoken language, testimony, etc.) in writing, take (what sb. says) as dictation; (e) to enter (names, dates, figures, etc.) in a roll, an account, or other document, register; make note of (a person’s deeds, sins, etc.) in writing; also fig.; ~ oute; (f) to cover (an object, a book, person, etc.) with writing, an inscription, letters, etc., fill; also fig.; ben writen withinne and withouten (with the holi rode tokeninge, etc.); writen with gold (evaungeles); (g) ppl. writen, of ink: used to form words, sentences, etc.; (h) ~ to the kinges sele, to have secular employment as a scribe or notary.
(a) To write a description; produce a written description or recounting (of sb. or sth.); (b) to take note of (an act, tidings, a dream, etc.) in writing, record; recount (an episode) [sometimes difficult to distinguish from (c)]; also, prophesy (that sb. will die); write prophetically about (sb.) [quot. c1384]; (c) to describe (sb., an animal’s habits, an event, etc.) in writing; treat (the subject of anatomy) in a written work.
(a) To give a written exposition; also, give a written exposition (of a subject); ppl. writinge as noun: those who expound in writing; (b) to expound (a belief, reasons, a point of doctrine, lore, etc.) in written form, explain; also with that clause as obj. or in apposition to obj.; also, state (a fact or facts); (c) in passages containing a direct quotation from or paraphrase of the Bible: to say (sth.) authoritatively, state; also with so preceding a quotation; (d) to preserve (knowledge, skills) in writing; also, catalogue (information); (e) to translate (sth., a text) from one language into another; ~ from (oute of) latin; drauen and writen in english; (f) as (hit) is writen, hit is writen, as) it is given by a written authority; finden (hit) writen, etc., to find documentation.
(a) To compose a written documentary or literary work, song, etc.; also, work as an author; (b) to compose (a treatise, song, etc.); also, compile the narrative of (a saint’s life) [quot. c1250]; (c) to use (a particular style) in writing; (d) in colophons and various epistolary and testamentary formulas, usu. specifying date, time, place, conditions of writing, etc.
(a) To communicate in a letter or other missive; write (to sb.); write (to sb. about sth., for a specific purpose, to do sth., etc.); ~ ayen, reply to a letter in written form, write back; (b) to write (a letter, bull, etc.); (c) to communicate (sth., sth. to sb.) in a letter; also with that or hou clause as obj. [occas. difficult to distinguish from (e)]; (d) to communicate feelings in writing; communicate (about one’s feelings) in a letter; also, give written expression to (an emotion); (e) to disclose (sth.); declare in writing (that sth. is so, oneself to be sth.);—also used without obj. in as or parenthetical clauses.
In misc. senses: (a) to inscribe (a name, data) as an identification; ~ in, subtitle (a book); (b) to ascribe (sth. to sth.); also, enroll (sb. in a group); (c) to decree (sth.);—with noun clause in apposition following; (d) to confirm (sth.), evidence; (e) ~ in windoues, to provide a pictorial representation in glass (of someone’s deeds).

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • ?1482 Rev.Monk Eynsham1171 : The Crystyn pepulle wolde wryte dayly on her forhedys and aboute the placys of her herte wyth her fyngur.
  • Note: Cf. OED write, v. 15. a. 'To engage in, perform the action of, writing (esp. with pen and ink); to produce (a specified kind of) writing.' This quote is found there under 'in extended use'.
    Note: Appears to belong roughly to sense 2.(a), 'to write (words),' but gloss may require expansion to include 'to perform a gesture as if writing (words), go through the motions of writing,' etc.