writing


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have (hand)writing like chicken scratch

To have very poor, messy, and/or illegible handwriting, likened to the marks made in the dirt by a chicken. I can't understand these notes at all, you have handwriting like chicken scratch!
See also: chicken, have, like, scratch

(one's) (hand)writing is like chicken scratch

One's handwriting is very poor, messy, and/or illegible, likened to the marks made in the dirt by a chicken. I can't understand these notes at all, your handwriting is like chicken scratch!
See also: chicken, like, scratch

not worth writing home about

To be not especially remarkable or noteworthy; to be rather dull, mediocre, uninteresting, or unimportant. A variant of the more common phrase "nothing to write home about." A: "Have you eaten in that new sushi restaurant yet?" B: "Yeah, I went there last week. It was OK, but it isn't worth writing home about." His performance hasn't been worth writing home about so far. To be honest, we were expecting much more from him when we recruited him out of Dartmouth.
See also: home, not, worth, writing

write a bum check

To submit a money order as payment when the account being drawn upon does not or will not have adequate funds for the order to clear. Primarily heard in US. My ex-husband was so addicted to shopping that, by the end of our marriage, he had started writing bum checks just to keep making purchases. Being in debt has always scared the hell out of me, so I've made sure to never write a bum check in my life.
See also: bum, check, write

write on water

To have a fleeting impact, as opposed to a lasting legacy. People will forget these superficial pop stars in no time—their careers are written on water.
See also: on, water, write

the (hand)writing is on the wall

There are very apparent signs that something bad will happen in the future. The phrase comes from the Biblical story of Daniel, in which the prophet interprets some mysterious writing that a disembodied hand has inscribed on the palace wall, telling King Belshazzar that he will be overthrown. You need to resign now. The writing is on the wall, and there's no reason you need to go down with this company when it folds. The handwriting is on the wall for many aquatic species, but there is hope that we can make some changes to save some of them.
See also: on, wall

the (hand)writing on the wall

The very apparent signs that something bad will happen in the future. The phrase comes from the Biblical story of Daniel, in which the prophet interprets some mysterious writing that a disembodied hand has inscribed on the palace wall, telling King Belshazzar that he will be overthrown. You need to resign now. The writing on the wall says the company is going to fold, and there's no reason you need to go down with it. The handwriting on the wall bodes poorly for many aquatic species, but there is hope that we can make some changes to save some of them.
See also: on, wall

in writing

In a printed, written, or typed document. It's right there in writing that employees caught taking office supplies will be fired immediately. Please send me an email summarizing this conversation, so I have it all in writing should the issue come up in the future.
See also: writing

write in

1. verb To vote for a candidate not listed on the ballot by writing their name in a space provided. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "write" and "in." So many people wrote in Mrs. Daley for the position that she was nearly elected. He didn't win the primary, but a lot of people are saying they're going to write him in during the general election.
2. verb To add something to a document by writing it. It's OK if you've already printed it out—you can just write in the missing footnote at the bottom of the page.
3. verb To add something to a work of fiction, such as a story or script, often in order to satisfy some requirement. The studio wants us to write in a few more action scenes. Have you seen the new season? They wrote in a new sister character.
4. verb To send a message to an organization by mail or email. That's it for this week's show. Don't forget to write in and tell us about your favorite memories for our anniversary special. I wrote in to ask for a refund, and I actually got one.
5. noun A candidate not listed on the ballot who receives votes from voters who write the candidate's name in a space provided; or a vote for such a candidate. In this usage, the phrase is hyphenated. He's not registered for any party, but he says he's trying to win as a write-in. There were a lot of write-ins. Someone voted for Daffy Duck.
See also: write

write off

1. In accounting, to consider something a loss. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "write" and "off." We've been keeping these outstanding payments on the books, but we need to write them off as a loss.
2. In accounting, to record an asset as having no value. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "write" and "off." That equipment can no longer be used, so we are writing it off.
3. To dismiss as insufficient, worthless, or a failure. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "write" and "off." Don't write off Joe so fast. He's smarter than you think. I could tell that they wrote me off as soon as I walked on the court, but that just motivated me to play harder.
4. To disregard something due to perceiving it as unimportant or not warranting special attention. At the time, I wrote off his behavior as just a product of stress from work. Obviously now I can see it was more than that. Most people wrote off the comment as a simple gaffe, but I think it had a deeper significance.
5. To send a written message, often a request. When I was a kid, I used to write off to my favorite athletes asking them for autographs. Mom is not happy with the bill so she's writing off a letter to the company.
6. noun In accounting, something considered a loss. All of these write-offs will significantly change our valuation.
7. noun In accounting, the act of recording an asset as having no value. In this usage, the term is usually hyphenated. The car was totaled, so it ended up being a write-off.
See also: off, write

write (one's) (own) ticket

To have the means, ability, or empowerment to decide one's own terms or course of action. Students who specialize in computer programming have been able to write their tickets in the economy for the last several years, as demand has continued to outpace supply for skilled employees in this field. The movie star began writing her own tickets after she exploded in popularity in the early 2000s.
See also: ticket, write

*in writing

in written form rather that spoken. (*Typically: get something ~; have something ~; put something ~.) Be sure to get their salary offer in writing.
See also: writing

see the (hand)writing on the wall

Fig. to know that something is about to happen. If you don't improve your performance, they'll fire you. Can't you see the writing on the wall? I know I'll get fired. I can see the handwriting on the wall.
See also: on, see, wall, writing

write in (to something) (for something)

to send a written request to something for something in particular. Please write in for a detailed recipe of all the dishes on today's program. I am going to write in for a clarification.
See also: write

write off (to someone) (for something)

to send a written request for something away to someone. I wrote off to my parents for some money, but I think they are ignoring me. I wrote off for money. I need money so I wrote off to my parents.
See also: off, write

write someone in (on something)

to write the name of someone in a special place on a ballot, indicating a vote for the person. (Done when the person's name is not already printed on the ballot.) Please write my name in on the ballot. I wrote in your name on the ballot.
See also: write

write someone or something off

to drop someone or something from consideration. The manager wrote Tom off for a promotion. I wrote off that piece of swampy land as worthless. It can't be used for anything.
See also: off, write

write someone or something off

 (as a something)
1. . to give up on turning someone or something into something. I had to write Jill off as a future executive. The company wrote off the electric automobile as a dependable means of transportation. He would never work out. We wrote him off.
2. . to give up on someone or something as a dead loss, waste of time, hopeless case, etc. Don't write me off as a has-been. We almost wrote off the investment as a dead loss.
3. . to take a charge against one's taxes. Can I write this off as a deduction, or is it a dead loss? Can I write off this expense as a tax deduction?
See also: off, write

write something off

to absorb a debt or a loss in accounting. The bill couldn't be collected, so we had to write it off. The bill was too large, and we couldn't write off the amount. We decided to sue.
See also: off, write

write something off (on one's taxes)

to deduct something from one's income taxes. Can I write this off on my income taxes? I'll write off this trip on my taxes. Oh, yes! Write it off!
See also: off, write

handwriting on the wall

Also, writing on the wall. A warning or presentiment of danger, as in The company was losing money, and seeing the handwriting on the wall, she started to look for another job . This expression comes from the Bible (Daniel 5:5-31), in which the prophet interprets some mysterious writing that a disembodied hand has inscribed on the palace wall, telling King Belshazzar that he will be overthrown.
See also: handwriting, on, wall

write in

1. 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]
2. 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]
3. Communicate with an organization by mail, as in Listeners are being asked to write in their requests. [1920s]
See also: write

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

the writing is on the wall

mainly BRITISH or

the handwriting is on the wall

mainly AMERICAN
COMMON If you say the writing is on the wall or the handwriting is on the wall, you mean that there are clear signs that a situation is going to become difficult or unpleasant, or that something or someone is going to fail. The writing is clearly on the wall. If we do nothing about it, we shall only have ourselves to blame. The handwriting was on the wall for Peters when she lost the first set 6-1 in less than 20 minutes. Note: You can call something the writing on the wall or the handwriting on the wall when it seems to be a sign of something unpleasant which is likely to happen in the future. He saw the writing on the wall and knew he had to get out of the company before it collapsed. Note: This expression comes from a Bible story in which a mysterious hand appears and writes a message on the wall, announcing that Belshazzar's kingdom will soon come to an end. (Daniel 5)
See also: on, wall, writing

the writing is on the wall

there are clear signs that something unpleasant or unwelcome is going to happen.
This phrase comes from the biblical story of Belshazzar's feast, at which a disembodied hand appeared and wrote a message on the wall foretelling the fall of the Babylonian kingdom to the Medes and Persians (Daniel 5:5, 25–8). A North American variant is the handwriting is on the wall .
1998 Spectator We ought to have spotted the writing on the wall when the dear old Ministry of Works became ‘English Heritage’, packaging the past as a set of limited-edition, special-offer collectables.
See also: on, wall, writing

in ˈwriting

in the form of a letter, document, etc. (that gives proof of something): All telephone reservations must be confirmed in writing.You should get his promises in writing.
See also: writing

the ˌwriting (is) on the ˈwall

(American English the ˌhandwriting (is) on the ˈwall) (saying) used when you are describing a situation in which there are signs that somebody/something is going to have problems or is going to fail: The writing is on the wall for the club unless they can find £20 000.The President refuses to see the handwriting on the wall (= that he will soon be defeated).This phrase comes from the Bible story in which strange writing appeared on a wall during a feast given by King Belshazzar, predicting his death and the end of his kingdom.
See also: on, wall, writing

write in

v.
1. To cast a vote by inserting some name not listed on a ballot: The members of the minority party wrote in their candidate's name on their ballots. Write me in for mayor in the next election!
2. To insert something in a text or document: I wrote in a disclaimer at the end of the article. You forgot to cite your sources for the paper, so I wrote them in for you.
3. To insert a character or scene into a narrative work: The editor insisted that the author write in a happy ending to the story. I revised the play and wrote some new characters in.
4. To communicate with some organization by mail: Please write in with a completed entry form.
See also: write

write off

v.
1. To cancel something from accounts as a loss: The bank has written off the account balance as an unrecoverable debt. After efforts to collect the payment failed, we decided to write it off. We wrote the trip off as a business expense.
2. To consider something a loss or failure: We wrote off the first day of our vacation because it rained all day. The doctors wrote him off when a treatment couldn't be found for his illness.
3. To deem someone or something inconsequential and disregard them: I wouldn't write off the option of going to nursing school. Critics wrote the singer off as a novelty act.
4. To send a written request: I wrote off to the university for an application.
See also: off, write

writing

/handwriting on the wall
An ominous indication of the course of future events: saw the writing on the wall and fled the country.

handwriting on the wall

A dire warning. The phrase comes from the Book of Daniel, in which the Persian king Belshazaar and his court see a disembodied hand appear during a feast and write on a wall, “Mene, Mene, Tekel u-Pharsin.” His seers unable to decipher the words, the king summons Daniel, who, keeping his interpretation streak intact: [see “feet of clay”], reveals that the words refer to Belshazaar's reign and his kingdom being in jeopardy. And sure enough, later that evening the king was murdered and his kingdom given to the Medes, just as Daniel had predicted. “The handwriting on the wall” or “the writing on the wall” came to refer to any prediction or omen that a venture was doomed to failure.
See also: handwriting, on, wall
References in periodicals archive ?
Two forms of planning were involved in the field-based writing project.
Writing strategies: teaching students ways to plan and revise their work.
Workshops take students through the mechanics of writing, the process of journaling, understanding poetry.
Chow said she's not planning to use cursive writing for her essay.
In Amusement, a twisted little piece and an exercise in which I was imitating the bizarre writing style of English writer Ian McEwan--I learned that I am not good at the art of imitation.
If they do not, they may submit either the ACT, the SAT, two SAT II Subjects (currently Writing and a math), two AP scores of 4 or 5 (one in English, and one in math or natural science), two International Baccalaureate exams (English and math), or one 11th or 12th grade analytical writing sample with a grade and comments and one graded math exam.
The first four articles renovate the field of peasant writing by concentrating on an earlier period than has been habitual, that is before 1700.
Yes, writing a three-page article can be a real drain on your time.
The new writing was more often didactic and theoretically aware, and the energy level--demonstrated by sheer volume--peculiarly intense.
But Catholic writing today seems to emerge book by book, not over a writer's entire career in the way that it did in the 1950s and '60s.
Charlotte Woodford's monograph is a major contribution to the emerging literature on convent writing and historical narration in the German empire.
Over the course of two interviews last fall, Kingston discussed the book, her writing process, her critics, and her efforts to cultivate peace in times of war.
In her introduction, Klauser, best-selling author of Writing on Both Sides of the Brain, explains that her experiences giving workshops and the letters that she receives are the genesis of her latest book.
the adapter, in Powell's words, "took from a Phoenician informant an abecedarium and created from it his own system" of writing.