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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. He's not affiliated with any party, but he says he's trying to win as a write-in.
6. noun A vote for such a candidate. As a noun, the phrase is hyphenated. There were a lot of write-ins. Someone voted for Daffy Duck.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.
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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.