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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!
(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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
1. In accounting, to consider something a loss. 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. 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. 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. A noun or pronoun can be used between "write" and "off." 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 the comment off 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, the act of considering something a loss, or the item itself. As a noun, the phrase is hyphenated. All of these write-offs will significantly change our valuation.
7. noun In accounting, the act of recording an asset as having no value, or the asset itself. As a noun, the phrase is hyphenated. The car was totaled, so it ended up being a write-off.
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.
1. To send a typed or handwritten request by mail. Typically followed by "to someone or something." We'll have to write away for the component we need, as there's only one manufacturer in the region and he doesn't have a phone or email address. Once I had enough barcodes from the back of the cereal box, I had to write away to the company in order to claim my prize.
2. To write a large amount very quickly or continuously. I want to get my thesis done soon, so I've been writing away for the last three weeks. I just want to put my headphones on and write away by myself—I can't abide all these distractions!
1. To record or note something on paper. A noun or pronoun can be used between "write" and "down." I managed to write down the license plate number of the car before it sped away from the accident. Make sure you write the directions down so you don't forget!
2. To list the value or price of something as being lower than it was before, especially for tax purposes. We have a number of financial assets we'll be able to write down at the end of the years.
1. To write down all of the letters or words of something that could be expressed in an abbreviated form or as a symbol. A noun or pronoun can be used between "write" and "out." Please write out your full address, not just your house number and street name. Many on the board can't read shorthand, so please write everything out in standard English.
2. To express in writing something one is thinking, especially to help clarify or articulate it. A noun or pronoun can be used between "write" and "out." OK, why don't we sit down and write out all the reasons why this would be a good or bad idea. He was having trouble saying what he meant, so I suggest that he try writing it out.
3. To write so much or so constantly as to exhaust one's energy, capabilities, or ideas. In this usage, a reflexive pronoun is used between "write" and "out," except in passive constructions. Be sure to give yourself regular short breaks or you'll end up writing yourself out before the end of the day. By the time I reached the end of the four-hour exam, I was well and truly written out.
set (something) down in writing
To write something down as a means of making it official, legitimate, or binding. They promised to give me a raise when the project is complete, but I want them to set it down in writing first. Make sure you have them set the deal in writing before you agree to anything. That's a pretty generous offer—care to set it down in writing?
put (something) down in writing
To write something down as a means of making it official, legitimate, or binding. They promised to give me a raise when the project is complete, but I want them to put it down in writing first. Make sure you have them put the deal in writing before you agree to anything. That's a pretty generous offer—care to put it down in writing?
read the (hand)writing on the wall
To notice and interpret apparent signs or indications that something will or is about to happen in the future, especially something bad or unfortunate. 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. I've read the handwriting on the wall—the company is going under, and I'm not about to go down with it. As usual, the politicians are refusing to read the writing on the wall when one of their foolish plans is obviously about to crash and burn.
see the (hand)writing on the wall
To notice and interpret apparent signs or indications that something will or is about to happen in the future, especially something bad or unfortunate. 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. I've seen the handwriting on the wall—the company is going under, and I'm not about to go down with it. As usual, the politicians are refusing to see the writing on the wall when one of their foolish plans is obviously about to crash and burn.
in written form rather that spoken. (*Typically: get something ~; have something ~; put something ~.) Be sure to get their salary offer in 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.
to write a lot; to continue writing. There he was, writing away, not paying attention to anything else. I spent the entire afternoon writing away, having a fine, productive time.
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.
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.
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 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.
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?
write something down
to make a note of something; to record something in writing. Please write this down. Please write down what I tell you.
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.
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!
write something out
1. to spell or write a number or an abbreviation. Don't just write "7," write it out. Please write out all abbreviations, such as Doctor for Dr.
2. . to put thoughts into writing, rather than keeping them in memory. Let me write it out. Then I won't forget it. Karen wrote out her objections.
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.
1. Set down in writing, record, as in Please write down your new address and phone number. [Late 1500s]
2. Reduce in rank, value, or price, as in They've written down their assets. [Late 1800s]
3. Write in a simple or condescending style, as in These science texts are written down for high-school students. [Second half of 1800s]
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]
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.
1. Express in writing, especially in full form. For example, Write out your request on this form, or No abbreviations allowed; you have to write everything out. [Mid-1500s]
2. write oneself out. Exhaust one's energies or abilities by writing too much, as in He's been doing a novel a year for ages, but now he's written himself out. [Early 1800s]
the writing is on the wallmainly BRITISH or
the handwriting is on the wallmainly 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)
the writing is on the wallthere 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.
in ˈwritingin 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.
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.
To send a written request: I wrote away for a replacement part when my vacuum cleaner broke down.
1. To set something down in writing: I wrote down all my thoughts in a journal. If you remember the address, write it down before you forget it again!
2. To reduce something in rank, value, or price: The store is writing down all obsolete inventory. When the tickets didn't sell, we wrote them down to half price.
3. To disparage something in writing. Used chiefly in the passive: The movie was written down in all the newspapers.
4. To write in a conspicuously simple or condescending style: The author wrote down to the unsophisticated audience.
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.
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.
1. To express or compose something in writing: I wrote out a check for $70. It's easier to learn new words if you write them out and memorize them.
2. To write something in full or expanded form: The teacher wrote out the Latin abbreviations on the board and explained their meanings. The secretary took the shorthand notes and wrote them out.
3. To delete or exclude something or someone from a narrative work or record: In the revised version of the script, the playwright wrote out the character of the detective. The author wrote the scene out of the novel. Radical thinkers tend to be written out of history books.
writing/handwriting on the wall
An ominous indication of the course of future events: saw the writing on the wall and fled the country.
writing on the wall, the
A presentiment or prediction of disaster. The term comes from the Bible (Daniel 5:5–31). During a great feast held by King Belshazzar, a mysterious hand appears and writes some words on the wall. Daniel is called to interpret this message and tells the king it is a sign of his coming downfall. Later that night Belshazzar is killed and Darius of Persia takes over his kingdom. The term is sometimes put as handwriting on the wall.
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.