AskDefine | Define writer

The Collaborative Dictionary

Writer \Writ"er\, n. [AS. wr[imac]tere.] [1913 Webster]
One who writes, or has written; a scribe; a clerk. [1913 Webster] They [came] that handle the pen of the writer. --Judg. v.
[1913 Webster] My tongue is the pen of a ready writer. --Ps. xlv.
[1913 Webster]
One who is engaged in literary composition as a profession; an author; as, a writer of novels. [1913 Webster] This pitch, as ancient writers do report, doth defile. --Shak. [1913 Webster]
A clerk of a certain rank in the service of the late East India Company, who, after serving a certain number of years, became a factor. [1913 Webster] Writer of the tallies (Eng. Law), an officer of the exchequer of England, who acted as clerk to the auditor of the receipt, and wrote the accounts upon the tallies from the tellers' bills. The use of tallies in the exchequer has been abolished. --Wharton (Law. Dict.) Writer's cramp, Writer's palsy or Writer's spasm (Med.), a painful spasmodic affection of the muscles of the fingers, brought on by excessive use, as in writing, violin playing, telegraphing, etc. Called also scrivener's palsy. Writer to the signet. See under Signet. [1913 Webster]

Word Net



1 writes (books or stories or articles or the like) professionally (for pay) [syn: author]
2 a person who is able to write and has written something

Moby Thesaurus

addressee, advertising writer, amanuensis, annalist, art critic, author, authoress, belletrist, bibliographer, calligrapher, chirographer, clerk, coauthor, collaborator, columnist, communicator, compiler, composer, copier, copyist, copywriter, correspondent, creative writer, critic, dance critic, descanter, diarist, discourser, disquisitor, drama critic, dramatist, encyclopedist, essayist, expositor, free lance, free-lance writer, ghost, ghostwriter, humorist, inditer, ink spiller, inkslinger, letter writer, letterer, literary artist, literary craftsman, literary critic, literary man, litterateur, logographer, magazine writer, man of letters, monographer, monographist, music critic, newspaperman, novelettist, novelist, pamphleteer, pen, pen pal, pencil driver, penman, penner, penwoman, poet, prose writer, recording secretary, reviewer, scenario writer, scenarist, scribbler, scribe, scriptwriter, scrivener, secretary, short-story writer, storyteller, technical writer, tractation, transcriber, word painter, word-slinger, wordsmith



write + -er


  • RP: /ɹaɪtə/
  • US: /ɹaɪtɚ/


  1. A person who writes; an author.
    Has your girlfriend written you a letter yet? She’s quite a writer!

Related terms


person who writes; an author

See also

A writer is anyone who creates written work, although the word more usually designates those who write creatively or professionally, or those who have written in many different forms. The word is almost synonymous with author, although somebody who writes, say, a laundry list, could technically be called the writer of the list, but not an author. Skilled writers are able to use language to portray ideas and images, whether fiction or non-fiction.
A writer may compose in many different forms including (but certainly not limited to) poetry, prose, or music. Accordingly, a writer in specialist mode may rank as a poet, novelist, composer, lyricist, playwright, mythographer, journalist, film scriptwriter, etc. (See also: creative writing, technical writing and academic papers.)
Writers' output frequently contributes to the cultural content of a society, and that society may value its writerly corpus -- or literature -- as an art much like the visual arts (see: painting, sculpture, photography), music, craft and performance art (see: drama, theatre, opera, musical).
In the British Royal Navy, Writer is the trade designation for an administrative clerk.

Internet Writers

The popularity of the Internet has opened the door of opportunity to many established and aspiring writers alike. This medium of communication has also given rise to the question of writing quality in the Internet age. Writers’ advocates believe the Internet has led to a lower level of writing standards. While new modes of communication through the Internet are constantly advancing and changing, the issue of writing quality questions the very definition of writing in the Internet age.
Whether writers are devoted to the craft or not, they are expected to be able to write well both offline as well as online, or at least recognize the difference between the two. When writing for the Web, it is the content that matters. “Writing for the Web is very different from writing for print. Print today remains superior to the Web when it comes to visible space, image and type quality, and speed.” Web visitors are quickly scrolling through sites seeking specific information and will not always take the time to read every word. Traditional writing techniques and standards are less of a priority, as multiple headings, bullets and lists are needed to aid scanning readers. Although reputable writers compose much of this writing, the quality can appear less than professional. Also, with the increase of tech people writing for the Web, the rules of grammar need to be put into effect.
Writers not writing for a living often find enjoyment and small payouts from Web sites seeking material to raise their sites higher in the search engine rankings. Although this is a legitimate philosophy, the writing being published on the Web can often be less than professional. This lack of professionalism distorts the line between qualified and amateur writers. Writing standards are often not the highest priority as Web sites seek to drive traffic to gain advertising exposure. It seems as if readers are not as concerned about the writing quality, as long as they feel they are reading a relevant account on a particular topic.

Blog Writers

Amateur writers are often attributed as bloggers. Blogs are avenues by which to get information or opinions out into the Web for exposure. Bloggers have taken on a new wave of communication seeking to benefit all Internet users. Anyone with Internet access and a computer can set up a Web site or blog wherein to publish his/her writing. The difference between writing on a blog versus a Web site is the amount of readers, along with the credibility each receives. Though blogs are generally informal and written by individuals, although marketers and advertisers have recently taken to them and use them as a tool to promote companies and receive feedback from consumers. Blogs are easy to create in the 21st Century due to the availability of templates offered on free blog Web sites. With blogs being easy to access and editable for both blog authors and readers, the contributions are virtually limitless.
Blogs and blog writing are taking on more meaning than just idle gossip between users and contributors. Educators are seeing the benefits of maintaing blogs in the classrooms as an educational tool. Teachers are able to keep an easy-to-maintain line of communication open with parents and other educators. Blogs also stimulate students to compose reflective responses to issues within an open forum.

An honorific

In some circles, "Writer" has become a term of station and significance beyond its original meaning. Like the Platonic "Philosopher," modernists edged the Writer (along with the "Artist") beyond a mere occupation to a state of being, a prophetic and exilic stance from which to observe and critique mainstream society. Americans like Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, and Henry Miller found that they could become Writers only by leaving home and settling in expatriate communities abroad, especially in Paris. Writing thus became a transcendent act, a means to objective knowledge beyond the specific mores of particular societies and the point of departure for future movements and possibilities. For them, often, Writers are born and not made; as such, their whole being is taken to be infused with sacred purpose.
Arguably, the modernists' Writer is no longer possible in the postmodern condition. Recognizing that no particular viewpoint offers objective knowledge, postmodernism makes the transcendent observer and critic seem less plausible. In addition, the rise of media technologies that is part and parcel of postmodernist experience places the modernist Writer's printed word in competition with electronic media like television, film, video games, and the internet. In this context, literary artists have tended to recognize the commercialism and commodity built into their work. Rather than a transcendent purpose in itself, writing again becomes a means to an end. Dave Eggers, for instance, has used his success as an author for political purposes and to support other aspiring writers. While having learned from the modernists' suggestion that writing can be an agent for change and a definite vocation, postmodernists reject the objective stance and wonder what the particular perspectives of writers can contribute.


writer in Tosk Albanian: Schriftsteller
writer in Bulgarian: Писател
writer in Danish: Skribent
writer in German: Schriftsteller
writer in Estonian: Kirjanik
writer in Spanish: Escritor
writer in Esperanto: Verkisto
writer in Basque: Idazle
writer in Persian: نویسنده
writer in French: écrivain
writer in Friulian: Scritôr
writer in Korean: 작가
writer in Iloko: Mannurat
writer in Hebrew: סופר
writer in Hungarian: Író
writer in Kurdish: Nivîskar
writer in Japanese: 著作家
writer in Norwegian: Skribent
writer in Dutch: Auteur
writer in Norwegian Nynorsk: Skribent
writer in Uzbek: Yozuvchi
writer in Low German: Schriever
writer in Polish: Pisarz
writer in Portuguese: Escritor
writer in Romanian: Scriitor
writer in Quechua: Qillqaq
writer in Slovenian: Pisatelj
writer in Serbian: Писац
writer in Swedish: Skribent
writer in Thai: นักเขียน
writer in Turkish: Yazar
writer in Ukrainian: Письменник
writer in Urdu: مصنف
writer in Yiddish: שרייבער
writer in Yoruba: Olùkọ̀wé
writer in Chinese: 作家
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