Writ

Definition - Noun
[Old English, something written]
1  : a letter that was issued in the name of the English monarch from Anglo-Saxon times to declare his grants, wishes, and commands
2  : an order or mandatory process in writing issued in the name of the sovereign or of a court or judicial officer commanding the person to whom it is directed to perform or refrain from performing a specified act
The writ was a vital official instrument in the old common law of England. A plaintiff commenced a suit at law by choosing the proper form of action and obtaining a writ appropriate to the remedy sought; its issuance forced the defendant to comply or to appear in court and defend. Writs were also in constant use for financial and political purposes of government. While the writ no longer governs civil pleading and has lost many of its applications, the extraordinary writs esp. of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, and certiorari indicate its historical importance as an instrument of judicial authority.
Pronunciation'rit

Pronunciation Key

  • \&\ as a and u in a b ut
  • \[^&]\ as e in kitt en
  • \&r\ as ur and er in f urther
  • \a\ as a inash
  • \A\ as a in ace
  • \?\ as o in m op
  • \au\ as ou in ou t
  • \ch\ as ch in ch in
  • \e\ as e in bet
  • \E\ as ea in easy
  • \g\ as g in go
  • \i\ as i in hit
  • \I\ as i in ice
  • \j\ as j in job
  • \[ng]\ as ng in sing
  • \O\ as o in go
  • \o\ as aw in law
  • \oi\ as oy in boy
  • \th\ as th in thin
  • \[th_]\ as thin the
  • \?\ as oo in loot
  • \u\ as oo in foot
  • \y\ as y in yet
  • \zh\ as si in vision


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Based on Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©2001.
Merriam-Webster, Incorporated
Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.
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