unwrite

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

un- +‎ write

Verb[edit]

unwrite ‎(third-person singular simple present unwrites, present participle unwriting, simple past unwrote, past participle unwritten)

  1. To erase; to revert to a state where (something) was never written.
    • 1847, John Frost, Pictorial Life of George Washington (page 131)
      Accordingly, in June, the governor, as if rescinding the resolution could unwrite the letter, demanded its erasure from the records of the house.
    • 2010, Matthew Yorke, Pictures of Lily, ISBN 1849016321:
      'Once you've written something you can't unwrite it,' I answered.
    • 2014, David Mitchell, The Bone Clocks, ISBN 9780340921609, page 420:
      If I could unwrite that wretched book, I would.
    • 2015, Loretta Lost, End of Eternity 4:
      You can't just unwrite everything you've written.
  2. To nullify.
    • 1992, Patrick Creevy, Lake Shore Drive, ISBN 1466806672:
      And I'm talking about seconds that mean so much! that will let us rewrite our histories—unwrite the letters that Allie wrote near that time; unwrite her time on the beach with Johnny; make us both virgins exactly as I'd seen it then; unwrite my times with Barbara, my phone conversations, letters, years of druggy dreams of her, and my revenge story and all of Allie's times with Lemaster.
    • 1993, Elisa New, The Regenerate Lyric, ISBN 0521430216:
      What he seeks is nothing less than to unwrite the Fall, to unwrite the theological fiat that made desire (a longing for union) and language (a longing for knowing) the twinned signs of our distance from what was.
    • 2010, Matthew Weinstein, Bodies Out of Control: Rethinking Science Texts, ISBN 1433105152, page 134:
      Whether it is writing that yearns to persuade, make knowledge public, share experiences and/or feelings, writing back enables the author to unwrite and rewrite the natural.
  3. To deconstruct.
    • 2008, J. Ross Wagner, ‎Christopher Kavin Rowe, ‎& A. Katherine Grieb, The Word Leaps the Gap, ISBN 0802863566:
      In Martha Nussbaum's terms, Luke attempts to “unwrite” the culture-forming stories of paganism by offering a different narrative that construes the entirety of reality in light of the God of Israel's act in Jesus.
    • 2010, S. E. Gontarski, A Companion to Samuel Beckett, ISBN 1405158697, page 303:
      His texts reveal an effort to unwrite narrative and, in effect, unwrite Beckett.
    • 2013, Charlotte Heath-Kelly, Politics of Violence, ISBN 1135005915, page 21:
      By smashing a symbol of the social fantasy with spectacular violence, one is able temporarily to unwrite it – exposing the traumatic 'real' within.
  4. (computer engineering) To revert to a known state in so that new data can be written.
    • 2005, ACM Special Interest Group on Design Automation, ‎IEEE Circuits and Systems Society, ‎IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society, ISLPED'05, ISBN 1595931376:
      To eliminate this nonadiabatic energy loss, we need to change the cell state into a known state before writing a new data, which is called a[sic] unwrite operation.

Related terms[edit]