1560s, "reply in writing," from re- "back, again" + write (v.). The sense of "write again, write a second time" especially in a different form is by 1730. Related: Rewrote; rewritten; rewriting. The newspaper rewrite man, who works up copy for publication from information or stories phoned or sent in by reporters, is recorded from 1901. As a noun, "act of revising copy or a text," from 1926.