Old English writing "action of forming letters and characters," verbal noun from write (v.). From c. 1200 as "text; body of poetry, narrative, etc. in written form; written material." From c. 1300 as "a particular text;" mid-14c. as "act of composing a written text." From late 14c. as "craft of writing;" also "one's own handwriting or penmanship." Also late 14c. as "act of sending a letter; a letter, message." Writing-desk is from 1610s.
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