from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To assume financial responsibility for; agree to pay the costs of.
  • intransitive verb To supply with funding, especially as a sponsor.
  • intransitive verb To sign (an insurance policy) so as to assume liability in case of specified losses.
  • intransitive verb To insure.
  • intransitive verb To insure against losses totaling (a given amount).
  • intransitive verb To guarantee the purchase of (a full issue of stocks or bonds).
  • intransitive verb To agree to buy the unsold part of (stock not yet sold publicly) at a fixed time and price.
  • intransitive verb To write under or at the end of something.
  • intransitive verb To subscribe to, especially to sign or endorse (a document).
  • intransitive verb To support or agree to (a decision, for example).
  • intransitive verb To act as an underwriter, especially to issue an insurance policy.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To write below or under; subscribe.
  • To agree to pay by signing one's name; subscribe.
  • Specifically To agree or undertake by setting one's name to (a policy of insurance) to become answerable for certain losses specified therein: used chiefly in marine insurance. Hence underwriter.
  • To submit to; put up with.
  • To practise insuring, particularly marine insuring; carry on the business of an underwriter.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To practice the business of insuring; to take a risk of insurance on a vessel or the like.
  • transitive verb To write under something else; to subscribe.
  • transitive verb To subscribe one's name to for insurance, especially for marine insurance; to write one's name under, or set one's name to, as a policy of insurance, for the purpose of becoming answerable for loss or damage, on consideration of receiving a certain premium per cent.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb transitive To write below or under; subscribe.
  • verb transitive, intransitive, obsolete To subscribe (a document, policy etc.) with one's name.
  • verb transitive To sign; to put one's name to.
  • verb transitive To agree to pay by signing one's name; subscribe.
  • verb transitive Specifically, to assume financial responsibility for something, and guarantee it against failure.
  • verb intransitive To act as an underwriter.
  • verb transitive To support, lend support to, guarantee the basis of.
  • verb transitive To submit to; put up with.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb guarantee financial support of
  • verb protect by insurance


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English underwriten, from Old English underwrītan ("to write at the foot of, write under, subscribe"), equivalent to under- +‎ write.


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  • If it is not fully subscribed, they will get all that they have asked for, and the balance left over will be taken up in most cases by a syndicate formed by the bank or firm that issued the loan, to "underwrite" it.

    International Finance Hartley Withers 1908

  • The same Board member told Slugger O'Toole Mr Baggott in no sense gave any commitment to 'underwrite' anyone's job when the current full time reserves leave the PSNI.

    Slugger O'Toole 2009

  • The same Board member told Slugger O'Toole Mr Baggott in no sense gave any commitment to 'underwrite' anyone's job when the current full time reserves leave the PSNI.

    Slugger O'Toole 2009

  • Let me elaborate on why individual investors should never sell / "underwrite" financial options / insurance:

    Tan Kin Lian's Blog 2008

  • This was left as a comment to the original post where I mistakenly assumed that Abacus tossed the DMA a few bucks to underwrite the survey --- my error in assuming what the term "underwrite" meant:

    Kevin Hillstrom: MineThatData 2008

  • The BoE does "underwrite" to the extent that a bank in the process of swapping what you describe as their IOUs in the interbank settlement process* comes up short due to perversely high outflows vs inflows i.e. it has insufficient cash reserves lodged at the BoE to make good on those obligations caused by account activity and other banks will not lend that bank overnight money, then the BoE will do so to enable all IOUs to be honoured and the system to remain viable.

    My Libertarian Values #2 - The Economy IanPJ 2009

  • "underwrite" (guarantee the sale of) stock and bond issues, trade for their own accounts, make markets, and advise corporations on capital market activities such as mergers and acquisitions.

    Recently Uploaded Slideshows raki001 2010

  • The rest would underwrite research by scientists at the NIH's Bethesda campus and hospital.

    Budget 2012: NIH and CDC David Brown 2011

  • University Library Director Robert Darnton announced that, initially, Arcadia's grant will be used to strengthen the Library's print collections, to support processing of 17th - and 18th-century collections in the Archives, and to underwrite conservation treatments for fragile or damaged material from 17th - and 18th-century collections.

    Arcadia gives $5 million to support core collections, services in the Harvard Libraries 2009

  • These companies have long depended upon advertisers of consumer products, services and causes to underwrite their business, and that advertising cost has been passed on in the final cost of the product or service.

    Free information has a cost 2009


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  • The latest symphony broadcast was made possible with underwriting from the Carnegie Endowment.

    October 30, 2017