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Writ, subst. 1) Scripture: “holy w. in babes hath judgment shown,” All's II, 1, 141. H6B I, 3, 61. R3 I, 3, 337. Oth. III, 3, 324. each man thinks all is w. he speken can, Per. II Prol. 12 (== a gospel). Jestingly: “let's see the devil's w.” H6B I, 4, 60.
2) a mandate, a precept issued from the proper authority: “ere the --s go forth,” H6B V, 3, 26 (to convoke the parliament). that therefore such a w. (of a praemunire) “be sued against you,” H8 III, 2, 341. “folded the w. up,” Hml. V, 2, 51. my w. is on the life “of Lear,” Lr. V, 3, 245. “this is the tenour of the emperor's w.” Cymb. III, 7, 1.
3) any document: “this fatal w., the complot of this timeless tragedy,” Tit. II, 3, 264.
Doubtful passages: “I have neither w., nor words, nor worth,” Caes. III, 2, 225 (later Ff and M. Edd. wit). “for the law of w. and the liberty, these are the only men,” Hml. II, 2, 421 (explained as meaning exact recitation of what the author had written. In O. Edd. the words for the law of writ and the liberty are joined to what precedes).*
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