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au·thor thər)
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n.
1.
a. The writer of a book, article, or other text.
b. One who practices writing as a profession.
2. One who writes or constructs an electronic document or system, such as a website.
3. An originator or creator, as of a theory or plan.
4. Author God.
tr.v. au·thored, au·thor·ing, au·thors
1. To write or be the author of (a published text).
2. To write or construct (an electronic document or system): authored the company's website.

[Alteration (influenced by authentic, authoritative, and other technical terms of Greek origin spelled with th) of Middle English auctour, autor, from Old French auctur, autor, from Latin auctor, creator, from auctus, past participle of augēre, to create; see aug- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

au·thori·al (ô-thôrē-əl, ô-thŏr-) adj.

Usage Note: The verb author was once criticized as an unnecessary or pretentious synonym of write. Nowadays, many people aren't aware of this usage proscription at all, and the Usage Panel's sympathy for the traditional view has eroded over the decades. In 1964, 81 percent of the Panel found using author as a verb unacceptable in writing. In our 1988 survey, 74 percent of the Panel rejected it in the sentence He has authored a dozen books on the subject. In 2001, 60 percent of the Panel rejected it, and in 2017, only 34 percent did. • Journalists frequently use the verb author to apply to the creation or sponsoring of legislative acts, as in The senator authored a bill limiting uses of desert lands in California. In these cases the lawmaker may not have actually written the bill that bears his or her name but rather promoted its idea and passage. The Panelists continue to be even more tolerant of this legislative usage: 64 percent rejected this sentence in 1988, 51 percent in 2001, and only 27 percent in 2017.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

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