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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. Usage Problem 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 has been criticized for its transitive use as an unnecessary or pretentious synonym of write, though note that it typically refers to the writing of material that has been publishedand not to unpublished texts such as love letters or diaries. So the two words are not exact synonyms. The Usage Panel has tended to sympathize with the traditional view, but this sympathy has been slowly eroding over the decades. In 1964, 81 percent of the Panel found the verb unacceptable in writing. In our 1988 survey, 74 percent rejected it in the sentence He has authored a dozen books on the subject. In 2001, the proportion of Panelists who rejected this same sentence fell to 60 percent. · 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. While the Panelists were a bit more tolerant of this legislative usage, the nays still have the slightest edge, with 51 percent rejecting the previously quoted sentence in 2001, down from 64 percent in 1988. This suggests that the verb will eventually be accepted by most people.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

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