transitive verb au·thored
a. The writer of a book, article, or other text.
b. One who practices writing as a profession.
- One who writes or constructs an electronic document or system, such as a website.
- An originator or creator, as of a theory or plan.
- Author God.
- Usage Problem To assume responsibility for the content of (a published text).
- To write or construct (an electronic document or system): authored the company's website.
Origin: Middle English auctour
Origin: , from Old French autor
Origin: , from Latin auctor, creator
Origin: , from auctus
Origin: , past participle of augēre, to create; see aug- in Indo-European roots
- au·thorˈi·al (ô-thôrˈē-əl, ô-thŏrˈ-) adjective
The verb author,
which had been out of use for a long period, has been rejuvenated in recent years with the sense “to assume responsibility for the content of a published text.” As such it is not quite synonymous with the verb write;
one can write, but not author, a love letter or an unpublished manuscript, and the writer who ghostwrites a book for a celebrity cannot be said to have “authored” the creation. The sentence He has authored a dozen books on the subject
was unacceptable to 74 percent of the Usage Panel, probably because it implies that having a book published is worthy of special lexical distinction, a notion that sits poorly with conventional literary sensibilities and seems to smack of press agentry. The sentence The Senator authored a bill limiting uses of desert lands in California
was similarly rejected by 64 percent of the Panel, though here the usage is common journalistic practice and is perhaps justified by the observation that we do not expect that legislators will actually write the bills to which they attach their names. • The use of author
as a verb in computer-related contexts is well established and unexceptionable.