If "verbalize" puts thoughts into spoken word, what about putting thoughts into written word?

I considered document, record, but neither capture the visualization of "writing" the way verbalize captures "speaking".

Here is an example sentence where I would like to replace verbalize:

I have always thought this, but I have never been able to verbalize the sentiment.

I am also aware, verbalize may be used, but I'd like to use something more explicitly indicating writing.

  • 1
    scribe... ? – Dan Bron Mar 13 '16 at 22:58
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    Verbalize puts thought into words, spoken or writen. See Merriam-Webster – Jacinto Mar 13 '16 at 23:20
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    verbalize can certainly be used this way. You might also say, "...but I can never quite put it into words." or "...but I can never quite capture this sentiment on the page." – Jim Mar 14 '16 at 0:48
  • Yes, maybe verbalize does. But isn't there something more "prosy"? – user116032 Mar 14 '16 at 1:17
  • Perhaps the words that dramatise the writing aspect tend to pull the attention to the mechanical process of writing. For example, to inscribe the sentiment invites the question, Where? or How?, not What?. – Lawrence Mar 14 '16 at 15:07

The phrasal verbs (which I consider a single word) might work for you. Depending on the context, you could use either

write out 1. To express or compose in writing

or, for more prosaic writings,

write down 1. To set down in writing.

[American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. S.v. "write." Retrieved March 14 2016 from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/write ]

So, I would use the first for your example:

I have always thought this, but I have never been able to write out the sentiment.

For less informal terms, 'pen' and 'indite' suggest themselves. 'Pen' has, in my experience, the elegance of brevity and succinctness:

tr.v. penned, pen·ning, pens
To write or compose.

'Indite', on the other hand, is more ponderous and official in tone, and seems somewhat tainted by archaism:

in·dite (ĭn-dīt′)
tr.v. in·dit·ed, in·dit·ing, in·dites
2. To set down in writing.

(op. cit.)


Consider transcribe

put (thoughts, speech, or data) into written or printed form. (MW)

"The senator's speech was transcribed."


I would suggest articulate or express

I have always thought this, but I have never been able to articulate the sentiment.

Although verbalize itself may be fitting in a written sense too.

  • 1
    Maybe because the intransitive form of the verb means "To speak clearly and distinctly", the connotation of "articulate" is speech (even though it can be used of a quality of writing.) – anongoodnurse Mar 14 '16 at 15:04

Consider textualize

To render (an oral narrative, for example) in written form, especially in a permanent, rigid, or authoritative form. (AHDEL/TFD)

: to put into text : set down as concrete and unchanging (the novel textualizes complex emotions) (MW)

Though the usage of this may be for more formal writing, similar to putting something in black and white.


A few other options:

If finally pulling together the threads to express a story or recount an event, then perhaps, "Compose" or "Chronicle".

If looking to formulate and express an idea, then you can use:

Promulgate (Dictionary.com):

  1. to make known by open declaration; publish; proclaim formally or put into operation (a law, decree of a court, etc.).
  2. to set forth or teach publicly (a creed, doctrine, etc.).

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