as·​cribe | \ ə-ˈskrīb How to pronounce ascribe (audio) \
ascribed; ascribing

Definition of ascribe

transitive verb

: to refer to a supposed cause, source, or author : to say or think that (something) is caused by, comes from, or is associated with a particular person or thing These poems are usually ascribed to Homer. They ascribe most of their success to good timing and good luck. She ascribes no importance to having a lot of money.

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Other Words from ascribe

ascribable \ ə-​ˈskrī-​bə-​bəl How to pronounce ascribable (audio) \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for ascribe

ascribe, attribute, assign, impute, credit mean to lay something to the account of a person or thing. ascribe suggests an inferring or conjecturing of cause, quality, authorship. forged paintings formerly ascribed to masters attribute suggests less tentativeness than ascribe, less definiteness than assign. attributed to Rembrandt but possibly done by an associate assign implies ascribing with certainty or after deliberation. assigned the bones to the Cretaceous period impute suggests ascribing something that brings discredit by way of accusation or blame. tried to impute sinister motives to my actions credit implies ascribing a thing or especially an action to a person or other thing as its agent, source, or explanation. credited his teammates for his success

Examples of ascribe in a Sentence

ascribed their stunning military victory to good intelligence beforehand
Recent Examples on the Web Both those who love and loathe Mr. Trump have tended to ascribe to him a sort of political superpower, assuming that gravity would never apply. Matt Flegenheimer, New York Times, "Biden Says Trump Is ‘Not Who We Are.’ Do Voters Agree?," 3 Nov. 2020 Commentators, journalists, and political staffers will contort themselves to find trends and ascribe meaning to the results in the hours, days, and weeks following the US presidential election. David Yanofsky, Quartz, "The ways to understand US election results," 3 Nov. 2020 O’Neill’s willingness to ascribe to humor some of Trump’s more controversial actions is almost boundless, and often comes off as good-natured, even gracious. Gene Weingarten, Washington Post, "In Search of Healing," 26 Oct. 2020 Lawyers from both sides are loath to ascribe partisan motives to sitting judges. Jim Rutenberg, New York Times, "Federal Appeals Courts Emerge as Crucial for Trump in Voting Cases," 17 Oct. 2020 Paulson plays a YouTube meditation guru grappling with Covid-19, the political climate, and her family, who ascribe to rather different politics. Roxane Gay, Harper's BAZAAR, "Sarah Paulson Has No Fear," 22 Sep. 2020 That’s a lot of weight to ascribe to a narrow victory over a winless Atlanta team in Week Two. David Moore, Dallas News, "The Cowboys had no business winning vs. Falcons. That is, until Dak Prescott changed the narrative.," 20 Sep. 2020 Scientists typically hesitate to ascribe a single weather event to climate change, but the events are piling up, and have been doing so for some time. Editorial Board Star Tribune, Star Tribune, "In smoky skies, clarity on climate crisis," 15 Sep. 2020 Too many of us ascribe the worst motives to anyone who does not agree with 100% of our beliefs. Lisa Donovan,, "The Spin: Controversy over Trump’s trip to Kenosha tomorrow; The Rev. Jesse Jackson is helping activists prepare | Mayor Lightfoot can’t rule out property tax hikes, layoffs to close next year’s expected $1.2 billion budget hole | Mayor’s mea culpa," 31 Aug. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ascribe.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ascribe

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ascribe

Middle English, from Latin ascribere, from ad- + scribere to write — more at scribe

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Time Traveler for ascribe

Time Traveler

The first known use of ascribe was in the 15th century

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Statistics for ascribe

Last Updated

13 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ascribe.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for ascribe


as·​cribe | \ ə-ˈskrīb How to pronounce ascribe (audio) \
ascribed; ascribing

Kids Definition of ascribe

: to think of as coming from a specified cause, source, or author They ascribed his success to nothing more than good luck.

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