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 sides in the culture wars often ascribe the most extreme-sounding motivations to their adversaries. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Bill Barr’s Invisible Crusade," 8 June 2020 By latching on to a nebulous and under-defined term such as antifa, Trump can ascribe all manner of ills to a scapegoat that shifts to satisfy his needs at the moment. Ben Zimmer, The Atlantic, "Why Trump Is So Obsessed With Antifa," 4 June 2020 That doesn’t mean his was actually the first case, since polio was rarely diagnosed without paralysis, and illness and even deaths were ascribed to other causes, such as viral pneumonia. Paula Allen,, "Much like COVID-19, polio shut down schools, public places in 1946; officials urged hand washing and social distancing," 9 May 2020 True, Stern had been a Knicks fan, a homer, ascribing something historic to what Boston, in particular, had already made routine. Harvey Araton, New York Times, "The Old Knicks Made Basketball Games the ‘Hippest Place’ in New York," 8 May 2020 At the same time, we are concerned by a chilling attitude among some scholars and academics, who are wrongly ascribing legitimate disagreements about Covid-19 to ignorance or to questionable political or other motivations. Vinay Prasad, STAT, "Scientists who express different views on Covid-19 should be heard, not demonized," 27 Apr. 2020 My intent is not to judge the specific meaning anyone ascribes to that symbol or declare someone’s personally held view to be incorrect. Jamie Mcintyre, Washington Examiner, "Iran defiant in face of Trump’s threat to ‘shoot down and destroy’ its patrol boats," 24 Apr. 2020 During the arguments in October, court watchers paid attention to Justice Neil Gorsuch, who ascribes to the judicial philosophy of originalism and textualism. Melissa Quinn, CBS News, "Trump's imprint on federal courts could be his enduring legacy," 6 Apr. 2020 Among the complaints from defense attorneys about OCE is that the body ascribes guilt to lawmakers for not cooperating, accepts anonymous complaints and pressures members to make their staffers cooperate as well. Robert Faturechi, ProPublica, "Members of Congress Have a New Strategy for Ethics Investigations: Stonewalling," 10 Mar. 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

22 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ascribe.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jul. 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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More from Merriam-Webster on ascribe

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ascribe

Spanish Central: Translation of ascribe

Nglish: Translation of ascribe for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ascribe for Arabic Speakers

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