prescind

play
verb pre·scind \ pri-ˈsind \

Definition of prescind

intransitive verb
:to withdraw one's attention
transitive verb
:to detach for purposes of thought

prescind was our Word of the Day on 02/08/2012. Hear the podcast!

Did You Know?

Prescind derives from the Latin verb praescindere, which means "to cut off in front." "Praescindere," in turn, was formed by combining "prae-" ("before") and "scindere" ("to cut" or "to split"). So it should come as no surprise that when "prescind" began being used during the 17th century, it referred to "cutting off" one's attention from a subject. An earlier (now archaic) sense was even clearer about the etymological origins of the word, with the meaning "to cut short, off, or away" or "to sever." Other descendants of "scindere" include "rescind" and the rare "scissile" ("capable of being cut").

Origin and Etymology of prescind

Latin praescindere to cut off in front, from prae- + scindere to cut — more at shed


Learn More about prescind


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up prescind? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

to curse or denounce

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Merriam-Webster's New Words Quiz—Fall 2017 Edition!

  • young-plant-shoots
  • Which of the following is a new sense of the word bunny?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!