pre·​scind pri-ˈsind How to pronounce prescind (audio)
prescinded; prescinding; prescinds

intransitive verb

: to withdraw one's attention

transitive verb

: to detach for purposes of thought

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 was first 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 ("to take back or make void") and the rare scissile ("capable of being cut").

Word History


Latin praescindere to cut off in front, from prae- + scindere to cut — more at shed entry 1

First Known Use

1654, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of prescind was in 1654


Dictionary Entries Near prescind

Cite this Entry

“Prescind.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

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