prescribe

verb
pre·​scribe | \ pri-ˈskrīb \
prescribed; prescribing

Definition of prescribe

intransitive verb

1 : to lay down a rule : dictate
2 [ Middle English, from Medieval Latin praescribere, from Latin, to write at the beginning ] : to claim a title to something by right of prescription
3 : to write or give medical prescriptions
4 : to become by prescription invalid or unenforceable

transitive verb

1a : to lay down as a guide, direction, or rule of action : ordain
b : to specify with authority
2 : to designate or order the use of as a remedy prescribed a painkiller a prescribed burn to restore natural forest conditions

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Other Words from prescribe

prescriber noun

Synonyms for prescribe

Synonyms

define, lay down, specify

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Proscribe vs. Prescribe

Proscribe and prescribe each have a Latin-derived prefix that means "before" attached to the verb "scribe" (from scribere, meaning "to write"). Yet the two words have very distinct, often nearly opposite meanings. Why? In a way, you could say it's the law. In the 15th and 16th centuries both words had legal implications. To proscribe was to publish the name of a person who had been condemned, outlawed, or banished. To prescribe meant "to lay down a rule," including legal rules or orders.

Examples of prescribe in a Sentence

This drug should not be prescribed to children. a drug commonly prescribed to treat rashes The doctor prescribed three months of physical therapy for my leg injury. The law prescribes a prison sentence of at least five years for the crime. The regulations prescribe that all employees must pass a physical examination. We must follow the rules as prescribed by the government.
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Recent Examples on the Web

People with asthma, and those who don’t get into the sun at all, like the homebound or institutionalized, may also be prescribed a supplement. Julia Belluz, Vox, "Millions of Americans take vitamin D. Most should just stop.," 9 Oct. 2018 Instead, pelvic floor therapy addresses the myriad issues associated with pelvic health, and thankfully, an increasing number of American OB-GYNs are prescribing it for their postpartum clients. Frances F. Denny, Harper's BAZAAR, "What People Don’t Tell You About Childbirth: The Realities of Vaginal Tearing," 16 July 2018 That attitude has led some doctors whose patients have had no problems with opioid prescriptions to back away from prescribing them. Josephine Chu, USA TODAY, "Chronic pain patients, overlooked in opioid crisis, getting new attention from top at FDA," 2 July 2018 But doctors will have the option to prescribe it for other uses. Matthew Perrone, BostonGlobe.com, "FDA approves first prescription drug made from marijuana," 25 June 2018 The medication is a Schedule III narcotic, so doctors must get a waiver from the Drug Enforcement Administration to prescribe it. Catherine Ho, San Francisco Chronicle, "As opioid crisis grows, medical schools bolster addiction training," 2 June 2018 Medicare rules say the equipment must be deemed medically necessary, and your doctor must prescribe them. Esther Trattner, sandiegouniontribune.com, "How to save money on vital medical equipment," 25 May 2018 Buprenorphine, a more expensive and slightly less regulated treatment drug, is covered by Medicare but few doctors who accept new Medicare patients have obtained federal waivers to prescribe it. Carla K. Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "The Medicare gap: Patients addicted to opioids find methadone treatment isn't covered," 1 May 2018 But doctors will likely have the flexibility to prescribe it for other epilepsies too. Fred Vogelstein, WIRED, "My Son Pioneered an Epilepsy Drug Derived From Marijuana. An FDA Panel Just Approved It," 20 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prescribe.' 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 prescribe

15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for prescribe

Middle English, from Latin praescribere to write at the beginning, dictate, order, from prae- + scribere to write — more at scribe

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Statistics for prescribe

Last Updated

11 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for prescribe

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

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More Definitions for prescribe

prescribe

verb

English Language Learners Definition of prescribe

: to officially tell someone to use (a medicine, therapy, diet, etc.) as a remedy or treatment

: to make (something) an official rule

prescribe

verb
pre·​scribe | \ pri-ˈskrīb \
prescribed; prescribing

Kids Definition of prescribe

1 : to order or direct the use of as a remedy Did the doctor prescribe medicine?
2 : to lay down as a rule of action : order School rules prescribe daily physical activity.

prescribe

verb
pre·​scribe | \ pri-ˈskrīb \
prescribed; prescribing

Medical Definition of prescribe

intransitive verb

: to write or give medical prescriptions

transitive verb

: to designate or order the use of as a remedy prescribe a drug

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prescribe

verb
pre·​scribe | \ pri-ˈskrīb \
prescribed; prescribing

Legal Definition of prescribe

intransitive verb

1 : to claim title or a right to something (as an easement) by prescription a precarious possessor cannot prescribe against the owner
2 in the civil law of Louisiana : to become unenforceable or invalid by prescription any party having an interest in a money judgment may have it revived before it prescribesLouisiana Civil Code

transitive verb

1 : to lay down as a rule or guide : specify with authority the times, places and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the legislature thereofU.S. Constitution art. I
2 in the civil law of Louisiana : to invalidate or bar the enforcement of by prescription this claim for damages shall not be prescribed so long as the minor's right of action exists against his tutorLouisiana Civil Code

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Comments on prescribe

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