prescribe

verb
pre·​scribe | \ pri-ˈskrīb How to pronounce prescribe (audio) \
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

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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 The messages mostly revolved around tutoring matters, but beginning in March, Mixer began asking the girl to provide him with Adderall that she had been prescribed, the prosecutor said. Clifford Ward, chicagotribune.com, "Tutor pressured teen student into selling him her Adderall pills, DuPage County prosecutors allege," 3 Dec. 2019 Miller Pharmacy got caught in a legal fight in 2018 leading to the payment of $325,000 to the husband of a customer who died after a pharmacist gave the customer twice the amount of methadone they were prescribed. Evan Casey, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Miller Pharmacy in Mukwonago closes suddenly," 15 Nov. 2019 This covers all the care the patient receives while admitted, including the antibiotics they are prescribed. Megan Blewett, Fortune, "How to Cure the Antibiotic Industry’s Profitability Infection," 14 Nov. 2019 Weise suffers from adhesive arachnoiditis, an inflammation of membranes surrounding the brain and the spinal cord, for which she was prescribed a daily dose of 120 milligrams of the opioid painkiller morphine. Sujata Srinivasan, courant.com, "Opioid backlash leaves some to struggle with chronic pain as physicians write fewer prescriptions," 13 Nov. 2019 The 23-year-old point guard, who missed all of last season with an ACL injury, had by that point hit the 20-minute limit he had been prescribed for Tuesday’s game. Jeff Mcdonald, ExpressNews.com, "Spurs notebook: Getting knocked around good for Dejounte Murray," 9 Oct. 2019 So women should talk to their doctors about the type of chemotherapy they’re being prescribed. Kayla Webley Adler, Marie Claire, "Everything You Know About Breast Cancer Is Wrong," 8 Oct. 2019 It was prescribed for toothaches, skin conditions, and the plague. Wired, "Does the FDA Even Regulate E-Cigs? Actually Kinda Not," 18 Sep. 2019 These explanations never convinced Emily, but the birth control pills she was prescribed did help tame her symptoms. Mary Claire Lagroue, SELF, "Why Is PCOS Still So Hard for Doctors to Understand?," 12 Sep. 2019

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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Time Traveler for prescribe

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for prescribe

Last Updated

13 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Prescribe.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prescribed. Accessed 14 December 2019.

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More Definitions for prescribe

prescribe

verb
How to pronounce prescribe (audio)

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 How to pronounce prescribe (audio) \
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 How to pronounce prescribe (audio) \
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 How to pronounce prescribe (audio) \
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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